All About Android 134

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All About Android
Episode 134

All About Android 134: Classin' It Up



Monthly numbers update:
JB 52.1%
GB 26.3%
ICS 19.8%

KitKat (4.4)

1: "Smartphone penetration is less than five percent in emerging markets. For 2014, our goal is, how do we reach the next billion people.”
2: “What we call today ‘fragmentation,’ those people wouldn't have gotten those smartphones without the ability to ship them with Gingerbread. Unlike other players (he means Apple), we aren’t focused on a segment of the market. Internally, we wake up and we think, how can we make something for everyone?”



Software improvements:
Touchless voice commands: "OK Google" command is hardware dependent. Only N5 has access to it so far.
Voice commands from home screen: And Google Now. (More on this later ie. Ron piece)
Immersive mode: Full screen apps that hide nave and status bars. User pulls down from top to bring them back.
Translucent Notification/Navigation in home and supported apps
Phone gets caller ID/Yellow pages lookup
Emoji in KB
New SMS rules: One app is registered as the default SMS app for send/receive.
Native screen recording (any resolution to .mp4) - better Play store demos? :)
Storage access framework: apps prompting for file browsing will trigger the sidebar nave menu, with access to recent files, cloud storage providers, and internal file storage
Brand new photo editor



Hardware improvements
Audio Tunneling to DSP saving battery when playing audio
Better performance on low RAM (512MB+) devices: "Project Svelte" includes a number of options for manufacturers to work with on their lower spec'd phones. NOTE: won't magically make older devices work better - See Galaxy Nexus (aging OMAP SoC)
Hardware sensor batching support (sensor events deliver in chunks and not individually, saving battery and performance over time)
Native sensor support for Step Detector (detect step, perform action) and Step Counter (log steps into accumulated number)
IR Blaster support (sending, not receiving)
Printing support: Any printer over WiFi or through Google Cloud Print
NFC opens wide for developers removing secure element requirement
Support for Bluetooth MAP (Message Access Profile): BT enabled cars from the past 4 years are MAP enabled, and this will improve Android's SMS/MMS functionality with them



4.4 brings a number of security enhancements:
Android sandbox gets SELinux changes: (originally introduced in 4.2) to restrict software to running at a bare minimum privilege level minimizing the impact of malicious software. In 4.4 it defaults to "enforcing" mode meaning malicious apps can't change or disable SElinix security.
Encryption improvements: Android notifies user if digital certificate of a site no longer matches that which Google has on record.
VPNs are applied per user of device
App Permission Controls, introduced in 4.3, has been REMOVED with no indication as to why it no longer exists.
The last seems to a big deal for at least OUR audience, so listen up. If you root and ROM your device, things could get much more difficult for you starting with 4.4. Verified Boot aka Device-Mapper-Verity is a security measure that "prevents persistent rootlets that can hold root privileges and compromise devices." What does this mean? Essentially, it will no longer be possible to gain root to a device with a LOCKED bootloader through an exploit. DM verity is (as Jason said) a block level data verification tool. And all future Android devices with 4.4 will have this in the build. Device makers can choose to enable it, but if a device has an unlocked bootloader, no problems. If its locked, and is utilizing DM verity as a security measure, good luck rooting that device. BitDefender analyzed and said "This means that alternative ROMs such as CyanogenMod, Paranoid Android or others will have a hard time getting on devices other than developer or Nexus ones running stock Android."
One bright side, as XDA points out, if you are able to change the kernel on your device, this feature won't be a concern.
Utlimately, if flashing ROMs and root-level molding is important to you, probably best to start sticking to devices that have an unlocked bootloader and a modifiable kernel.



Android WebView now driven by Chromium, not the old WebKit browser: Web wrapper apps get a performance bump as a result. (HTML5, CCS3, JavaScript, etc)
Transition framework: Devs define scenes (a view hierarchy) and transitions (how the scene transforms when a user enters/exits it) resulting in smooth animations in UX with less work needed
App Indexing: Allows Google to access Android apps through search, allowing user to launch search result into an Android app directly.

Plans for KitKat rollout


Moto X (on all carriers), DROID Ultra, DROID Maxx, DROID Mini, Developer Editions of the Moto X.
News on their devices sometime this week, they say
Nothing official
HTC One Play edition by end of November, HTC One (the rest of em) starting end of January 2015.
Nothing official, though tipsters say the Note III is already testing 4.4. Likely, the Play edition S4 will get it sooner than the rest.
Nexus 4/7/10:
Google only said "soon"
Google did confirm that the Galaxy Nexus will not receive KitKat. (reason likely being that Texas Instruments, who built the OMAP SoC in the GNex is out of the mobile market. They would need to update the drivers/binaries to make it work. So it ain't happening.)

Nexus 5




Nexus 5 Camera




Hey All About Android listeners. I've recently been working on a little game that pays homage to this awesome podcast.

It's a 2d endless runner but what makes it awesome is that it features the hosts of All About Android and has awesome Android themed powerups!!!

Here's a video of some gameplay footage! Keep in mind this is a work in progress.

Matthew Holtzem

from the AAA Community in G+

Android Arena!



Production Information

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