In the last couple of weeks, I noticed my own OnePlus 6 was having a bit of trouble when I was outdoors. If I went to check missed messages or train schedules on a sunny day, I'd notice the display seemed to flicker spastically between two different brightness levels. I pushed it out of my mind, assuming I imagined it, but according to reports compiled together by the folks at PiunikaWeb, I'm not alone.
Android P has been making several changes to how it handles brightness, from a merely animated slider for adaptive changes, to the promise of machine learning-based improvements. And another new brightness-related tweak just trickled down in the recent Android P DP3/Beta 2 release yesterday: The slider now controls brightness on a logarithmic scale, rather than linear.
New prompts to automatically adjust brightness, rotate images, and archive screenshots and pictures of things like labels, menus, and receipts are popping up in the Google Photos app and web interface. We saw this coming in a Photos teardown earlier this month.
While new information keeps rolling out of Google I/O, some of the recently announced things are creeping out in various forms. After the keynote, we've been expecting some enhancements to Google Photos, and the latest update contains new text that makes it look pretty likely that we'll be getting them soon. There's also a subtle clue that may suggest we'll soon get to lock up some of our photos or albums and access them with a fingerprint.
Adaptive brightness has long been a feature of Android smartphones. It uses an ambient light sensor, usually placed above the display, to measure the amount of light in the environment and change the brightness of the screen to best suit the conditions. It's often noticeable when changes occur, particularly right after you unlock your device, but now the quick settings brightness slider moves in tandem to further demonstrate this.
There's a new version of Duo rolling out today, but it doesn't bring any huge changes for users. However, a teardown shows that the developers are still plenty active as they work on some tools to experiment with camera effects, including new controls for adjusting brightness, contrast, and saturation. Also in this update are new details for a voicemail-like feature for sending voice and video messages outside of a call.
While the meat of this post is in the teardown, one visual change in this update also stands out. Missed calls have been redrawn to place the icon below a contact's name, and if the call was made in the last day, it will list the time instead of a nonspecific "today" label.
Most of the app updates this week were relatively quiet, with the notable exception of Play Music with its new ad-supported radio feature. That doesn't have to mean some of the updates don't have something new to offer. The Google app (formerly "Search") was bumped up to v4.8 yesterday, but it doesn't seem to have any noticeable changes right now. However, a look under the hood reveals some pretty interesting features on the horizon.
Disclaimer: Teardowns are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete evidence. It's possible that the guesses made here are totally and completely wrong. There is always a chance that details may change or plans may be cancelled prior to the launch of a new feature discovered in a teardown.
Volume control on Android can be kind of a pain to manage, as there's multiple volume settings that need to be managed, but it's not always obvious what settings you're adjusting when. Slider Widget simplifies this process by placing all five independent volume controls, as wells a brightness control setting, on your homescreen in one convenient widget.
The widget not only displays what level the various settings are at, but gives the user a handy slider for adjusting each one without taking up a ton of space on the homescreen. The stock power widget (and the manufacturer variations thereof) generally only allow you to adjust the brightness to a couple of preset levels, and volume buttons only affect whatever volume level you're currently using.
Yesterday, a great thread titled Share One Awesome Tip or Trick You Do With Your Android Phone, I'll Start... popped up on Reddit, and thinking I would be already aware of all the little tricks, I almost ignored it. By the end of the day, seeing over 100 comments piqued my curiosity, so I checked it out.
To my dismay, among all the great tips, I found one, courtesy of kennansoft, that somehow evaded me all along - and it was available in my own stock Epic 4G Touch Galaxy S II ROM of all things.
The tip itself is very simple - if you turn off auto-brightness, you can just place your finger on the notification area (as you can see in red below) and swipe it left and right to control brightness.