Update 10/17/14: Play Store 5.0.32, a small bump over 5.0.31, is now available for download.
Update 10/31/14: Play Store 5.0.37, a bump over 5.0.32, is now available for download. It comes with at least one new change - a new permission bucket called Wearable sensors/activity data to help explain permissions for apps that can grab data from wearables, such as heart rate monitors.
Of course, as I have to pick up my son from daycare, breaking news had to hit, and Google had to start pushing out the Play Store 5.0 update (5.0.31, to be exact). We'll start looking at every corner in just a bit.
Several months ago, we discussed something called Nearby, a project that - at the time - seemed to be Google's effort to let "people, places, and things" know when a user is, well, nearby. It seems that Google is still hard at work on its effort to connect various devices to each other and their surroundings, but Copresence (an internal name for this functionality) may have a more specific scope in this effort than we first estimated, apparently including iOS devices in the fun.
Copresence, which we saw a glimpse of in a recent teardown, appears to be aimed at letting nearby Android and iOS devices communicate with one another in a variety of ways, exchanging files, photos, directions, messages, or other content, essentially making Copresence a sort of contactless, cross-platform version of Android Beam.
File managers aren't flashy or particularly exciting apps, but they're definitely a necessity. HTC has taken to adding a number of its core Sense apps to the Play Store, and now the file manager is taking up residence.
HTC's Dot View case is a cool idea, though the quality of the accessory itself is somewhat suspect. Still, HTC gets points for doing something new. What's more, it turns out the Dot View for the One M8 still has some tricks up its heavily perforated sleeve. There's a Halloween surprise lurking in there.
The Dot View case is able to show notifications and other bits of data by shining light from the screen through the holes in the case. Of course, the One M8 has an LCD to the whole screen is on when it's doing this. As for that surprise, it's a jack-o'-lantern that appears when you wake up the Dot View UI on Halloween.
Now at the end of the month, that attention is being poured upon the Xperia Z3v, Z2, and Z2 Tablet. The first is just Verizon's version of the Xperia Z3. The latter two are Sony's flagship phone and tablet from earlier this year.
Administrators can now implement a 4-digit PIN that works on numerous devices. This way you could have all of the spare tablets in a college IT department, for example, secured with the same code that gets changed every week or so. To turn this feature on, look for the "Ask for pin" option under Settings.
It goes without saying for most Android enthusiasts that the side-navigation drawer is a hot point of contention right now. With the introduction of material design, Google emphasized information hierarchy heavily, giving advice in its design specifications on how to arrange just about everything, including side navigation. According to the specifications (and Googler Roman Nurik), the "correct" behavior for the side drawer is to slide in as a sheet of paper over the entire canvas, including the app bar or toolbar.
The issue with the new navigation drawer paradigm is that it has not been followed consistently by Google. It could be argued that Google implemented a placeholder drawer design in some places because the support libraries were not available, or to maintain fidelity with other drawers on pre-L systems since Android Lollipop is not actually released yet.
Move over, Sharp: LG wants to claim your crown for the "world's thinnest bezel." Modern smartphone designs are bumping up the screen and slimming down everything else, as evidenced by the latest flagships from, well, just about everywhere. LG is hoping to continue that trend with its proprietary "Neo Edge" design. The first production screen in the series is a 5.3-inch 1080p panel with bezels of just .7mm. That's about as thin as the graphite in a typical mechanical pencil.
That's not quite as magical as it sounds. Like the screen on the eye-catching Sharp Aquos Crystal, the controller and connective layer for the screen still need to be embedded on one side, leaving that thin bezel around only three edges.