Yesterday brought us a new version of Gboard, bumping the version number up to 6.9. There's not much in the way of changes that you'll see right away, but there is now a semi-hidden feature that will tell you about changes when they happen. However, a deeper look into the APK does reveal plans to add a feature that provides suggested responses to go with messaging apps that implement Direct Replies. Also, the MAKE A GIF feature from the iOS version is making the jump to Android, Bitmoji support is getting baked in, and there's a universal search feature in the works. Read More
One of the most useful features of Android N is the improved notifications handling: notifications coming from the same app are bundled together and can be unbundled and dealt with individually, and there's direct reply support to quickly answer a message without opening the app.
Not a lot of apps have added support for both of these features, but now Yahoo Mail is joining this elite group. Thanks to a new update, Yahoo's mailing app lets you send direct replies to emails from the notification, and it bundles notifications together for less redundancy and clutter in the drop-down. Read More
Direct Reply, which was introduced in Android N, aims to help you act on some notifications right away, without having to head into the app first. Its benefit is easily felt in communication apps and we've seen it so far implemented in Hangouts and a couple of other messaging apps. It's now making its first appearance in Facebook's own Messenger, in version 220.127.116.11.65 which is only available to beta testers of the app (or through APK Mirror).
If you're on this latest beta, you'll see a Reply button right beneath the notification, allowing you to type and send an answer to your contacts instantly without having to switch to the app. Read More
Android N introduced two major changes in the way notifications are handled in the tray. On Marshmallow and prior, notifications from the same app were grouped into a single one and you couldn't take individual actions on them separately. You also couldn't directly reply to messages and other communications from the notification shade. Hangouts had circumvented the latter with the addition of Quick Reply in version 7, but it was just a temporary bandage to the problem. Read More
Android's notification shade is getting a lot more powerful in N, and two new APIs are the key to that: direct replies and bundling. On the surface, both of these things sound fairly unexciting, but in reality, they have the potential to make the notification shade a powerful multitasking tool that reduces the amount of time you spend doing quick tasks and entering apps when you don't actually need to.
First, let's hit the direct reply API. The wonderful ability to reply to messages in Google Messenger or Hangouts directly from the notification bar was, you may be surprised to learn, not a standard Android feature. Read More