If you develop for the web, one challenge you always come across is how to make the best use of screen estate across so many different screens, layouts, and resolutions. It used to be that people only browsed from their computers which had a few limited screen resolutions possible. Now that number has risen, and with the advent of mobiles and tablets, the number of possibilities has gone up even more. Not to mention landscape and portrait orientations, which complicate things further.
Viewing what a site looks like on different screens simultaneously can make things easier on developers and designers, especially when they want to check out many websites and get some ideas from what others are doing.
Microsoft makes a lot of apps for multiple platforms. It also makes a lot of tools that are used by other developers to build apps for multiple platforms. It only makes sense then that the company would be interested in buying Xamarin, one of the leading platform providers for mobile app development.
While you may not have heard of Xamarin, its solution counts as one of the invisible threads that play a role in running the Internet nowadays. The platform helps developers use a shared codebase in C# to build, test, and monitor native apps for iOS, Android, and Windows, all with the same IDE, language, and APIs.
We first spotted the rollout yesterday, but today Google made it official that its AMP initiative will be enjoying a wide launch effective immediately. AMP, which stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages, is a new feature to Google's search interface on mobile browsers that will load an optimized version of news articles far more efficiently than the conventional way of navigating to a separate webpage. While Google emphasizes that there is much more to be done, it is going to be prioritizing compatible news and displaying the AMP wording and lightning bolt logo in mobile search by default.
The program involves an open-source, HTML-based format for web developers to use in order to function correctly.
Samsung just announced that it has begun mass manufacturing of the industry's first 256GB Universal Flash Storage chips for high-end mobile devices. The new memory is nearly twice as fast as typical SATA-based SSDs found in PCs. Using two lanes of data transfer, the new chip can move data at up to a blistering 850MB per second.
Sequential writing speeds clock in at a rate of up to 260MB a second, or about three times faster than high-performance external SD cards. What this translates to is buttery-smooth frame rates when the chip is tasked with the playback of Ultra HD video files, even while simultaneously multitasking in a split screen.
A fresh version of the Android Support Library is now available to developers. This may be one of the biggest updates in quite a while, as some of the changes demand a few significant internal changes. On the plus side, there aren't very many changes that should break existing code, and most of the new features will make it worth the trouble. Here's a quick introduction to some of the new changes.
Vector Drawables and Animated Vector Drawables
Full vector support was first introduced in Android 5.0 Lollipop, allowing developers to distribute apks with easily resizable vector drawings in place of multiple images at various sizes.
It's that time of the week again, namely Update Wednesday. With that in mind, there's a new update to Google+ which should bring a smile to many a person's face.
This release contains a bunch of bug fixes, as well as a few small, but nevertheless very welcome, new features:
10 bugs fixed
4 accessibility issues addressed
Ability to filter your notifications by All, Unread & Other
Several Community moderation tools
Delete multiple items in Activity Log at once
Hide the top bar when scrolling Collections & Communities
Even faster Web browsing on WiFi
In addition, search autocomplete has been re-enabled in this release.
LG took a break from the Nexus program in 2014, then came roaring back in 2015 to release a sequel to the much-beloved Nexus 5. There won't be a followup to the Nexus 5X this year, at least not from LG. The company has said it needs to focus on its brand in 2016, not the Nexus program. Job one in tending to its brand is apparently to fix that watch problem.
Version 1.50 of YouTube Kids started rolling out early Thursday morning. This update brings a really great new feature, and parents are going to love it. It's now possible to pause the watch history of YouTube Kids, and it doesn't affect the rest of your YouTube apps. A teardown also shows that parents will soon enjoy the benefits of YouTube Red, as well. As usual, if the update hasn't hit your account yet, jump to the bottom of the post to find a download link.
Google is trying to make WiFi routers easier and less ugly with the OnHub, but a company called Eero is trying to accomplish the same with a slightly different approach. The Eero WiFi system has just launched, and early reviews are very positive for both the routers (yes, plural) and the Android app.
Android Wear and Apple Watch may have the headlines, but they're not the only two smartwatch players in town. Back before either showed up to the party, a small team broke Kickstarter records to create an intelligent wristwatch with an e-ink display. A few years later, they did it again, except this time, in color.
That second campaign gave rise to the Pebble Time, an updated model with an improved, colorful screen and a smarter interface. The watch has an MSRP of $199.99, but the general street price is closer to $150. Still, you might want to turn your eye toward Groupon.