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Power management on Android has always been a very real problem. While Google has done what it can over the years to improve battery life (with success, I'd argue), some smartphone companies still don't think it's enough. Many make their own adjustments on top of so-called "stock" Android, and in many cases these modifications interfere with normal operations, resulting in issues ranging from delayed notifications, to prematurely killed apps, and even outright breaking behaviors that developers rely on. In fact, the lack of predictability that has ensued under the current laissez-faire power management scheme has become so dire that it recently took the top spot in a developer AMA request thread for Android 11 on reddit.
An APK analysis of version 9.6 of Gboard has revealed some major aesthetic changes and some good news on dark theme programming. Changes, as dug up by 9to5Google and seen here, may or may not be carried over to the public release.
Google's Android AMA is underway, and the team's engineers have already answered the most hotly-anticipated question: How will Google fix the problem of inconsistent background limits across different manufacturers and devices? It's a long-standing problem where overly aggressive power management tweaks break functionality in plenty of apps, resulting in a headache for developers and frustration for users. According to the AMA, Google does plan on making a few changes to help fix things, but the company isn't doing all that it could.
One feature that is now extremely common on Android devices is scrolling screenshots, where the phone will scroll through content automatically to create a super-tall image. However, the functionality has yet to appear in stock Android (or Pixel phones), and Google confirmed today that it won't be ready in time for Android 11.
Google has been hard at work on updated media controls on Android 11, which not only moves the controls to the Quick Settings bar (as opposed to being displayed as a notification), but also adds an easily-accessible menu for switching audio outputs. The latter feature might arrive in Chrome soon, according to work being done in the open-source Chromium project.
Critics of Android are always quick to point out its very real fragmentation issue, and how long it takes for major version updates to land across the ecosystem. But it's less of a problem with every major update, and that's culminated with last year's Android 10 release. Between Treble, GSIs, and Project Mainline, Google has been making a good dent in update uptake in the last two years, and Android 10 has seen the fastest adoption of any Android update ever.
Google Earth has a long and storied history — though not quite as long as the planet it depicts. The product we all know as Google earth was released on June 28th, 2005. Though we're a few weeks separated from that, Google has taken today to celebrate its formal 15th anniversary. But, in fact, Google Earth's history stretches back a little further than that.
Stadia has been rightly concerned with securing big-name AAA experiences to pad out its catalog, but indie representation has been growing in recent months. Soon, Google's cloud gaming platform will add another indie heavyweight: critical darling (and one of my personal favorite games of 2018) Celeste.
When Google first introduced its take on gesture navigation with Android 10, one navigation option die-hard Android fans are used to disappeared — there was no longer a way to quickly jump back from a secondary homescreen to the first page, which you could do by tapping the home button. Android 11 is looking to fix that.
The original air freshener-shaped Google Home speaker was announced a full four years ago, and we've long heard rumors of a successor with Nest branding in the same vein as other recent products. We're now getting what appears to be our first proper look at this new speaker, and boy does it have a weird shape.