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Latest Features▼ Android

Google to Take Back Platform Control with Android Wear, Auto, and TV–That’s a Good Thing, But Questions Remain

Android OEM customizations like Samsung TouchWiz and HTC Sense are undoubtedly a love-it-or-hate-it affair. There are certainly users out there who care for the added features that these skins introduce. But on the other side of the coin, there are more than a fair share of users who despise the aesthetic nightmares found in some skins. What’s more, this extensive customization often (but not always) results in Android firmware update delays—and that’s if the bloated firmware doesn’t prevent updates in the first place. Oh, and let’s not forget about how these customizations result in a greater number of security vulnerabilities. . . READ ON »

First Impressions with Android L Developer Preview

Android L on the Google Nexus 5It’s now been several hours since the release of the Android L Developer Preview Images. Undoubtedly, many of you reading this have already loaded the preview firmware onto your Nexus 5 or Nexus 7 (2013). However, not everyone is lucky enough to own one of these devices–and even if you have an N5 or N7 by your side, you may not be willing to wipe your data in order to flash test images.

In the time since release, we’ve been poking and prodding at the Android L Developer Preview firmware on a Nexus 5 to see how far Google has come with L and where there’s still . . . READ ON »

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Google I/O 2014 Keynote Highlights

Google I/O 2014 Keynote Highlights

Google I/O 2014 KeynoteThe first day of Google I/O 2014 has come and gone, and just as we were expecting, Google used the opening keynote to shed some light on the future of Android, Chrome, Android Wear, Android Auto, Android TV, Google Cloud Platform, and Google Play. While the keynote was available for live stream viewing from the comfort of your own home, we’ve boiled down the nearly three hour keynote to its most important highlights for those who lack the time to watch the entire presentation.

Android Platform Momentum

Like I/O events of yore, yesterday’s keynote began by discussing the momentum seen in Android. As expected, . . . READ ON »

A Closer Look at the User Interface Changes in Android L

materialdesign-goals-landingimage_large_mdpiWith the curtain raised on Android L at Google I/O, we thought it was a good time to take a look at what we know about Android L, given the significant user interface changes we are all expecting and have seen. Without further ado, let’s take a look at what changes in Android L that we have uncovered by digging in the updated Android design documentation.

New Notification Bar Style

Android L Title Bar Style

First up, it seems there’s a new style of notification bar in Android L. The new icons seem more rounded and fluid, as opposed to the current ones with delineated . . . READ ON »

Android “L” Developer Preview Available Tomorrow: Material Design, ART Now Default, Improved Performance and Battery Life, and Much More!

Android L Developer PreviewWe all knew it was coming, and now it’s finally here. Android “L” was officially unveiled earlier today during the first half of the Google I/O 2014 opening keynote. As expected, L packs quite a long list of both user-facing and developer-centric features.

In a surprise turn of events, Google has decided to make the developer preview images of Android “L” available for the Nexus 5 and 7 tomorrow morning. Join us as we take a closer look at what makes L important.

materialsupport1Material Design

Perhaps the most immediately noticeable user-facing change in Android L comes courtesy of Material Design. Previously known . . . READ ON »

Snapshots of Android “L” Found in Chromium Issue Tracker

Android "L" Leak Quantum Paper

Google I/O 2014 is a mere 35 hours away, and many of us are hoping for the release of the next major version of Android, thus far only known as “L.” Whether or not Android “L” makes its appearance at I/O, we already know quite a bit about it.

At this point, we have a few relatively concrete details about the upcoming Android “L” release. We know that Dalvik will soon be shown the door in favor of ART, and we know that quite a bit of emphasis has been placed in the 64-bit codebase. And through rumors detailing the new Quantum Paper . . . READ ON »

Amazon Fire Phone Unveiled, Forums Added

Amazon Fire Phone Unveiled, Forums Added

For some time now, we’ve heard rumors suggesting that Amazon was planning on releasing an Android-based smartphone. After many months of rumors, leaks, and hints, we finally have Amazon’s entry into the smartphone world. Earlier today, Amazon officially unveiled the Amazon Fire Phone, which will make its way to consumer hands on July 25, starting at $199 on-contract.

From the outset, Amazon worked hard to differentiate the Fire Phone from the sea of other Android smartphones. It hopes to accomplish this goal with the help of a number of innovative technologies including Dynamic Perspective, Firefly technology, Mayday, and Amazon Prime integration.

Dynamic Perspective

Through the . . . READ ON »

Application Signature Verification: How It Works, How to Disable It with Xposed, and Why You Shouldn’t

If you’ve ever tried to modify and reinstall a system application, you probably encountered application signature checks in one form or another. Either you removed the original app before proceeding, or you gave your modified APK another package name in order to get it to install without first removing the old application. And in either case, you also had to re-sign the application yourself in order to get it to install in the first place.

You can get around all of these behaviors by temporarily disabling application signature checks. But before we get into the metaphorical meat and potatoes of this article and tell you how . . . READ ON »

SwiftKey and Google Keyboard: Ever Heard of User Privacy?

unnamedA few days ago, I wrote an article here discussing some changes in Google Play Store permissions handling, and how these changes may have adverse privacy risks for users. The comments on that article indicated an overwhelming amount of concern from readers as to the permissions being used by applications, with many looking to use App Ops or XPrivacy to protect themselves.

Today, I’m going to take a slight detour and look at the permissions needed by two popular apps: Google’s first party keyboard, and SwiftKey. Both of these are keyboard applications, and both are available for download for free on the Play Store . . . READ ON »

Protecting Your Privacy: App Ops, Privacy Guard, and XPrivacy

After yesterday’s article about Google’s recent changes to the Play Store that post a number of privacy concerns for users, today we are going to look at the three most popular options for users to protect their own privacy on their Android devices. First though, let’s take a look at how they work, and what they are for.

Why Should I Care?

Since the start, Android has had a permissions system, to allow users to control what apps are able to do on their device. When an application is installed, the user is prompted to agree to the permissions that an app requires. The . . . READ ON »

Latest Android Platform Stats Show KitKat up to 13.6%, Honeycomb Gone, Gingerdeath Continues

gingerdeathAt the start of every month, just like clockwork, Google releases updated Android Platform Stats that show the latest state of fragmentation in the Android ecosystem. This information is of course quite important to developers looking to better target their application development efforts.

When we last left off one month ago, we were seeing some rather positive  trends. Android 4.4.x KitKat was up to 8.5% from 5.3% the month before, resulting in a 60% relative growth. Unfortunately, Android 2.x was still hanging strong at 17.2% of devices last month. Also of note, that red-headed step child Honeycomb had been hanging in at 0.1% for several . . . READ ON »

[OTAs Captured] Android 4.4.3 Rolling Out to Google Play Editions, Kernel Source Available for HTC GPe Devices!

Today will undoubtedly be remembered the day of Android 4.4.3–at least among us die hard Android fans. Immediately following yesterday’s official release, we’ve seen quite a bit of Android 4.4.3-related activity. Early this morning, we saw the Android 4.4.3 OTA make its way over to the WiFi-only variant of the Google Nexus 7 (2013). Just a few hours later, we talked about all of the changes made in 4.4.3. Not too long after, Motorola began updating its “Moto” devices to 4.4.3. And finally, Google began rolling out the 4.4.3 incremental OTA to the flagship Nexus 5.

Now, we’ve . . . READ ON »

Next Version of Android to Bring Even More Root Headaches

About a week and a half ago, we took a look at a few recent AOSP merges initially spotted by XDA Senior Recognized Developer Chainfire that severely impact root app developers due to changes in SELinux, default runtime compiler, and the requirement of PIE (Position-Independent Executable) for non-statically built executables. These changes compounded previous headaches caused by commits that prevent SU from executing files stored on the /data partition. Luckily, potential workarounds for the above changes were quickly publicized by Chainfire when he updated his How to SU guide.

Now, the breakage continues, as new AOSP commits are poised to make life more difficult for root app . . . READ ON »

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