Last year, Google released v2.0 of its "Nearby Connections" API, which allows for your gadgets to communicate with other devices in close proximity via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It was a part of the overall "Nearby" package, which also includes a few other systems for more specific applications, including messaging and notifications. According to a pair of commits recently spotted by the folks at XDA Developers, these Nearby APIs may be coming to Chromebooks. Read More
Google has always controlled which devices ship with its proprietary GApps—a package that includes such necessities as the Play Store and Google Play Services. Until now, they've even been pretty lenient about allowing custom ROM users to flash the necessary payload on top of their modified OS. Unfortunately, some OEMs used that loophole to their advantage, ignoring Google's CTS certification process while shipping devices with GApps or shamelessly encouraging users to sideload them.
According to XDA Developers, that loophole has now been closed. Google Play Services will soon check the build date for a given system image, and if that date is after March 16th, it will be blocked from completing the sign-in process—though custom ROM users can manually register their devices for an exemption. Read More
Over the past several months, I've become increasingly familiar with how to block phone numbers in Google's Phone app: reject a suspicious call, go into my call history, long-press the dubious number, then tap "Block/report spam." This process is simple enough, but it's still just a reactionary, case-by-case measure. Android P may improve this call-blocking experience by giving users a smarter, preemptive way to block types of phone numbers — that is, so long as your carrier doesn't get in the way Read More
One of Android's biggest criticisms over the years has been how fragmented its version distribution is at any given time. At Google I/O in May last year, Google unveiled a plan to modularize the OS and make it easier to update. Project Treble, in short, separates out the base-level Android framework from the vendor implementation so OEMs are able to release OS updates without having to wait for chipmakers to update drivers.
Faster updates should increase the distribution numbers for the latest version of Android, but Treble could also be useful for custom ROM developers, allowing generic AOSP builds ("Treble ROMs") to be installed on more phones. Read More
Many of us love the simplicity of the Google Camera app that comes pre-installed on Pixel phones, but it's the HDR+ capabilities that really set it apart. Thankfully the Android community is full of willing modders, and an unofficial port has been available for some time now. It hasn't played nice with phones that have dual rear lenses, as no Google device has such a setup. A new update looks to have added support for some LG devices with two cameras. Read More
Android has a few different methods for printing, one of the easiest and most recognizable is probably Google's Cloud Print. But setting up and using a random printer from your Android-powered phone or tablet isn't quite as easy as it is from a more traditional laptop or desktop computer. According to the folks at XDA, though, that might change with the recent addition of Wi-Fi Direct printing to AOSP. Read More
Sometimes you don't want to read up on how someone "feels" about a product. Everything's subjective, of course, and it's good to combine multiple viewpoints, but once in a while, it's nice to just sit down and examine the raw data, that way you can come to your own conclusions. And Dylan Raga over at XDA-Developers just assembled an intense and in-depth analysis of the Pixel 2 XL's display that's worth a read. At least, if you'd like to scratch that purely quantitative itch. Read More
Someday in the not-too-distant future, your Android phone might try to hide the quality of your current cellular connection from you. The eagle-eyed folks over at XDA Developers noticed a recent commit to the Android Open Source Project that indicates an option has been added for carriers to disable user-facing signal strength from appearing in the SIM Status screen in Settings. However, the motivation for this change is a mystery. Read More
While large displays can be beautiful, using them in everyday scenarios can be anything but. This is particularly the case if you're holding yourself steady on a bus or train with one hand while browsing your smartphone with the other on a daily basis. To address this potential hazard, Samsung, LG, Huawei, Motorola, and other manufacturers offer a one-handed mode on some of their phones, and now a new XDA app called (wait for it) "One-Handed Mode" is bringing the helpful feature to any smartphone running Android 4.3 or higher. Read More