Just as expected, Google has taken the wraps off the latest iteration of Android at Google I/O. So far all we have with regard to the name is the placeholder "Android M." Will that be Marshmallow? Marzipan? M&M? Magneto? We don't know, but we do know what sort of features it will bring. There are six tentpoles in Android M.
Mobile electronics use power. And as the software becomes more complex, they use more and more of it. At Google I/O 2015, the company has announced an improvement on the ultra low-power mode found in Lollipop. They're calling it "Doze," for obvious reasons, and it will debut in the M release of Android scheduled to go into a developer preview soon. It should debut in public builds later this year.
Specifics on the improvements made to the low-power mode are scarce, but apparently they are extensive enough for some dramatic power savings.
The Android M Developer Preview was just announced at Google I/O during the keynote this morning. Android "M" will focus on "quality end-to-end," with a strong emphasis on improving the user experience, according to Dave Burke.
Supported devices include the Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 9, and Nexus Player. M includes brand-new features like granular app permissions (which is huge on its own), new app linking APIs, doze mode for enhanced battery life, enhanced fingerprint support (including Android Pay), and a whole lot more.
Google has now detailed some of the ins and outs of the preview, so we've got more information.
At the Google I/O 2015 keynote address, Google is moving fluidly between broad Android improvements for the upcoming M preview build and more specific improvements for the company's apps and APIs. One of the first reveals was for a new Chrome feature, Chrome Custom Tabs. This is basically a more robust alternative to embedding a web view in an app, adding a minimal and customized window of Google Chrome on top of the active app.
A while back, Apple got to announce exclusive access to HBO's standalone application called Now that lets users watch content without a pre-existing subscription to the service. Of course we were all jealous, but today, that jealousy ends. Sundar Pichai just announced at Google I/O 2015 that HBO Now will be available on Android "across all devices."
That last bit is pretty important, because that means Android phones, tablets, and Android TV - just like how the service was released for Apple devices.
Unfortunately, there's no word as to when Now will hit the Store (but I would look for it soon).
As we expected, Android M will have a revamped permission system. No longer will apps ask for a bunch of permissions at installation time. Instead, apps will ask for important permissions the first time they need them. You can also change permission settings via an AppOps-like interface.
Chaos Rings is Square Enix's only RPG series that started on mobile, namely on iOS and then ported to Android. The series is actually developed by Media Vision and only published by Square, but it's hard not to see the latter's influence on thirty years of Japanese RPGs in the games. The latest release is Chaos Rings III (actually the fourth game to hit Android), now available in the Play Store for a hefty $19.99, thankfully without in-app purchases.
Chaos Rings III starts things off with a new story that seems only loosely connected to the older games, and a new protagonist who has an uncanny resemblance to Kingdom Hearts' Sora.
Runtastic knows that you'll be sitting on your ass for hours during Google I/O, watching the conference and gorging on all the news, so it decided to release a new app to... taunt you? Or motivate you to get back in shape once I/O is over? Whatever the purpose, Leg Workout Trainer is now available on the Play Store.
Leg Workout Trainer joins the previously released Butt Trainer in bringing a series of muscle-focused (or group of muscles-focused) exercises to your phone in video form, with step-by-step instructions and photos. It has predefined workouts (7-minute, Pilates, and more) and three levels of difficulty, but also allows you to customize the training to target a specific problem area in your lower body.
A lot of round watch faces try to look exactly like traditional analog watches. Sometimes that's what you want, but the NOW watch face from Tha Phlash is a fun alternative. It displays the time in a small window at the top with past, present, and future helpfully marked in case you ever forget which way time moves.