As promised, the Android M preview images have arrived! Android M brings with it quite a few new features that expand on the direction first taken by Google with Lollipop.
Some of the biggest features will include Android Pay support, new granular permissions controls, improved battery life, and much more. For more details, head to our announcement roundup for M. Now without further ado, jump right in and start downloading! Just be warned these are previews, so don’t expect the most stable of experiences.
In the days to come we’ll be sure to share our experiences with Android M, but for now, we invite you to tell us how the installation went in the comments below.
Applications are a huge part of the Android software experience, and in association, the developers that create these apps are important contributors to the robust ecosystem that we take for granted today. While the app listings carry a lot of information, the developer pages are somewhat sparse, with a list of only the apps the developer has available to be seen. That is all set to change now, with Google introducing Developer Pages to the Google Play Store.
Similar to what Youtube channel pages now look, Developer Pages will allow developers to add a big banner at the top of the page, a profile icon, and the ability to add text that explains what type of apps they make. A full list of their apps will also be available, but developers will also have to option to feature their best or most recent apps, allowing for a simple way to promote that particular app.
Developers will also now be able to A/B test individual listing pages for their apps, with the ability to test a total of four variants, all of which can be managed from the Developer Console. All that has to be done is to feed the tool different graphics and texts, and Google will handle the testing for them. These lets developers see which listing form is working better to result in more downloads of their app. The Play Store will also keep track of the user engagement on each page, allowing developers to better optimize their pages.
Last year at Google I/O, Google announced its virtual reality platform, Cardboard. There are hundreds of Cardboard-compatible apps on the Play Store, along with dozens of different headsets to choose from. To progress this VR platform forward, Google is giving us a glimpse at what’s to come.
For starters, since phones have gotten a lot bigger over the past year, Google is releasing a new Cardboard viewer that’s now compatible with 6-inch devices. The magnet button is also improved this time around, with a cardboard button that now works with every smartphone. The viewer now only takes three steps to assemble, a big decrease from the 12 it took to assemble the first version.
One of the most important points in this announcement is that the Cardboard SDK now supports iOS devices as well, which will likely bring many more users on board.
Google has also rolled out “Expeditions”, a new way for teachers to take their classes on field trips to basically anywhere in the world… or even to outer space. For folks who sign up for the Expedition program, a box will arrive at the school, which includes Cardboard headsets, phones and a tablet for the teacher. All of these devices are synchronized, so when the teacher chooses a place on the tablet, everyone will jump to the same virtual place at the same time. Teachers who want to bring Expeditions to their schools can sign up for the program online.
Google has also unveiled a program called “Jump”, which is a platform that allows anyone interested to create 360-degree video capture rigs. Using Google’s own VR computing platform, video captured with these rigs will be converted into immersive 3D content that everyone can experience. Google is opening up the camera geometry to everyone this summer, so motivated folks can create their own camera rigs if they want.
Since the camera geometry is available to everyone, Google hopes that multiple manufacturers will jump on board to create their own rigs. Google has also partnered with GoPro to create the first Jump-compatible rig.
These virtual reality experiences will be available through YouTube sometime this summer, which can be accessed using a smartphone and a compatible Cardboard headset.
Since this was just announce a little while ago, stay tuned as we update this post with more information over the next few hours!
During the Google I/O 2015 keynote Android M was formally announced bringing a number of great new features to the table. One thing that wasn’t mentioned in the keynote, however, is automatic backups (and restores) with M!
In an official developer entry, Google reveals how settings and apps data will now be backed automatically to Google Drive every 24 hours. This means that you never again have to worry about losing data if your phone fails. The backup system should also making switching to new phones easier than ever with all your app settings simply following you to the next device. The only catch here is that app developers have the ability to ‘opt out’ of supporting automatic updates if they so choose. It’s also worth noting that the file size is limited to 25MB per app.
For more details on how the new backup feature will work, you’ll want to head on over to Google’s developer page.
Last month, Acer teased a trio of new wearables in New York City. Today it’s making them official. Enter the Liquid Leap Active, Leap Curve and Leap Fit, all designed with fitness, activity tracking and removable bands in mind. The Fit is the only one with a heart rate sensor, though, while the Curve and Active focus on offering features such as a curved display and sleep pattern-monitoring, respectively. Acer’s staying mum on pricing and availability right now, but the company did say we’ll learn those details at Computex 2015 next week. In the meantime, at least there’s some eye candy to hold you over until then.
Liquid Leap Active.
Liquid Leap Curve.
If you like playing online games, then you too can help birth some (possibly sinister) software from DARPA. The US Army’s slightly insane research division launched its Verigames web portal in late 2013 with five free online games designed to crowdsource coding. How? Like a similar effort that folded AIDS proteins, the games “translate players’ actions into program annotations,” to kill numerous bugs in systems code, according to DARPA. The first experiment was a success and “produced hundreds of thousands of (code) annotations,” so the agency plans to expand the program with five new games.
They’re not exactly mindless shooters, though. You’ll be tasked to “energize mysterious patterns in a cosmic puzzle machine,” “optimize vast networks,” and “match quarks in the name of cyber-security,” to cite a few examples. If that’s your idea of a good time, you can sign up, check out the games here and fire them up in your browser. It’s all good fun in the name of science, unless you end up contributing to the rise of some pretty scary machines.
For Android TV, 2015 could turn out to be a breakout year — at least that’s what Google hopes. But how does the search giant plan to reach those heights? One way is by expanding its home entertainment platform’s support for live TV programming, with a new feature called Android Channels. What this lets users to do is view video-streaming apps on the same program guide as traditional channels, including those from ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and other broadcast networks.
Don’t miss out on all the latest news and updates from Google I/O 2015. Follow along at our events page.
Didn’t fancy sitting through the whole liveblog from this year’s Google I/O keynote? We understand. Sometimes you just want to catch they key plays via the post-game show. And that’s kinda why Engadget exists, after all. As always with Google’s big developer event, there was a lot of ground covered in a relatively short space of time. Fear not, below are the things we think you most need to know.
Microsoft might have scaled back its ambitions for Kinect, but creative modders and developers are still finding ways to put the peripheral to good use. Conductor Ludovic Morlot used the device to control three “kinetic” instruments — a robotic grand piano, 24-reedhorn sculpture and custom concert chimes — as part of an intimate Seattle Symphony performance on May 1st. During the 22-minute composition, Morlot could start, stop and control the volume of the instruments with gestures. Making a fist in different places let him select the unusual instruments, while waving the other hand up and down would change the amplification. The system was devised by Trimpin, a kinectic sculptor, sound artist and musician, and will remain in the Benaroya Hall so that visitors can try it for themselves. Microsoft seems to have given up on its second-gen Kinect, but mods like this are a reminder of its untapped potential. Between this concert, a weird musical sandbox and a Nine Inch Nails festival tour, it seems to have a small future in the music industry.
Source: Kinect for Windows
Android Wear is a rapidly growing platform, there are now 7 official watches in the market, with more than 4000 apps developed to make the most of your smartwatch.
Let’s look at those new features, starting with the Always On support. Always on is almost exactly what it says, allowing a new low power, black and white mode for many apps such as Maps navigation and Google Keep lists. Apps remain fully operational in color when you actively use them, but after a few seconds of non-use, the app jumps into the low power mode and keeps the directions or list items on screen.
Gesture support may be a sore spot for the new Aria Android Wear module that brings gesture support to your smartwatch. Android Wear itself will soon support flicking your wrist to scroll through your cards and more.
The new emoji recognizer allows users to hand draw not only your normal text characters through the keyboard, but now you can hand draw a martini glass, as in the Google I/O example, and it will match up your drawing to similar looking emoji on your keyboard.
Stay tuned for more coverage of Android Wear and features, as well as our ongoing coverage of Google I/O 2015.