Since the release of the Pixel last year it's been possible to swipe down on the rear-mounted fingerprint sensor to pull down the notification shade. It took a while, but the feature eventually came to the Nexus 5X, and finally the 6P. Ever since it came to the Nexuses, there was a bug wherein the axis wouldn't change along with the orientation. The release of the second developer preview for Android O (DP2) fixes this, and you can now logically swipe down from whichever side of the device is currently the top, depending on how you're holding it.
Developer Mocha17 noticed that if you count the wrist where you're actually wearing an Android Wear watch, you actually have to use two hands to access notifications. It's a fair point, and one that's solved with his custom Wear app, JorSay (Hindi for "aloud"). The idea is simple: when you feel a vibration for an incoming notification, shake your wrist twice, and your phone will speak the notification aloud using Android's built-in text-to-speech system. Pretty neat, huh?
Android 6.0.1's headline feature is a new set of emoji, but did you know it also adds a handy new camera launch mode to older Nexus devices? The Nexus 5X and 6P have had the double-tap power camera launch shortcut since they went on sale (and dropped a twist-to-launch gesture), but now the feature has trickled down to older Nexus models. Specifically, the Nexus 5, 6, 7 (2013) and 9 now all support it as of Android 6.0.1.
We're still looking at the 6.0.1 update to see if we can spot anything else that looks new, but our readers found this one, so thanks to everyone who confirmed its functionality in the comments on the 6.0.1 factory image post!
A good portion of you have probably been playing with a spiffy new Windows 10 upgrade this week. If you're a fan of Microsoft's HALO-branded digital voice assistant, Cortana, you can check it out on your Android phone, too - it's more or less a remade version of the implementation that debuted on Windows Phone devices. The Android beta app has been available for a few weeks, and Android developers are already having fun with the new tool.
If you're so enamored with Cortana that you'd like to make it the default voice assistant on your Android phone... well, you're probably going to make Microsoft very happy.
Apps with tens of millions of users tend to either spend a lot of time and effort conforming to Android's visual standards... or spend none at all, considering their own cross-platform UI more important. Dropbox has tended to fall into the former category, but it's taken them a while to get on board with the Material Design standards introduced with Android 5.0. That changes today: version 184.108.40.206 adds a new UI that follows the Material Design playbook. For the most part, anyway.
Old interface above, new below.
The app opens up to your root Dropbox folder, and the tabbed interface is gone - if you want to look at your files in the Photos or Favorites view, you'll have to open the side menu.
Drupe would like you to think that contacts on Android, and on mobile in general, are broken. They're not - phone makers and developers have been doing this for a while, after all - but that doesn't mean that they can't be improved upon. Drupe is a "floating" app that puts contacts, and the means to do all sorts of interesting things with them, in a unique overlay accessible from any other app. Check it out in action in the video below.
To activate Drupe, just tap the translucent triple-dot activation point in any app. A list of your favorite contacts (or groups of contacts) will appear along the left side of your phone's screen, with a list of communication apps on the right.
Today we've got a quick tip for Chrome - a new method of switching between what we'll call "sibling tabs" in Chrome for Android when you've got apps and tabs merged.
First, what are sibling tabs? In Chrome on Android Lollipop, when users have tabs and apps merged (so Chrome tabs show up in the overview space), tabs opened using the "open in new tab" action will group together with the parent tab, making a nice little group that will stick together as you scroll vertically.
Now here's the tip: when you are looking at one of these grouped tabs, a simple swipe across Android's system navigation bar will jump between those tabs.
One of the things I love about Android is the way it allows fantastic customization of its user interface, even without root or other major modifications. Take App Swap for example: this handy little app drawer replacement can launch either from a standard shortcut on your launcher (or alternative methods like SwipePad) or it can replace the default Google Now swipe-up-from-the-home-button gesture.
The latest update to this tool adds an even more useful feature: Quick Swipe. This allows users to swipe left or right from the pop-up app drawer to instantly go to the apps of their choice. Essentially it's an even faster way to get to your two most-frequented apps.
One of the less dramatic software additions to the Moto X was the handy and unobtrusive camera launch gesture. While most phones have a quick-launch function for the camera on the lockscreen, the Moto X (and Verizon's me-too DROIDs from 2013) can quickly access the camera with two twists of the wrist, even when the phone's screen is off. According to a video spotted by A Tech Website (no, that's really the name) the upcoming Moto X+1, or possibly "the new Moto X," retains this function.
The video, partially narrated in Spanish, shows the larger phone activating its camera with the same twisting motion that the current phones use.
One complaint many Glass users have voiced since the Explorer Program began is that Glass has very limited contact management capabilities. Users could add contacts in the MyGlass interface, but those manually added contacts were the only ones a user could correspond with using Google's eye-mounted computer.
The Glass team is fixing that - and a number of other things - in an update to XE20.1, announced today. The update will allow Glass to see all a user's contacts, with starred contacts showing up for quick voice access. Other contacts will be just a quick swipe away.
The update also adds a "head nudge" card to the settings bundle.