Before Android 4.4, media-focused apps replaced the navigation icons with three dimmed out dots. These placeholders shared the same functions as the regular buttons, but they were less intrusive.
With KitKat, design guidelines started nudging developers toward Immersive mode, which hides the navigation bar entirely, bringing it back with a swipe from the edge of the screen. The other encouraged option is Lean Back mode, which brings back the system bars by tapping.
But Lights Out mode and its three dimmed dots never went away for good, as some apps never embraced one of the alternative options. Now, in N, it seems to be taking a different form. Read More
Android 6.0 already includes support for pausing and time-shifting on TV devices, but Android N adds a more robust method of creating multiple recordings in supported apps. These can be scheduled in advance or triggered as you're watching. There aren't any apps yet to test this, but it sounds very much like DVR functionality. Read More
There's a new little animation when setting an alarm in the clock app that moves the selector hand from the hour value to the minutes value. If that's not entirely clear, have a look at the gfycat below: after selecting the hour for an alarm, the hand now sweeps smoothly into the minutes position, whereas in Marshmallow, the hand would simply reappear in the minutes position without any visual transition or animation.
Android's Do Not Disturb feature has a long and complicated relationship with alarms. In Lollipop the tiers of "priority" and "none" did a poor job of explaining how alarms fit in. With Marshmallow, there's that ongoing bug that kills the "until next alarm" option every month. In Android N, there's a new option that might finally make alarms and DND work the way you expect. Alarms can simply override Do Not Disturb. Read More
Welcome back to another week of the Android Police Podcast! And, wait, this isn't the standard post header. This week, we're saying goodbye to Cameron Summerson - it's his last show, at least as a member of Android Police. I don't know if Cameron is planning a goodbye post on the site (he should do one of those), but given that he took time in the show to announce his departure, I felt really weird not mentioning it somehow. You can catch the uncut video version of this episode here. Be sure to keep sending us your voicemails, emails, texts, and antique Android devices! Read More
Despite how much we praise and love Material Design, it's not the be-all end-all of interfaces and it's definitely not unanimously loved. We've seen many users lament the waste of space, excess of white, and other aspects of the design language, but what's ultimately the most important factor in MD acceptance is how well the developers adapt it to their specific app. The Imgur team appears to have fallen on the wrong side of that equation and garnered the wrath of some of its users with the app's latest update.
The new Imgur version 126.96.36.1990 revamped the entire interface to Material Design and improved the overall performance of the app. Read More
Since the time I began writing for Android Police last spring I have written dozens of deal alerts. Many of these articles have featured mobile accessories from brands I had not previously heard of, let alone tried for myself. While reviews on Amazon are a nice tool to help determine if a product is any good, there is no substitute for a recommendation from a source you trust. With that in mind, today I'm starting a new series of articles reviewing mobile accessories from the manufacturers that we often feature in Deal Alerts at Android Police.
First up in the series is Aukey's lineup of QC 3.0 chargers. Aukey sent me four different QC 3.0 chargers to test, including a single port charger, a dual port charger, a dual port car charger, and a five port charging station. Read More
In Android M, the System UI Tuner included a Broadcast tile that allowed users to create their own custom tile to be added to the Quick Settings area. However, users had to be savvy enough to know how to create that tile and then use an app like Custom Quick Settings to personalize its look and actions. It's safe to say that the feature wasn't ready for primetime and only enterprising and techie users could benefit from it.
With Android N, custom tiles will be possible to implement directly by the developers for their apps. The N documentation explains that this is part of the reason Android N has a Quick Settings area with pagination and user-editable toggles. Read More
Google's approach to releasing preview firmware for upcoming versions of Android is evolving into a pretty cool system that allows developers to simply sign up a device and wait for the OTAs to come rolling in. However, no product launch is perfect, and this one is causing some real problems for some users. Complaints started rolling into the Nexus Help Form and AOSP Issue Tracker about devices that were left unable to boot after attempting to install the OTA. This problem is greatly compounded by the fact that many users are not able to unlock their bootloaders, which means they can't fix the issue with a factory image. Read More
Android N isn't all about the small tweaks and pixel changes, it's also a significant update when it comes to your safety. Well, provided you discover how to set it up and other people know how to get to it. What is it exactly? It's the new Emergency information feature that's accessible in Settings > Users and lets you display all the crucial info on your lockscreen for anyone to see, without requiring an unlock. It'll also show up in the setup wizard when you finish setting up a new Android N phone.
Left: Emergency info under Users. Right: "Emergency app" is a new setting in Default apps. Read More