All About Android 164

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All About Android
Episode 164

Contents

All About Android 164: Swimming in a Toxic Hellstew

Guest

  • Jon Fingas, Associate Editor, Engadget
  • @jonfingas

News

4.4.3 is being released now to Nexus 5, Nexus 4, Nexus 7.
Rolling out to Moto X/G/E today too!
Bug fixes, mainly, including autofocus issue on N5, and the battery drain issue related to the "mm-qcamera-daemon" process running in the background after a camera app was closed.
Also, a new dialer!
Well, love it or hate it, we're talking about Apple. If you hate it, all you have to do is skip forward around 5 minutes and we'll be on to non-Apple-y things. But yesterday's WWDC presentation is pretty darn relevant to the Android universe in a few ways. It was Apple opening up, albeit not quite as open as Android, but more open than iOS has ever been. As a result, some of the things that have made Android unique compared to iOS are suddenly becoming a non-issue.
So instead of pick it all apart, as so many articles and shows have done already, let's each pick one key element that relates to Android, something that stood out to each of us. I'll go first.
Integration with Yosemite, both Continuity (pick up exactly where you left off) and taking phone calls through the OS.
The new improvements in iOS 8 are huge. They've worked on reducing the gap between Android with:
Action Buttons in notifications
Widgets
Sharing data across apps
Third party keyboards
Hey Siri (a la Okay, Google or Okay, Moto) etc.
And distinctive stuff:
Fingerprint support in apps
Metal (10x hardware processing for games)
Motorola Mobility is shutting down its factory in Texas. The US plant will cease operation by the end of 2014. Its phones weren't selling enough to keep the lights on and keep its 700 current employees working. (That's down from several thousand at its height, by the way.) All Moto manufacturing will now happen over seas. Motorola WILL continue Moto Maker under Lenovo, though no word on how that will be executed after the plant closes.
How about some more tasty rumors that Android Police pegs as practically certain at this point, and it expands on something we've discussed in weeks past as relates to Google Search app having app-specific functionality. "ANdroid Eyes Free", or KITT, allows the user to search without touching or looking at the device. Kinda sounds like the Moto X, doesn't it?
Essentially, an Always-On listening mode, just waiting for your "OK Google," though detection with screen off might require the device to be plugged in. Though battery optimizations could be made at which time that requirement might be lifted. Also a hand wave could be used. Search results or cards would be read in full out loud, notifications read out loud, basically making it a no-distraction operation in the car/biking/etc.
Another rumor by multiple sources states that Android TV will make its premiere at Google IO at the end of the month. Usual suspects onboard at launch (Netfix/Hulu/etc) and Casting will be integrated. Focus on simplicity. Instead of app makers creating their own apps inside of Android TV, the system that Google internally calls Pano, will surface content from the apps right on the front screen of Android TV in a cards-like approach, as soon as you turn it on. Also, a focus on gaming from the device as well, with games surfacing in much the same way.

Hardware

32:00

Its no Galaxy S5, but Samsung did release its first smartphone running Tizen: The Samsung Z, launching in Russia in Q3. UI looks strikingly similar to its Android UI (no surprise). Reasonable specs: 2.3GHz quad-core processor and 2GB RAM, 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED display (1280×720) and fingerprint sensor. If Tizen looks like Samsung's Android smartphones, will it matter to consumers which one they have?
And Samsung said it would do it: Owners of the original Galaxy Gear should be seeing an update to Tizen as well.
While not an Android device, its Motorola and plays very nice with Android so: Moto Stream is a bluetooth adapter that connects to up to 5 devices at once and channels audio wirelessly to your speaker system. There's also a Heist Mode for taking over when someone puts on a song that you dislike. Available from Radio Shack stores on June 6.
First, ASUS debuted the Transformer Book V. 12.5", switchable between Windows 8.1 and Android 4.4 via dedicated button.
Then HP showed off its SlateBook PC that runs Android, for $399. 64GB storage, 2GB memory, 1920x1080 display, Nvidia Tegra 4 with 72 graphics cores capable of 4k video.

Android Wear

42:53

Android Wear is shaping up to be a big part of this year's Google IO. So is design. With that in mind, Roman Nurik and Timothy Jordan, Design and Developer Advocates on Android Wear, wrote on the Android Developers Blog a nice long and detailed post about what its like to design for Android Wear, both for the square and round form factors. If you are considering development for these platforms, definitely check it out. There are plenty of UI examples, and it will get you even more excited for whats to come at Google IO.
Also, speaking of Android Wear, thanks to a leak of the LG G Watch's boot animation, we may have a good look at a possible upcoming revision to the Android logo that we've grown so accustomed to.

Apps

48:49

Android Device Manager update brings the ability to log into Guest Mode. If your device gets stolen, you can't use it to locate… the stolen device! Guest Mode allows you to temporarily log into Android Device Manager from someone else's device to ring/lock/wipe/locate. Sign out and your credentials are removed.
New Camera app update brings the ability to crop photos to different aspect ratios, not just resolution.
We all love and use Pocket regularly, right? Well, super fans can sign up for the Premium version of their service for $4.99 per month (or $44.99 per year) which now brings a permanent library which basically means they archive the content indefinitely for you, search that touches all content on a saved page, and auto-tagging so you don't have to manage that organization.

Email

56:51

Just wanted to share my experience with this app and the developer.  I bought the app after listening to AAA 162.  I am always in meetings and silencing my phone is very important especially when I am doing a demo and/or speaking.  First off this app works as expected.  I was very pleased that it actually set my phone to vibrate during meetings.  Other apps have not worked as well or consistently.  Second I emailed the developer asking about 2 features and within an hour he responded with suggestions and added one of my feature requests to his to do list.

Within one week he added my ignore keyword feature and set me up with beta version to test. Basically i wanted a feature to ignore certain keywords like Travel or drive so DND would not set my phone to vibrate while i am traveling.  1 day with the beta version and so far it is working as expected.

Just thought it was worth sharing that this is solid app with a great developer.  An app is only as good as its developer and having a developer that is responsive and willing take feedback is very important.  Thanks for the app suggestions and love the show. 

Mike


Android Arena!

1:03:29

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Production Information

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