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March 23 2017

02:16
Google communicates some Allo and Duo updates in Brazilian remarks
01:29
Your late night Galaxy S8 leak is golden this time
01:28

You can thank Sony for some of the wireless audio improvements in Android O

The first developer preview of Android O has a number of improvements when it comes to audio. However, Google didn’t come up with all of these new features on its own. The company has confirmed it got some help from its hardware partners. In fact one of them, Sony Mobile, helped Google to improve the wireless audio support for Android O.

See also:

Bluetooth audio just got a lot better with Android O

1 day ago

A Google spokesperson told The Verge that Sony Mobile has “contributed more than 30 feature enhancements and 250 bug fixes” for Android O. Those improvements include adding the LDAC codec to Android O’s Bluetooth support. As we reported earlier this week, this codec will allow Android O to transfer up to 990 kbps of data, which should allow for a much better audio experience on Bluetooth-based wireless headphones.

The catch to these updates is that other smartphone makers, as well as Bluetooth-based headphone companies, will still have to pay a licensing fee to Sony Mobile in order to let their devices use the more advanced LDAC codec in Android O. It remains to be seen if they will take that plunge. We have also discovered that Android O will support Qualcomm’s aptX and aptX-HD protocols for wireless audio, with the latter capable of offering 24-bit music quality for Bluetooth users.

00:29

The next version of Chrome will add support for fullscreen Progressive Web Apps

Android users will soon get a new version of Google’s Chrome web browser. Chrome 58, which is currently available in Google’s beta channel, will of course have a number of improvements and one of them should offer a better way to view Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) in the browser.

See also:

Best Android browsers

January 3, 2017

As detailed on the company’s Chromium blog, the current stable version of Chrome launches PWAs, but they still show the typical system bars when they run inside the browser. This could be annoying when these kinds of apps are running videos or are game-based apps, where you would like to ditch those bars. Chrome 58 will let PWAs get rid of those system bars, due to giving app developers the ability to add the “display: fullscreen” option in their web app manifest.

In addition to adding fullscreen PWAs, Google says Chrome 58 will be able to fully support the IndexedDB 2.0 standard, which it says should make it easier for users to work with large data sets in the browser. Also, developers will be able to use the new iframe sandbox keyword “allow-top-navigation-by-user-activation”. This will be handy for web developers who want to put in third-party content, such as ads, inside sandboxed iframes. Chrome 58 should be released in the stable channel sometime in late April or early May, but if you want you can download the beta version right now in the Google Play Store.

Get it at Google Play

March 22 2017

23:29

OnePlus 2 gets a new OxygenOS update, but it still lacks Nougat

OnePlus 2 owners have been waiting patiently for the promised Android 7.0 Nougat update. Today, OnePlus did release an OxygenOS update for that phone, but unfortunately, it doesn’t bring Nougat to the device just yet.

See also:

OnePlus 3 vs OnePlus 2 quick look

June 14, 2016

Today’s OTA update brings the version number of OxygenOS up to 3.5.8. The update does include the latest March 2017 Android security patch, and it fixes a few bugs, including issues with echos during video calls with the Google Duo app. The update is also supposed to fix some persistent network drop issues that have been reported, along with some data roaming issues in certain countries. Finally, the OxygenOS 3.5.8 update for the OnePlus 2 includes some unnamed audio compatibility improvements, along with some general bug fixes.

As with all of the OS updates that come from OnePlus, this latest one for the OnePlus 2 has just started to roll out to a select few device owners, but will become available to more owners over the next several days. Of course, we will post any news from OnePlus about its plans to release Nougat for the OnePlus 2. It’s likely that the company will offer some kind of beta release for the phone before it launches the official OTA Nougat update.

22:55

How Assistant differs on Android, Android Wear, Google Home and Allo

You can now access Google Assistant from many different places. But where and how you access Assistant will determine what you can do with it.
22:34

New features in Android O video

Curious to see what's new in Android O? Here are five features from the latest developer preview of Android.
22:29

Everything new in Android O: features and changes

Like last year, Google dropped the first preview build for the upcoming Android version a couple of months ahead of Google I/O. This year, the first Android O developer preview arrived on March 21 (12 days later than last year) for the Google Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel C, Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X and Nexus Player. We got busy and have brought together all the changes, features and things you should know about Android O.

Android O release schedule

The Android O release will ultimately become Android 8.0 <insert O dessert name here>. Google has already shared a timeline for the rollout of each preview build with the second developer preview due out in mid-May, likely during Google I/O, the third in mid-June and the fourth in mid-July. The public version of Android 8.0 will be out for supported Pixel, Nexus and Android One devices sometime in Q3, most likely in late August or early September.

TL;DR

Most of the major visual changes in Android O are relegated to the redesigned settings menu, but there are a few minor tweaks elsewhere in the UI like in the notification shade. Material Design is still the order of the day because Android O focuses on important background changes like notification channels to providing even greater control over the Android system.

Some long-awaited features like picture-in-picture mode and unread notification app badges have finally landed while some entirely new features like better Bluetooth audio support and adaptive icons are a welcome addition. It’s early days yet, but Android O is looking feature-packed already.

Notifications shade

When you swipe down the notifications shade you’ll see the first visual changes in Android O. The strip of six toggles at the top of the notifications shade now takes up a little more space on-screen and there’s a little re-ordering of the toggles in Android O since Nougat. A new condensed font for the date and time means that information takes up less space, which is fortunate because there are now more status bar icons visible.

A new condensed font for the date and time means that information takes up less space, which is fortunate because there are now more status bar icons visible.

Besides the shortcut to the settings menu and the Quick Settings carat (downward-facing arrow), you’ve now also got Wi-Fi and cellular connection icons as well as the battery icon and remaining percentage (which is shown next to the battery icon).

As for the notifications themselves, they look just the same as in Nougat, complete with bundled notifications and quick reply. If you have multiple notifications, you’ll notice that as you drag the notifications shade down, a tiny icon for each notification appears in a horizontal line at the bottom of the shade. As you drag the shade down, each icon pops up and expands into a full notification as more screen space becomes available.

Notification handling

As for notification handling, there’s some familiar stuff going on as well as some new options. If you long press on a notification you’ll see a toggle for Notifications, allowing you to disable all future notifications from that app (when notification channels are fully introduced you’ll also have access to them here, but more on that below).

However, if you swipe a notification to the side a little, you’ll get two icons: one for accessing the Notifications toggle and a clock icon for snoozing the notification. If you tap the clock you’ll automatically snooze for 15 minutes but you can open the drop-down menu to snooze for 30 or 60 minutes instead or to disable snooze.

Quick Settings

When you open up the Quick Settings screen, you’ll see we still have different color schemes for the Pixels compared to Nexus devices. Nexuses get that same dark blue-gray background with aqua accents while the Pixels maintain the near-black and bright blue accent scheme.

Looking at the Quick Settings themselves, Google has changed things up yet again. In Android O, the Quick Settings with a line underneath (Wi-Fi, cellular, Bluetooth, Do Not Disturb) have a double function. You can tap the icon to toggle the setting on and off, but if you tap the word underneath the toggle, you’ll open up the mini settings menu instead.

The non-underlined toggles just enable a feature like the flashlight or cycle through modes like for data saver no matter where you tap them. Just like in Nougat, you can tap the pen icon to edit the order of the Quick Settings or add another page and you’ve got the same shortcut to add a guest or switch between user accounts.

Android O finally adds native support for app badges.

App badges

Android O finally adds native support for app badges. They’re the little number bubble that shows up on an app icon to show you your unread notification count and are yet another custom launcher feature being absorbed into stock Android. Of course, you’ll have complete control over these at the flick of a toggle in the individual app notification settings.

Settings menu

The Settings menu is where most of the visual changes look to be taking place in the Android O release.

The Settings menu is where most of the visual changes look to be taking place in the Android O release. For starters there’s a new color scheme: both the Pixels and Nexus devices get a black and white approach but you’ll still see their individual blue tones used for accents here and there.

The Settings menu itself has received a bit of a reshuffle as well. I won’t bore with you with what section moved into which other section, so take a look at the screenshots below to see for yourself. The slide-out navigation drawer and hamburger menu icon have both been removed in this developer preview.

The major change in Android O is that the Settings menu is much shorter than it was in Nougat, with no more umbrella categories like “wireless and networks,” “device,” “personal” and “system”. Instead, Android O has more descriptive sections that cover more ground, like “networks and internet,” “connected devices,” “apps and notifications” and “security and screen lock”.

Generally speaking, everything is in the same place, but a few changes are noticeable. For starters, in the Display settings, Pixel devices have an option for “device theme” with two choices: Inverted or Pixel. From what we can see right now all this does is change the Quick Settings area from light to dark but it may evolve into the long-awaited system-wide dark theme in later developer previews.

Pixel devices have an option for “device theme” that may evolve into a system-wide dark theme in Android 8.0.

The Pixels also show Night Light in the Display settings while the Nexus does not. As you may remember, night mode made a brief appearance on Nexus devices in the Android N preview builds, but was later removed for failing to meet Google’s performance standards. Dark mode, meanwhile, originally appeared in both the Android M and Android N previews, but has still not made it to prime time on any device.

Most sub-sections in the Settings menu have also been overhauled visually. The battery and storage sections are all-new and the app info pages have a new look too. A whole bunch of stuff has now moved into the System sub-section, including languages and input, date and time, updates, about phone and backup and rest options.

Everything you know from Nougat is here, but you'll have to go digging to find it.

Pretty much everything you know from Nougat still exists in Android O, but you’ll have to go digging to find where it now lives. On the plus side, I have to congratulate Google for finally seeming to get things into places and groupings that make sense, without breaking everything down into an interminable list.

#gallery-1 { margin: auto; } #gallery-1 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 16%; } #gallery-1 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-1 .gallery-caption { margin-left: 0; } /* see gallery_shortcode() in wp-includes/media.php */ ]]>

System UI Tuner

As with Nougat, you can enable the System UI Tuner to tweak certain things in Android O according to your personal preferences. To enable the UI Tuner, swipe down the notifications shade or Quick Settings and long-press the Settings gear icon. You’ll see it spin and feel a vibration when the option has been added to the Settings menu.

Status bar

In Android O, System UI Tuner now lives under Settings > System. It contains four areas (for now): status bar, do not disturb, navigation bar and lock screen. Status bar still provides a list of toggles for enabling or disabling which icons you see in the status bar, so you can remove persistent Bluetooth or hotspot icons if you so wish.

The option to display the battery percentage inside the battery icon, which was a System UI Tuner option in Nougat, is no longer available though. Enabling “Always show percentage” in Android O will keep the battery percentage visible at all times in the status bar, but it’ll be placed next to the battery icon, just like in the Quick Settings view.

Do not disturb

Do not disturb simply shows two toggles: one for enabling a do not disturb mode toggle under the volume slider and another for adding a volume button shortcut so do not disturb turns on when you press the volume down button once more after vibration only.

Navigation bar

Next up is the navigation bar, which adds a bunch of cool options in Android O. There’s a layout option that lets you choose between normal, compact, left-leaning or right-leaning (which will come in handy on large-screened devices).

You can also add additional buttons on the left and right of the traditional on-screen navigation buttons. You can choose from clipboard, keycode or keyboard switcher. Clipboard lets you save something to the clipboard and then simply drag it from the button in the nav bar anywhere you want to drop it: a very handy trick for emails, phone numbers and other frequently copy pasted items. Keycode lets you assign a numeric keycode and the keyboard switcher doesn’t appear to work yet.

You can add additional buttons on the left and right of the traditional on-screen navigation buttons in Android O.

Lock screen

The lock screen in Android O looks the same as in Nougat but you have options buried in the System UI Tuner for mixing things up. Rather than the shortcuts in the bottom left and right corners for voice assist and the camera, you can change these to whatever you like. The list of options is absolutely huge, making us think it’s a definite Android 8.0 feature.

While we’re talking about the lock screen, Ambient Display has also been revised. While this is more than likely just a developer preview issue, most of the time Ambient Display will only display the clock and some tiny app icons for any notifications awaiting you. With some app notifications, however, like Hangouts for example, you’ll see more information displayed, but only when the notification first comes in.

Random changes, additions and omissions:

  • The Easter Egg is the same cat catching game from Android Nougat
  • The Downloads app is gone, replaced by a new Files app
  • The Memory section has now been relegated to Developer Options
  • If you’re enrolled in the beta program you’ll constantly see an update notification to roll back to Nougat

Like Android TV, Android O will deliver full support for picture-in-picture mode.

Picture-in-picture support

Like Android TV, Android O will deliver full support for picture-in-picture mode. You’ll already be familiar with this in the YouTube app, but when it is implemented across the board, app developers will be able to have their video apps continue playing in a small floating window while you navigate to other areas of the app or to completely different apps entirely. Android O will have support for custom controls like pause and play and developers will be able to set preferred aspect ratios.

Audio

Sony donated their LDAC codec to Google for inclusion in Android O. That means if you have LDAC-equipped Bluetooth headphones you’ll get much better quality in Android 8.0. But the fun isn’t just restricted to LDAC, Android O also has support for aptX and aptX HD as well as SBC and AAC. There are also settings for audio sample rates and bits per sample too, plus Android O adds a native AAudio API for apps that require high fidelity, low latency audio.

Notification channels

These aren’t yet widespread in Android O, but notification channels are a way for apps to split their notifications into various themes that you can choose to let through or block individually. So instead of picking between receiving dozens of notifications from Twitter every day or none at all, notification channels will allow you to let through the direct reply channel, for example, but block likes and retweets. You’ll be able to manage these on the fly by long-pressing an app notification in the notifications shade or through the individual apps and notifications section in the settings menu.

Notification channels are a way for apps to split their notifications into various themes that you can choose to let through or block individually.

Unknown sources

Adding apps from anywhere outside Google Play typically just required you to hit your security settings and enable Unknown Sources. But in Android O things get taken up a notch. You’ll now also have to grant permission to the app you’re using to download the APK.

For example, if you want to download an APK via Chrome, you’ll first be prompted to give Chrome permission to install other apps via the “trust apps from this source” toggle in the special access section of the apps and notifications setting. You only need to do this once per app however and you can always revoke permission at a later date.

Background process limits

Android O will severely limit background processes to intermittent windows of activity.

Google has been optimizing Android more and more lately to limit the amount of battery drain and resource use that apps are allowed to do in the background. As we’ve seen a lot lately, advanced users will have control over exceptions to these rules, but by and large, Android O will severely limit background processes to intermittent windows of activity controlled by the job scheduler.

Adaptive icons

Adaptive icons are a fancy way of saying that Google is making an attempt to tidy up the hot mess of inconsistent app icons in Android. They basically provide app developers with multiple shape templates for each icon that adapt to the device they appear on. So if the default app icon shape for your phone is a rounded square then that’s what you’ll see across the board. Rock a Pixel with circular icons and you’ll no longer see weird square icons mixed in with all the round ones.

<![CDATA[ #gallery-2 { margin: auto; } #gallery-2 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 50%; } #gallery-2 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-2 .gallery-caption { margin-left: 0; } /* see gallery_shortcode() in wp-includes/media.php */ </style><div id="gallery-2" class="gallery galleryid-758783 gallery-columns-2 gallery-size-full"> <dl class="gallery-item"> <dt class="gallery-icon landscape"> <a href="http://cdn02.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/NB_Icon_Mask_Shapes_Ext_01.gif" rel="lightbox[758783]"><img width="320" height="320" src="http://cdn02.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/NB_Icon_Mask_Shapes_Ext_01.gif" class="attachment-full size-full" alt="" /></a> </dt> </dl> <dl class="gallery-item"> <dt class="gallery-icon landscape"> <a href="http://cdn02.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/NB_Icon_Mask_Shapes_Ext_02.gif" rel="lightbox[758783]"><img width="320" height="320" src="http://cdn02.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/NB_Icon_Mask_Shapes_Ext_02.gif" class="attachment-full size-full" alt="" /></a> </dt> </dl> <br style="clear: both" /> </div> <h2>Physical keyboard support</h2> <p>Hardware keyboards are going to be becoming a bigger and bigger thing in Android as Chromebooks now have access to all Google Play apps and the mysterious Andromeda platform continues to lurk in the shadows. While we weren’t able to test out Android O’s hardware keyboard navigation support in any meaningful way, rest assured that Google is attempting to introduce more predictable standards for what the tab and arrow keys do when a physical keyboard is used to navigate Android.</p> <div class="clear"></div><blockquote class="quote_new" style="color: #8cc434; border-color: #8cc434;"> <p>We need hardware keyboard support now that Chromebooks have access to Google Play apps.</p> </blockquote><div class="clear"></div> <h2>Autofill API</h2> <p>The Autofill APIs introduced with Android O simply try to help apps manage passwords and form data better than in previous versions of Android. As Google notes in its blog post, “Users can select an autofill app, similar to the way they select a keyboard app. The autofill app stores and secures user data, such as addresses, user names, and even passwords”. We’ll have to wait a little while until app developers make full use of the Auofill APIs in Android O, but we should see much more capable password managers in future.</p> <h2>Wider color gamut for apps</h2> <blockquote class="right quote_new" style="color: #8cc434; border-color: #8cc434;"> <p>Android developers can now take advantage of devices that have a wide-gamut color capable display.</p> </blockquote> <p>Android O adds support for “wide-gamut color for apps” which sounds a lot like native HDR support but which is actually just a larger palette of supported colors for app developers.</p> <p>As Google notes in the blog post, “Android developers of imaging apps can now take advantage of new devices that have a wide-gamut color capable display. To display wide gamut images, apps will need to enable a flag in their manifest (per activity) and load bitmaps with an embedded wide color profile (AdobeRGB, Pro Photo RGB, DCI-P3, etc.)”.</p> <p> <img class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-758813" src="http://cdn02.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Android-O-easter-egg-840x473.jpeg" alt="" width="840" height="473" srcset="http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Android-O-easter-egg-840x472.jpeg 840w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Android-O-easter-egg-300x170.jpeg 300w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Android-O-easter-egg-768x432.jpeg 768w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Android-O-easter-egg-16x9.jpeg 16w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Android-O-easter-egg-32x18.jpeg 32w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Android-O-easter-egg-28x16.jpeg 28w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Android-O-easter-egg-56x32.jpeg 56w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Android-O-easter-egg-64x36.jpeg 64w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Android-O-easter-egg-712x400.jpeg 712w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Android-O-easter-egg-1000x563.jpeg 1000w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Android-O-easter-egg-792x446.jpeg 792w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Android-O-easter-egg-770x433.jpeg 770w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Android-O-easter-egg-355x200.jpeg 355w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Android-O-easter-egg.jpeg 1080w" sizes="(max-width: 840px) 100vw, 840px" /> </p> <h2>Other stuff</h2> <p>There’s plenty of other stuff worth noting too, but a lot of which we can’t see in effect yet. Android O adds font support so app developers can define font style and weight. This could either be a great development or a clusterfont if you’ll pardon my language.</p> <p>Wi-Fi Awareness allows your Android O device or app to communicate with other devices and apps in the vicinity over Wi-Fi without requiring an actual internet connection. There are also some major optimizations to the Android Run-Time (ART) responsible for handling your apps and WebView has also seen some enhancements you’re unlikely to ever even notice.</p> <ul><li><a href="http://www.androidauthority.com/download-android-o-developer-preview-758322/">Download Android O developer preview 1</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.androidauthority.com/install-android-o-758342/">How to install Android O on Pixel and Nexus phones</a></li> </ul><h2>Is it daily driver worthy?</h2> <p>The first question on everyone’s lips is whether or not the first Android O developer preview is daily driver worthy. In my experience over the last day I haven’t experienced any problems, but I’ve been cloistered at home connected to Wi-Fi. I haven’t had cause to try out cellular data, call quality, audio quality, roaming, push notification reliability, battery usage or anything else yet. But I can say i haven’t seen any crashes, stutters, freezes or other concerning behavior.</p> <p>If you have a spare phone that has a factory image out for Android O, then absolutely, flash it and have a poke around for yourself. But I wouldn’t advise flashing this on your primary device for all the reasons just mentioned: this is a long, long way from a stable public release and so things will be broken. Just because I haven’t encountered them yet does not mean this is a good bet for the phone you keep by your side all day.</p> <p> <img class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-758872" src="http://cdn02.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Android-O-apps-storage-settings-840x473.jpeg" alt="" width="840" height="473" srcset="http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Android-O-apps-storage-settings-840x472.jpeg 840w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Android-O-apps-storage-settings-300x170.jpeg 300w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Android-O-apps-storage-settings-768x432.jpeg 768w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Android-O-apps-storage-settings-16x9.jpeg 16w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Android-O-apps-storage-settings-32x18.jpeg 32w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Android-O-apps-storage-settings-28x16.jpeg 28w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Android-O-apps-storage-settings-56x32.jpeg 56w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Android-O-apps-storage-settings-64x36.jpeg 64w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Android-O-apps-storage-settings-712x400.jpeg 712w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Android-O-apps-storage-settings-1000x563.jpeg 1000w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Android-O-apps-storage-settings-792x446.jpeg 792w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Android-O-apps-storage-settings-770x433.jpeg 770w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Android-O-apps-storage-settings-355x200.jpeg 355w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Android-O-apps-storage-settings.jpeg 1080w" sizes="(max-width: 840px) 100vw, 840px" /> </p> <h2>Conclusion</h2> <p>From what we can see so far Android O is shaping up to follow very much in Nougat’s footsteps, completing some of the work started in Nougat and further strengthening the granular nature of control in Android. User-facing notification and permission management are better than ever before and Android itself is taking an even more aggressive stance to apps that treat precious system resources with reckless abandon.</p> <div class="clear"></div><blockquote class="quote_new" style="color: #8cc434; border-color: #8cc434;"> <p>Android O completes some of the work started in Nougat and further strengthens the granular nature of control in Android.</p> </blockquote><div class="clear"></div> <p>Other than apparently having an entire team whose job it is to constantly come up with new ways to group things in the Settings menu, there are very little superficial changes here. Ushering in the next phase of Android peripherals is clearly a focus too, with better support for Bluetooth audio and hardware keyboards. But Android O is also catching up on a lot we’ve been waiting for, from adaptive icons, to the Autofill APIs, picture-in-picture mode, app badges and nav bar tweaks.</p> <p>The first developer preview is typically the one that is most feature-rich, with only a few notable additions in subsequent previews but a lot more subtractions as Google gets a grip on what’s possible in the time remaining and where to prioritize its efforts. I’m hoping the system-wide dark theme makes the cut this time around, but as you can probably see, the vast majority of the changes Android O has in store are of the background variety.</p> <p>Have you flashed Android O? What are your early thoughts?</p>]]>
22:25
‘Super Mario Run’ goes live on Google Play for Android devices
22:19

Casio announces the limited edition Pro Trek Smart WSD-F20S Android Wear watch

Baselworld, arguably the biggest watch and jewelry show of the year, is officially kicking off in Basel Switzerland tomorrow, and a number of companies have already announced what they’re planning to show off at the event. Casio is just one of the companies making an appearance, and has disclosed the release of a new limited edition smartwatch based off its Pro Trek Smart WSD-F20, called the Pro Trek Smart WSD-F20S.

See also:

Fashion brand Guess is launching a Snapdragon-powered Android Wear 2.0 smartwatch

2 days ago

There aren’t a whole lot of differences present here. Most of the specifications are essentially the same as that of the WAD-F20, sporting a 1.32-inch dual layer LCD 320 x 300 display, built-in GPS for hiking and traveling adventures, and a display that turns to monochrome when battery need to be saved. The biggest changes being included in the WSD-F20S are the unique blue and black color scheme as well as more resilient sapphire crystal and ion plating present throughout the hardware. This gives the watch a bit more of a subtle and classy look compared to the bright orange present on the original model, so you might want to pick this one up if you’re looking for something you can wear to social events.

Android Wear 2.0 is also shipping standard on this watch, so you can be sure you’ll have the latest and greatest features Google has to offer on the hardware. Because of this, you’ll be able to use standalone apps and features local to the watch itself, including the new fitness tracking technology Wear 2.0 can handle.

The new watch is limited edition, and there will only be 500 units made when all is said and done. The company has not disclosed just how much it will be charging for the new hardware, but you can better believe there will be a decent premium present on top of the already pricey WSD-F20 releasing later next month.

Does the watch have features you just have to have? Are you jumping on the limited edition variant? Let us know.

22:07

Stupid, dangerous and viral: Saying '108' to Siri

Law enforcement agencies around the world are asking people to stop giving Apple's digital assistant the three-digit code for emergency services in India.
22:02

Huawei Watch 2 review

See it at Huawei

The original Huawei Watch is one of the most popular Android Wear devices to date, and for good reason. While it may be a tad on the chunky side, users flocked to the Huawei Watch because of its classy design and solid performance.

But things have changed quite a bit in the Android Wear landscape. We now have the LG Watch Sport and Style, which feature rotating dials for easy navigation, water resistant designs, and, most notably, Android Wear 2.0. So in a world where Google and LG are teaming up to create new smartwatches to showcase the updated operating system, where should your hard-earned money go? And does Huawei have what it takes to clear the bar it set for itself with the original Huawei Watch? Find out, in our full Huawei Watch 2 review!

Design

For anyone that was hoping for a followup to the original Huawei Watch, this might be a jarring change. Gone is the gold and silver on the watch’s body, and in is the sporty plastic build. That’s not to say it’s a bad looking watch, but our first few days with the Watch 2 left us wanting for the previous generation that wasn’t so sport-oriented.

See also:

Huawei Watch review

October 10, 2015

The large bezel has minute designations that shine nicely under lighting, but also make me feel obligated to use analog watch faces. That is admittedly a little nitpicky, but those markings end up being little more than cosmetic additions to the body.

The side of the device houses two buttons – the upper button opens the app drawer or Google Assistant, while the bottom button can be customized but starts workouts by default. Altogether, the watch body is pretty reminiscent of sporty Timex watches, and the look has grown on me gradually throughout the time that I have used it.

The only part of the body that I really don’t like is the lack of an extra method of navigation. The screen is of good quality and there is little to dislike about it, but relying on taps and swipes to get everywhere is so Android Wear 1.0. The LG Watch Sport and Style both have rotating side buttons for navigation, and I really do wish that was present on the Watch 2.

The Watch 2's strap feels too cheap and rubbery

For all that the watch body has done to slowly look better day by day, it’s the watch strap that I just can’t stand. It is the one part of the Huawei Watch 2 that feels cheaper than the price leads on. Granted, the watch strap can be swapped out with any other standard 18mm band, but finding ones that fit with the body could prove a little tough. That’s a challenge I may end up taking because the included band is simply too rubbery and flimsy to do the price point justice.

Those not a fan of this design will certainly appreciate the availability of the Classic edition that takes on a less sporty construction overall and brings a metallic body. However, the intrinsic problems of the lifeless cosmetic bezel and the lack of extra navigation method still stand.

See also: LG Watch Sport and Style review

Display

As previously mentioned, the 1.2-inch AMOLED screen with 390 x 390 resolution is a good quality display and there is very little wrong with it. In fact, having an AMOLED screen (as opposed to LCD) seems to help a great deal with battery life, which we will cover in a bit. Swiping and tapping across all the newer elements of Android Wear 2.0 is a breeze – as it should be – but after having features like the Samsung Gear S3’s rotating bezel and the rotating crown of the more recent LG Watch Sport may have spoiled me enough to view this as a detractor.

See also:

Samsung Gear S3 review

December 7, 2016

Always-on screen options are available, and the included watch faces leverage it quite well. I actually like to turn off the wake gesture so that the watch face doesn’t change to its full version until I hit the button. Not only does this save a little bit of that precious battery life, but it also keeps the watch looking uniform until I need it to do more than tell time.

Performance and hardware

Android Pay on the Watch 2 works great

Underneath that surface, the already tried and true Snapdragon Wear 2100 powers the Huawei Watch 2, backed by 768 MB of RAM. 4 GB of storage is available for loading up music and all of the different sensors for various applications are present, including NFC, GPS, Bluetooth, and a heart rate monitor.

The inclusion of NFC helps bring Android Pay into the mix, which works as well as ever. All you have to do is select the card and hold it up to the terminal until you feel the vibration, and you’re good to go. A SIM card can also be installed for mobile network connectivity, and the Huawei Watch 2 can be used for calls when connected.

See also:

Android Pay – What is it, how does it work and who supports it?

March 9, 2016

Battery life, I’m happy to say, is a big highlight for the Huawei Watch 2. First off, a sort of hybrid mode included in the watch allows for an ultra low power mode where the device is little more than, well, a watch. This is a mode that can automatically activate when the watch is at very low battery, at which point you will still be able to tell the time for a very extended period of time. This sure beats having a weird glorified wristband on.

As for general longevity, the watch got to two days consistently, which is something most Android Wear watches aren’t able to boast. I’m not a big fan of the magnetic charging clasp, though. Charging up the watch doesn’t take too long, thankfully, so certain tasks like sleep tracking are more possible with the Huawei Watch 2 than it has been with some recent wearables.

The Watch 2 was constantly able to achieve two full days of battery life

Software

Which brings us to the software, and Android Wear 2.0. Much of what we didn’t like in the previous Wear interface has been changed for the better, and that starts with notifications. No longer shown as cards, every notification is shown as their own screen that can be expanded with taps and scrolled through with every actionable option.

The app drawer is now more easily accessed and is easier on the eyes, with apps taking on new life as standalone local installations on the watch itself. Android Wear 2.0 is less dependent on the paired smartphone as a result.

The fitness capabilities of the Huawei Watch 2 are quite robust, especially for distance-based active users. GPS tracking will show runners and hikers exactly where they’ve been and how far they’ve come. Meanwhile, the heart rate sensor will monitor one’s cardio throughout, providing a little more insight into how much the user has done.

Related:  The best fitness trackers

Specifications

 Huawei Watch 2Huawei Watch 2 Classic Display1.2-inch AMOLED
390 x 390 resolution
326ppi1.2-inch AMOLED
390 x 390 resolution
326ppi ProcessorSnapdragon Wear 2100Snapdragon Wear 2100 RAM768MB768MB Storage4GB (2.3GB available)4GB (2.3GB available) LTE connectivityYesNo Battery lifeUp to 2 days of normal use
420mAhUp to 3 days of normal use
420mAh GPSYes, GPS + GlonassYes, GPS + Glonass NFCYesYes ConnectivityBluetooth 4.1 BLE+BR/EDR
Wi-Fi 2.4GHz 802.11 b/g/n Cellular: GSM/WCDMA/TDS/CDMA2000/TDD-LTE/FDD-LTE (only for 4G version)Bluetooth 4.1 BLE+BR/EDR
Wi-Fi 2.4GHz 802.11 b/g/n SensorsAccelerometer, gyroscope, barometer, heart rate sensor (PPG), CAP capacitance sensor, ALS/ambient light sensor, geomagnetic sensorAccelerometer, gyroscope, barometer, heart rate sensor (PPG), CAP capacitance sensor, ALS/ambient light sensor, geomagnetic sensor Water resistanceIP68IP68 SoftwareAndroid Wear 2.0Android Wear 2.0 Interchangeable strapsYesYes Size48.9 x 45 x 12.6mm48.9 x 45 x 12.6mm Lug width20mm22mm Weight (without band)Watch 2 (Bluetooth): about 40g
Watch 2 (LTE): about 42gAbout 47g ColorsDynamic Orange, Carbon Black, Concrete GreyTitanium Grey <!-- #tablepress-751 from cache -->

Gallery

Pricing and final thoughts

Overall, the Huawei Watch 2 is another good showcase of the capabilities of Android Wear 2.0. However, that comes with its own innate pitfalls.

Wear 2.0 has a focus on high features, most of which have a focus on fitness. Unfortunately, Huawei managed to simultaneously move too far in this direction and also fall short of it. Without an extra method of navigation input, Huawei automatically positions itself behind any other Wear 2.0 devices that take advantage of this capability. With its great battery life and stellar feature set otherwise though, the only real detractor from the overall Huawei Watch 2 experience is its design.

Why not have a watch with all of these capabilities that makes more sense worn outside of the gym or off the hiking trail? If the LG Watch Sport and Huawei’s follow up attempt are any indication, we may not get a positive answer to that question just yet.

For a starting price of $349, the trade-offs make the money a little harder to part with. There is a lot to like about the Huawei Watch 2, but there is also enough to make even excited users take pause. Unlike its predecessor, conforming to a specific general purpose for smartwatches takes away from what could have been a wonderful, proper Wear 2.0 follow up.

See it at Huawei

What are your thoughts on the Huawei Watch 2? Are you thinking of buying one? We’d love to hear what you think in the comments below!

21:31

Super Mario Run is now live on Google Play

It’s a full day before Super Mario Run was originally supposed to finally make its Google Play debut, over three months after it launched for iOS. For some reason, Nintendo has decided to open the floodgates early, so head on over to the Google Play Store to download it now.

The title has received very good reviews on iOS, though many players were a bit upset over the $10 price tag Nintendo is demanding for the full game. Whatever your thoughts, we think it’s great the company is finally launching some first-party content on mobile, acknowledging the absolutely massive reach smartphones have on the gaming industry.

Have you tried the game before? If so, how are you liking it?

Get it on Google Play
21:12

The upcoming Office Space game for Android wants your TPS report and your stapler

In 1999, a low-budget workplace comedy hit movie theaters. Office Space, written and directed by Beavis and Butthead creator Mike Judge, pretty much came and went in theaters, and was considered a box office flop. However, the movie about the IT office workers at the fictional tech company Initech became a cult hit after it was released on DVD and on cable TV, and it has since been reevaluated as a true comedy classic.

This week, Fox Interactive and Kongregate announced plans to launch a free-to-play game based on the film in the Google Play Store. Office Space: Idle Profits has been designed to basically follow the plot of the film. Your main goal is to move up the ranks at Initech. You do this by taking money away from the company by installing that infamous computer virus which takes the fractions of rounded-off  pennies into your account.

See also:

Best Android games of 2017

3 weeks ago

The goal is to collect as many pennies as you can and use them to earn new rewards and bonuses so you can move up from the storage room, where Milton is with his stapler, all the way to the CEO job. Along the way, you will unlock the game’s versions of scenes from the movie, which will include destroying a fax machine and having to listen to Lumbergh telling you that you need to come in on Saturday.

While the game will be free-to-play, be aware that will also contain in-app purchases. Otherwise, you might spend some real money on the Office Space game, and you could turn into someone who has a bad case of the Mondays. The game has already soft-launched in some markets, and will get its official release worldwide later this year. You can go to the Google Play Store right now to pre-register for the game.

Pre-register at Google Play
20:48

AT&T pulls ads from YouTube, other Google sites

The US carrier joins British retailers after ads appear next to extremist videos on YouTube.
20:45
Verizon’s packaging for the Samsung Galaxy S8 leaks
20:39

Android O brings custom lock screen shortcuts [Diving into Android O]

Be sure to check out our Diving into Android O series for more coverage!

Despite having a reputation for customizability, vanilla Android has always had a couple corners where the OS is bland and disappointingly devoid of customization options. Unless your device was rooted or running a custom ROM, this included the lock screen, for which the only native options were things like changing the wallpaper and the appearance of notifications.

Fortunately, the rather sudden debut of our first Android O Developer Preview elevates the lock screen to previously unknown levels of personalization and convenience by giving us the long-overdue ability to choose our own lock screen shortcuts.

The magic behind the customizable lock screen shortcuts comes from the System UI Tuner

The magic behind the customizable lock screen shortcuts comes from the System UI Tuner, which was actually introduced in Android Marshmallow. In case you’re unfamiliar, System UI Tuner is a hidden menu that you can unlock much like Developer Options. However, while Developer Options is unlocked by navigating to About Device and tapping on “Build number” eight times, you can unlock System UI Tuner by pulling down the notification panel from any screen, then long-pressing the Settings cog in the top-righthand corner for about five seconds, or until you feel the short haptic pulse. At this point, you’ll see a prompt informing you that the System UI Tuner has been unlocked. It’s found in the same vicinity as Developer Options.

Now that that’s out of the way, we can get down to brass tacks.

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Android O gives you a pretty wide range of different shortcuts to place on your lock screen

In prior versions of stock Android, the standard lock screen shortcuts were typically camera on the right and either phone or voice on the left. However, System UI Tuner in the Android O developer preview gives you a pretty wide range of different shortcuts to place on your lock screen. Depending on the apps you have installed on your device, clicking on “Lock screen” from within the System UI Tuner, followed by choosing either the left or right shortcut, will populate a list of different functions you can apply to your lock screen. For instance, you’ll probably see things like “Selfie”, which would clearly be a shortcut for taking photos on your device’s front-facing camera. Additionally, you’ll see options to allow each shortcut to unlock the device, too.

While this may seem like a relatively small change, there are countless hypothetical situations in which custom lock screen shortcuts can be useful: Maybe you want to have the Snapchat camera at the ready for those unexpected snap-worthy moments. Perhaps you’ve been waiting for a way to make Spotify quickly accessible without having to actually unlock your phone and sift through the app drawer. Or maybe you’ll make a shortcut for adding a new contact, scanning QR codes, or live-streaming to YouTube, FaceBook, or Instagram. The possibilities are virtually endless.

Are you looking forward to choosing your own lock screen shortcuts? Is this a feature you’ve been waiting for? Which of Android O’s other features are getting you the most excited? Sound off in the comments below and don’t miss our other coverage of Android O’s new features.

20:23

VAIO’s new Android phone isn’t all that new after all

Engadget Japan

You probably know VAIO as Sony’s PC division that thrived for a brief period of time in the early 2000s. In fact, Sony sold off VAIO three years ago, and ever since, the brand never fully re-emerged. Well, today, the company has announced a brand-new Android handset called the VAIO Phone A, and it looks just like the Phone Biz that launched last year.

See also:

Toshiba, VAIO, and Fujitsu decide it’s Morphin’ Time, to combine into single PC Megazord

February 16, 2016

Everything about the VAIO Phone A is a meh: from its generic name to its mediocre specs, VAIO’s new Android phone is obviously not supposed to be a flagship game-changer. It has an identical design to the Windows-powered Phone Biz that launched last year. And I mean, I literally cannot tell them apart – from the positioning of buttons to the two metal “covers” on the back. Even underneath, you find the same 5.5-inch HD screen, Snapdragon 617 processor, 3GB of RAM, and 13-megapixel camera. The only difference is that the Phone A seems to be running stock Android Marshmallow and that it will have a dual SIM slot.

Everything about the VAIO Phone A is a meh: from its generic name to its mediocre specs, VAIO’s new Android phone is obviously not supposed to be a flagship game-changer.

The phone is specifically designed for the Japanese market, heading to the Japanese carrier Docomo although there’s no word on how much it’ll cost. The Japanese smartphone market is a curious one indeed: Apple’s iPhone accounts for 47 percent of the total market share, and that’s followed by none other than Sony at a mere 12 percent of the total market share. So whereas in other countries, VAIO would be facing fierce competition from companies like Samsung and LG as well, in its home turf, it looks like its biggest rival is going to be, rather ironically, its former parent, Sony.

What are your thoughts on the VAIO Phone A? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

20:06

Pay less for more juice: get half off the 26,800 mAh Zendure power bank

The AAPicks team writes about things we think you’ll like, and we may see a share of revenue from any purchases made through affiliate links.

Ever want a power bank you could run over with your car?

Well, maybe that’s a weirdly specific desire. But nevertheless, that’s what you’ll get with the Zendure A-8 portable charger.

This robust battery pack is perfect for hikers, power users on the go, or just people who are klutzy in general (Oops! I forgot to charge my phone last night. Oops! I just dropped my backup power bank off a building. Fortunately neither is a problem.)

It’s not a power bank; it’s a power tank.

Because the Zendure A8 rocks a massive 24,800 mAh battery, you can charge your phone 7 to 9 times before it taps out. Recharge it overnight, and it’s ready at a moment’s notice for at least the next half year.

The Zendure A8 retains 95% of its charge even after six months without use.

The charge ports are naturally QC 3.0, so you won’t be waiting around forever for your device to juice up either.

Normally the Zendure A8 goes for $126.95. However, Tech Deals is having a sale for the next few days (or as long as supplies last) that chops 48 percent off the retail price, meaning you grab this baby for $64.95. Check it out over here!

Is this deal not quite right for you? Head over to the AAPICKS HUB for more savings you’re going to love! For notifications of offers and price drops, sign up for our Deal Alerts newsletter.
We may get a small percent from purchases made through our posts. However, the AA Picks team only showcases verified, legitimate deals. It’s a nice way to help keep the lights on around here, and it decreases our reliance on pesky ads. If you have questions or concerns, please reach out at aapicks@androidauthority.com.
20:04

Google says it's stopped a ton of 'dangerous' Android apps

The company says it's gotten better at keeping potentially harmful apps from reaching Android's 1.4 billion users.
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