Wednesday, April 13, 2016

What Else is New in Android N Developer Preview 2?

Every time Google announces a new developer preview or major update to Android, like they did today with the Android N Developer Preview 2, they include additional changes that don’t make it into their blog posts or changelogs. We are talking about things like the subtle changes to the UI, which could be new buttons, a changed icon or two, or an adjustment to something as minuscule as the folder icon.

We haven’t had a ton of time with the Android N Developer Preview 2, but in the short few minutes, these are some of the things we have stumbled onto. Also, as we find more (or you tell us about additional changes), we will be sure to continue to update this post.

Here we go. 

New folder icons! ZOMG. Honestly, I don’t get the excitement, but hey, new folder icons!

android n dp 2 new

What’s a bigger deal to nerds than new folder icons? A “Clear All” button in the app switcher! LOOK. AT. THIS.

android n dp 2 new-2

I didn’t mention this yet, but Google is now showing the build number in the Android Beta Program quick tile. As you can see above, the new Developer Preview 2 tile says “Android Beta Program N (NPC91K)” whereas the original preview just said “Android Beta” or “Android Beta Program.”

Speaking of tiles, a Calculator quick tile or toggle or…app shortcut? I thought Google said that toggles “should not be used as shortcuts to launching an app.” Whatever. Do you, Google.

android n dp2 new

And here are some of the new emoji.

android n dp2 new-2 android n dp2 new-3

But Google actually tweaked more than just those. They also straightened out all of the cartoonish yellow heads, so that none turn to the side anymore and made changes to the old people. The ghost is new as well.

android n dp2 new-4 android n dp2 new-5

Anything else?

What Else is New in Android N Developer Preview 2? is a post from: Droid Life

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Video: HTC 10 First Look!

After yesterday’s barrage of posts, there probably isn’t much you don’t know about the HTC 10, but since picking one up last night and spending the past 24 hours or so with it, it feels like time to talk about some initial thoughts. Or if anything, at least share a recap of specs and design and other basics before we get to the full review. 

Now, normally I would run through some thoughts here, outside of a video, but because I ended up putting together a lengthy 14-minute clip of my general first impressions, I think I’m going the lazy route this time around and pointing you below. I know, I know, not all of you like watching long ass rambling videos from me. So if you don’t feel like watching, stay tuned until tomorrow, where we can share some real thoughts and actual testing.

For now, here is a first look at the HTC 10!

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Video: HTC 10 First Look! is a post from: Droid Life

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Snapchat to Roll Out Moving Emoji Stickers for Your Videos

This week, Snapchat will roll out a dynamic emoji feature that will allow users to place a live emoji on top of objects, people, or animals, giving a cartoonish vibe to your videos. For example, you could place a crying emoji on top of your own face, and the emoji will reshape and move right alongside your own face, as if it were a mask. 

Users will be able to place multiple emoji on different objects, and can also use the standard static emoji for entertainment purposes. Additionally, it is reported that the emoji stickers can even interact with static emoji, providing your creative imagination endless possibilities.

Here’s one example of this flippin’ adorable feature.


The update is rolling out this week to Android users via Google Play, while those on iOS will get it “shortly.”

Play Link

Via: Mashable

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Deal: LG Selling Replacement Batteries and Charging Cradles for $15, Bundles for $20

For a limited time on LG’s website, the company is hosting a promotion on replacement batteries and charging cradles for the LG G3, G4, and V10. With the promo, owners of these devices can pick up replacement batteries for $15, as well as charging cradles for said batteries at the same $15 price. If you bundle a charging cradle and replacement battery for the V10 or G4, LG is only charging $20 for the couple, which isn’t bad at all. 

Whether you only need a replacement battery or a charging cradle, simply add the item to your cart for the promo price to kick in. If you want to bundle a charging cradle and replacement battery, make sure both are added to your cart, at which point the discount will be automatically applied.

From what we can see, domestic shipping is completely free, with delivery times placed between 5-7 days. If you need your batteries quicker, there is an expensive overnight option.

Any G3, G4, or V10 owners in need?

Deal Link


Cheers Thanassi!

Deal: LG Selling Replacement Batteries and Charging Cradles for $15, Bundles for $20 is a post from: Droid Life

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Google Releases Android N Developer Preview 2, Build NPC91K

To make this Wednesday an extra fun Wednesday, Google has gone ahead and released the Android N Developer Preview 2 (DP2) as build NPC91K for the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, Pixel C, and General Mobile 4G (Android One). After pushing out the first Android N Developer Preview a month ago, this new preview contains fixes that you pointed out to Google along with a solid list of new stuff. 

As for what’s new, Google says that they have fully deployed “Vulkan (a new 3D rendering API), Emoji Unicode 9 for more human-like designs, UI shortcuts to help users get to what they need faster, as well as performance improvements .”

Here is the full list, according to Google:

  • Vulkan: Vulkan is a new 3D rendering API which we’ve helped to develop as a member of Khronos, geared at providing explicit, low-overhead GPU (Graphics Processor Unit) control to developers and offers a significant boost in performance for draw-call heavy applications. Vulkan’s reduction of CPU overhead allows some synthetic benchmarks to see as much as 10 times the draw-call throughput on a single core as compared to OpenGL ES. Combined with a threading-friendly API design which allows multiple cores to be used in parallel with high efficiency, this offers a significant boost in performance for draw-call heavy applications. With Android N, we’ve made Vulkan a part of the platform; you can try it out on supported devices running Developer Preview 2.
  • Launcher shortcuts: Now, apps can define shortcuts which users can expose in the launcher to help them perform actions quicker. These shortcuts contain an Intent into specific points within your app (like sending a message to your best friend, navigating home in a mapping app, or playing the next episode of a TV show in a media app).
  • Emoji Unicode 9 support: We are introducing a new emoji design for people emoji that moves away from our generic look in favor of a more human-looking design. If you’re a keyboard or messaging app developer, you should start incorporating these emoji into your apps. The update also introduces support for skin tone variations and Unicode 9 glyphs, like the bacon, selfie and face palm. You can dynamically check for the new emoji characters using Paint.hasGlyph().
  • Multi-Window: You can now specify a separate minimum height and minimum width for an activity. In addition, several API names have been slightly changed.
  • API changes: This update includes API changes as we continue to refine features such as multi-window support (you can now specify a separate minimum height and minimum width for an activity), notifications, and others. For details, take a look at the diff reports available in the downloadable API reference package.

Here are some of the issues that have been fixed:

  • Can’t connect to hidden SSID or non-broadcast Wi-Fi. (bug 203116)
  • Microphone mute state persists across activities. (bug 205922)
  • Changing multi-window focus pauses YouTube. (bug 203424)
  • Direct Reply may close open activity. (bug 204411)
  • Various stability fixes.

Here are some device specific issues you should expect to see in DP2:

  • Seed: Data connection fails when device is switched from slot 1 to slot 2 SIM.
  • Ryu: Unable to toggle Voice Search “Always On” option.
  • Shamu:  Camera pictures in portrait orientation are corrupted, except for HDR+ photos.
  • Fugu: Playback of Netflix HD content is known to fail on Nexus Player; Any application that relies on dynamic video resolution changes may fail on Nexus Player; Any application that use the VP9 video codec may fail on Nexus Player.

As a reminder, you can get the update over-the-air (OTA) through the new Android Beta program or you can manually flash the new images like you have done for years. You’ll find the new images here.

For instructions on how to manually flash a factory image, hit up this post.

Via:  Android Developers Blog

Google Releases Android N Developer Preview 2, Build NPC91K is a post from: Droid Life

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Download: Android N Developer Preview 2 (DP2) Factory Images

Google just released Developer Preview 2 (DP2) for Android N, and inside, the Android team has baked in plenty of changes, as well as fixes from last month’s preview. Once the latest NPC91K build of Android N is booted, developers will find system-wide support for the Vulkan 3D rendering API, enhanced launcher shortcuts, and changes for the Multi-Window experience. 

Remember, this is still a developer preview and not intended for daily driver use. Users may experience slowdowns, jank, and unwanted device behavior from time to time. If you don’t mind any of that, have at it.

To download the newest builds of Android N, follow the links below. If you have yet to begin this process and are feeling froggy today, follow our instructions here. If flashing the old fashioned way isn’t your cup of tea, don’t forget about the Android Beta program, too.

Note: DP2 builds are not yet available for the Nexus Player.

Via: Google [2]

Download: Android N Developer Preview 2 (DP2) Factory Images is a post from: Droid Life

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Alpha Test Minecraft: Realms, a Cross-Platform Multiplayer Experience

Ahead of official launch, which isn’t even scheduled yet, users can alpha test the upcoming Minecraft: Realms game, an actual cross-platform multiplayer experience for fans of Minecraft. At launch, Minecraft: Realms will allow players on iOS, Android, PC, and Windows 10 editions of Minecraft (Xbox One) to be in the same world simultaneously, bringing that teamwork spirit that was so popular when Minecraft first launched for PC way back in the day. 

Minecraft: Realms is a simple addition to the existing Minecraft: Pocket Edition application found on Google Play, but once you are signed up for the alpha testing period, a new portion of the app will be available to you. Basically, Microsoft wants you, the player, to play the game, then report back your findings. You can find bugs, offer UI suggestions, or anything else. It’s an alpha, so you can expect many things to change before the game’s public launch.

In order to enter the alpha, there is one requirement — you must have a Xbox Live login. If you already play public games on Xbox 360 or Xbox One, you are ready to go. If you don’t have one, don’t worry, they are free and quick to create. Once you are signed up, use your credentials to log into Minecraft: Realms.

If you already have a Xbox login, simply follow the alpha link below to opt-in, then download the Pocket Edition app from Google Play.

Happy gaming!

Alpha Link | Play Link

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NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet K1 Updated With Android 6.0.1, Support for Vulkan API

An update for the SHIELD Tablet K1 from NVIDIA is rolling out, which includes a bump up to Android 6.0.1, in addition to many other things. A sweet feature for gamers is also included, being support of the Vulkan API for high-efficiency access to the SHIELD’s graphics hardware. 

Also listed on the changelog, support for Android’s Doze mode is baked inside, USB MIDI support, a memory compression enhancement, improved WiFi connectivity when waking from sleep, a fix for issues when movings apps to your SD card, and much more.

This update is rolling out right now, so keep your eyes peeled for it.

Take a look at the complete changelog below.

What’s New

  • Supports the new Vulkan API for high-efficiency access to SHIELD’s graphics hardware
  • Adds Android 6.0.1 changes
  • Support for Android Doze mode & additional power optimizations
  • Adds USB MIDI support
  • Adds memory compression enhancement
  • Improved Wi-Fi connectivity when waking from sleep
  • Fixed Compass functionality
  • Fixed Gamepad Mapper issues
  • Fixed issues with moving apps to SD card
  • Fixed Doom 3 HDMI output issue
  • Repositioned Lasso Capture icons in landscape mode
  • Update to Android 6.0 Security Patch Level March 1, 2016
  • Overall stability and security enhancements

NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet K1 Updated With Android 6.0.1, Support for Vulkan API is a post from: Droid Life

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Google Introduces “Goals” to Calendar

Through an update arriving on Android and iOS today, Google is introducing “Goals” to Google Calendar. What are Goals? For now, they seem to be Google’s attempt at helping you workout more or learn a new skill by integrating your exercise and other goals into the app that runs your life – your calendar.

With Goals, you tell Google what you want to do more of, like workout or go for a run or find time for yoga. Once you specify to Google Calendar what the new goal is, you answer questions to help Calendar find time in your busy schedule.

You can see in the GIFs below how this all works, where you add a goal, which could be workout more in the evening a couple of times per week, and Google then slots in potential workout times where you have openings. You can defer them, mark them as complete, or even schedule items over top. Google says that Calendar will get smarter over time with your goals, as well.

Goals create_FINAL Goals reschedule_FINAL

Again, the update to Calendar with Goals included should start rolling out as early as today.

Play Link

Via:  Google [2]

Google Introduces “Goals” to Calendar is a post from: Droid Life

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