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[Android M Feature Spotlight] Native Bluetooth Stylus Support Is Here

Wireless styli have generally been relegated to the Windows and iOS world, but now that more and more connected accessories are using Bluetooth, there are fewer reasons than ever for tools like these not to be universal. With Android "M," Google is introducing native support for Bluetooth styluses. Developers are, of course, getting APIs to interact with these devices, and that's where we're getting our information - the API overview for M.

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Google Cast Gets New APIs, Allowing For Second-Screen Functionality, Autoplay, Queuing, And More

Google Cast is one of those things that just seems to keep getting better, and with Chromecast sales doing so well, it's no wonder Google is throwing resources at the platform to make it even more robust. While not technically a part of Google I/O, Google did announce yesterday that some very awesome new Cast APIs are coming... right now. As in, they're here - for both iOS and Android.

There are a few major new features, so let's go over them.

The first is second-screen functionality. Casting graphically intensive apps from your device is no longer limited to simple mirroring - the new Cast Remote Display APIs (which are betas, so beware) will allow full-on second-screen functionality when casting something like a video game.

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InBrief
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Google's Developer Site (Including the Nexus Factory Image Page) Gets A Material Overhaul

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[Android M Feature Spotlight] The Notification Shade Will Now Drop Down Closer To Where You Touch On Tablets

There was a lot of backlash when Google did away with the dual notification/quick settings trays on large screen devices (which happened with Lollipop). Now it looks like the company is taking a slightly different approach with the notification shade on tablets - in the M release it has three different positions (left, center, right) and will drop down closest to wherever you actually swipe.

Screenshot_20150528-164552 Screenshot_20150528-164602 Screenshot_20150528-164544

According to Liam, who installed M on his Nexus 9, this is actually kind of jarring since there's no visual indicator as to where the shade will actually show up. Sure, there are some rough guidelines here, but those are fairly extreme.

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Google Open-Sources Its I/O 2015 Web App

Google's I/O conference app is generally considered a boon for developers. Each year the app is open-sourced following the conference, exposing the code beneath Google's latest design suggestions and functionality on Android.

This year, however, Google is offering up another open-source goodie. In a post to Google+, Google Developers announced that this year the source of the I/O web app will be released for inspection. In fact, the ioweb2015 project is already available on Github.

The dazzlingly-designed web app is mobile-first and offline enabled, and comes with a long list of impressive functionality. A few features Google chose to specify include "Polymer, material design, web components, service worker, push notifications, google sign-in 2.0, add to homescreen, and web animations APIs."

Knowing that, it's clear that the site is well-rounded from functionality, design, and UX standpoints, so the source undoubtedly holds some treasures for intrepid developers.

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[Android M Feature Spotlight] The Stock Keyboard Now Has A Split-Screen Mode On Larger Devices

There are features both big and small found in Android M, and most still seem to be pretty useful all around. This one is a somewhat small feature found in M, but that doesn't take away from how massively helpful it actually is - especially for those who type on their tablet often.

Screenshot_20150529-012842

Thanks for the screenshot, Duncan Adkins.

The stock keyboard in the M build now features a split-screen mode that shifts the keys off to either side, at least when the device is in landscape mode. This instantly makes thumb typing a lot easier, and something that probably should've been included all along.

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Google ATAP's Radar-Based Gesture Technology "Project Soli" Brings Minority Report Fantasies One Step Closer To Reality

Before you read this article, do me a favor: watch the video below. Because it's going to explain what Google is doing here much better than I could hope to.

Got it? Good. Pretty amazing, right?

For those of you who can't or don't want to watch it, fine, I guess that's what writers are for or whatever! Project Soli is, at its root, a fingernail-sized radar chip and an advanced set of algorithms that interpret the data that the array feeds back into a connected device. The purpose of those algorithms is to analyze the fine-grain motions of your hands and fingers.

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True Survivors Crotch-Punch Nazis In the Official Kung Fury: Street Rage Mobile Game

If you were distracted by tons of Google I/O coverage or our NVIDIA SHIELD review yesterday, there's a slim chance that you missed the even bigger news: Kung Fury is now on YouTube. Stop reading this and go watch it now. Then come back here and read about the official mobile game for the indie movie, Kung Fury: Street Rage.

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The mobile game recreates Kung Fury's extended hand-to-hand fight scene, in which the titular lone wolf cop/martial arts master/time traveler single-handedly attacks Hitler's Nazi army. Unfortunately it's not quite as complex as the original Streets of Rage beat-em-up: you only get two on-screen buttons, left and right.

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Google Releases Cardboard Design Lab To Walk You Through VR Design... In VR

Since debuting at last year's I/O, Google's Cardboard effort hasn't slowed down. Google has been making it easier and easier for manufacturers and developers to hop on board with its vision of virtual reality, and the project got some major updates yesterday. On stage, Google showed off a new Cardboard viewer that accommodates bigger phones (including those running iOS), 360 degree videos, and expeditions for classrooms.

Just last month, Google announced its "Works with Cardboard" program, along with new design guidelines and today Google has released an app that will make those guidelines tangible for VR developers and designers - Cardboard Design Lab.

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Google Teases Hands Free, The Public Name For "Plaso," Yet Another Android-Based Mobile Payment System

Are you unexcited about Android Pay? Not liking your Wallet Card? Maybe you just want another Google payment platform... because? Then I've got great news: Google Hands Free will be a thing at some point later this year.

How's it work? I've got no idea, because Google doesn't actually tell us. Well, actually, we sort of do know, because Hands Free leaked as Plaso over three months ago.

The idea here is similar to that of the now-defunct Square Wallet, which used a combination of proximity detection and a picture of your face to allow you to buy stuff without ever having to pull out a credit card, phone, or even your ID.

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