Every year, the Unicode Consortium releases new sets of emoji, adding ever more options to our already big selection of smileys. Unfortunately, Android stores emoji on the system partition, along with fonts, so a full system update is required to get the latest and greatest on your phone — particularly a nuisance if your phone's manufacturer isn't known to provide fast OTAs. That might be about to change with Android 12. Some commits have been merged that would make emoji and fonts updateable without a new OS release.
ADB is the main command line tool for interacting with Android devices. It can be used to sideload APKs, copy data, and more. Starting with Android 4.0 ICS, a feature to backup and restore applications (and their data) was added, but that functionality will be removed in a future Android release.
Biometric authentication is nothing new for laptops. However, no Chromebook, even Google's flagship Pixelbook, has ever had a fingerprint sensor or facial recognition. Sure, you could use your phone's fingerprint sensor via Smart Lock, but that's just not the same. A commit for face unlock was discovered on Chromium Gerrit just a few days ago, and now, one for fingerprint sensors has been spotted as well.
Almost a year ago, evidence first appeared of an 'SMS connect' feature on Chrome OS. It would allow users to see text messages from your phone on your Chromebook, similar to Pushbullet and other software. We haven't heard much about it since then, but Google has also been working on a web client for Android Messages. Thankfully for Chrome OS users, a new commit reveals SMS Connect is one step closer to going live.
The Pixelbook sports a 12.3" 2400x1600 display, and nobody's complaining about it. In fact, we even praised it in our review for being nice in basically every aspect. But companies are constantly seeking to cram more and more pixels into their devices' screens, and Google is no different. According to a recent Chrome OS commit, we'll be seeing 4K displays on Chromebooks in the near future.
A commit made yesterday to AOSP has revealed two juicy pieces of news. The more interesting thing is also the one we know the least about: somewhere there is a device named "dorado," and we have no idea what it is. The second and more immediately understandable tidbit is that Google is adding touch support to the AOSP recovery.
Back in October, we posted a quick look at some of Google's very early plans for multi-window functionality on Android Lollipop, a feature that had apparently been in the works since at least KitKat. The system, in a nut shell, would allow users to have two apps open at a time, scaling the apps to take up more or less space on the screen, and interact with the overview or Google Search, passing text or other data back and forth.
Today, a reader pointed out an interesting Android commit that makes mention of the feature (about which we've heard nothing official). The commit in question, made January 27th 2015, mentions "multiwindows" briefly, implying that it's a feature destined for some unspecified future release.
As a developer, I absolutely love days like today. If the high-level "improves performance and stability and fixes bugs" changelog of Android 4.1.2 isn't good enough for you, how about we dive into the actual low-level source code commit logs Android engineers made into AOSP since 4.1.1_r1.1 (JRO03D) all the way through today's release 4.1.2_r1 (JZO54K). These commit logs are spread over probably 100+ repositories, so hunting for all of them manually would probably take you days. However, thanks to Al Sutton, you can check them out all in one place.
Be prepared for lots of code jargon and incomplete git commit messages, which probably won't mean much to most of you.
Multi-user support is one of the few remaining things a desktop OS can do that Android can't. The "coffee table tablet" use case would greatly benefit from a multi-user setup, as would an enterprise user who wants to keep work and home separate. It's been a top 20 item on the Android bug tracker since the debut of Honeycomb, so there is certainly demand for it.
As we've seen from my previous experiments in sticking my nose where it doesn't belong, Google likes to leave breadcrumbs in shipping products for the astute observer to find, and the multi-user situation is no different.
Have you ever wondered what the AOSP source tree would look like if someone stitched together a video of every commit, update, and release? Ponder no more, friends, because YouTube user xcco3x has made that a reality. A visually amazing 21 minute reality, to be exact.
A little background info, per the description on YouTube:
The graph represents the source tree. Non-leaf nodes are directories and leaf nodes are files where their color represents the type of file. Files appear as they are modified and disappear if they are not touched for 2.5 seconds.
In other words, each "blast" from a user is a commit.