Showing posts with label android. Show all posts
Showing posts with label android. Show all posts

Friday, 17 October 2014

Android 5.0 Lollipop: All the details and features of Google’s sweetest treat yet

Lollipop Forest

Google revealed many details about the new version of Android a few months ago, but we didn’t get a name — it was simply “Android L.” Now there’s finally a name and a version number to go with it. Android 5.0 Lollipop is a seismic shift for Android in both design and features. With all the details of Android 5.0 now in the wild, it’s time to tell you all about the latest, largest, and greatest Android release yet. Buckle up and sit back: There’s a lot of awesome new features to run through.

Materially different

Google’s last design language was known as Holo, but that has been replaced by Material Design. This was thoroughly previewed when the developer preview was released, and Google went on to update the design guidelines for developers to start making Material apps. However, Google is stressing something new with the unveiling of Lollipop — consistency across devices.
From your phone, to your tablet, to your watch, to your car,  to your TV — it’s going to be Android Lollipop all the time. Well, as soon as your device maker gets around to pushing out an update. There will still be manufacturer skins, but Google is trying to create a vibrant new UI that OEMs will have a hard time covering up. The use of “hero” colors in apps is an example of this. The header color will carry over to the status bar (if the developer supports it), and that color is then shown in the header when you open the app switcher. OEMs loveto skin the app switcher, but doing so now will mean taking away useful new UI cues, so why bother?
Lollipop devices
The preview of Android L came along at a time when there were almost no Material apps to test, but that won’t be a problem when Android 5.0 starts rolling out. It wasn’t clear last spring just how important (and cool) animations were going to be in Android 5.0. Developers have been trying to come up with ways to fake all the subtle button morphing and panel layering of Lollipop on KitKat devices, and these do add something, but Android 5.0′s native support for Material Design is going to make even cookiecutter apps looks amazing. The updated UI samples and upcoming SDK are looking great.

Battery life fixes

Android phones have long suffered from battery life issues caused by the way apps and services can behave in the background. Any app can be granted the power to wake up a device and keep it awake (called a wakelock). This is an important feature of the platform, but sometimes apps are coded poorly or there’s a minor incompatibility that causes a device to stay awake too long. Android 5.0 is supposed to prevent that while also providing you more information about when you’ll have to charge up.
Battery Analysis
Google is also introducing a power saving mode, which has always been missing from stock Android. It’s not as extensive as what Samsung or HTC are doing with their low-power modes, but it’s a start. You’ll be able to restrict syncing, background data, and screen brightness when you need to eke out a little more battery life. This mode seems to have the same basic options as it did in the preview, but it’s probably tuned better.
The battery use menu has also been revamped with a better graph containing information about which apps and processes are causing drain, rather than just foreground tasks. You also get estimates of remaining battery life based on current and past usage patterns, and a time until charged reading when plugged in. That’s especially cool for devices with Qualcomm’s QuickCharge 2.0 feature, like the Nexus 6 (which calls it Turbo Charger).


NotificationsOne of the headlining changes available in the preview of 5.0 was the updated Notification system. The entire look and feel of notifications on Android is changing with easy access on the lock screen, a revamped pull-down menu, and a new heads-up style floating notification that pops up at the top of the screen.
The changes to the layout and location of notifications were already known from the preview, but they are no less notable now. Lock screen widgets are gone in Android 5.0, but that’s probably a worthwhile tradeoff. Lock screen widgets never really took off and having easy access to notifications — even on secured devices — is a big deal. One tap on a notification and you can unlock the phone to the corresponding app.
The final announcement of Android Lollipop includes a few new features of notifications. For one, notifications will be intelligently ranked based on the contact they are from or the app that produced them. So a text message from a favorite contact is at the top and that nagging alert from a social game is down at the bottom (you should really turn those off).
Also new is Priority Mode, which sounds fantastic. Basically, the volume slider has a setting for limiting notifications to only important items. So the text message from above would get through, but the other stuff doesn’t bother you. This appears to be an expansion of the Do Not Disturb setting from the preview, but much more refined.


A recent development in Android land is the news that Android 5.0 will include encryption by default, something that has made the intelligence and law enforcement communities none too happy. You can encrypt an Android device right now, but it’s actually quite a pain. You need to plug the phone in and leave it to do its thing for at least 30 minutes. If something goes wrong, your data could be forever lost.
On Android 5.0 this will happen automatically from the start, so you don’t have to worry about anyone harvesting your data if the phone is lost or stolen. Even if you have a lock screen, unencrypted data can be accessed with a variety of workarounds, but there’s no good way to break the kind of strong cryptography utilized by Android.
If you do lose the phone, the new version of Android comes with factory reset protection or a “kill switch.” It’s an opt-in feature, so it won’t happen automatically like with iOS. You’ll be able to set the phone or tablet to require your Google ID and password to trigger a full wipe of the system. That means a stolen or lost Android Lollipop device is a useless brick to anyone but you.
Google is also confirming that Smart Lock will come to stock Android. This was discussed at I/O 2014, but didn’t show up in the preview. Smart Lock is a way to automatically disable your secure lock screen when a trusted Bluetooth device is paired. For example, you could set your Android Wear watch to automatically bypass the lock screen when it’s connected. Lose that connection and the phone will ask for a password again. You can do the same thing with a fitness tracker or even a Bluetooth headset.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Starbucks' shake-to-pay and tips now work on Android too

Starbucks Life!.
Love Starbucks but hate feeling left out of the shake-to-pay fun because the device in your pocket is running Android instead of iOS? Those days are over, my caffeine-craving friend. An updated version of the titular app has hit Google Play and it's packing the aforementioned payment option as well as digital tipping. The coffee juggernaut's rewards system is now on the payment screen too -- all in time for the Seattle outfit's declaration that autumn is officially here.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Samsung Galaxy S5 test proves phones strength

The Samsung Galaxy S5 may be dust and waterproof, but let’s face it. Most of the damage our smartphones recieve is more from knocks and scratches.
So what better way to test out how hardy the Samsung Galaxy S5 actually is than to take a hammer and a knife to it. Okay, so may it’s a bit over the top, but as you can see in the video below, it does actually hold up surprisingly well.
Much to the tester’s surprise, they accidently puncture the battery during the test. So if you’ve ever wondered why batteries come with that warning about not puncturing them, now you know why.
Obviously we don’t recommend you take a hammer or a knife to the phone. But if you do think you might need something a little more rugged than the phone itself, then check out our Samsung Galaxy S5 cases round-up.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Cut the Rope 2 finally arrives on Android

Mobile gaming fans will be happy to hear that Cut the Rope 2 has finally arrived on Android.
Cut the Rope is a game where players need to feed Om Nom by cutting ropes and relying on physics to drop food. 
The Android version features 120 levels, new in-game power-ups, an extra "fruit" mission for every level, a new interactive map, and more.
"Our Android fans have been eagerly awaiting Cut the Rope 2 since the iOS game first became available in December," said Misha Lyalin, CEO of ZeptoLab in a release.
"We have been working hard to bring new content and challenges to this free version, while maintaining the all of the fun and simplicity that made Cut the Rope 2 great as a paid game."
Cut the Rope 2 was released for iOS devices in December costing $0.99 on the App Store. The Android version is likely to include in-app purchases considering its going for free.
Apart from announcing the Android version, developer ZeptoLab revealed its Cut the Rope games have reached roughly 500 million downloads. 
The popular puzzle game is also set to launch on the Amazon Appstore on March 30.
Cut the Rope 2 is available to download for free on Android at the Google Play Store. 

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Google I/O 2014 tickets sold through lottery

Google Nexus 5 review
Google, like any other tech company, wants to shake this up a little. So, the search giant is now doing a random lottery system this year to see who gets to go to its annual development conference.
Over the last two years the pattern of sale of tickets for its I/O developer conference has been more or less constant. Back in 2012, all tickets were sold out in under 30 minutes. Last year they sold out in under 50 minutes.
It is rumoured this year that the new successor to Android KitKat will be revealed at the I/O 2014 conference and the company could reveal more information about the new Android Wear OS.
The Google Nexus 8 might also be revealed at the event, although we have to say it's unlikely given the focus on software at I/O.
Likewise, the Nexus 5's successor is not expected until the second half of the year, according to Google's Sundar Pichai.
Interested in attending? The requirements involved are only that you have a Google+ account and a card that won't reject the $900 registration fee. Of course, there's also the plane ticket to San Francisco.


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