Google announces Android ICS has reached its end of life

Google has kept it going for seven years, but the company has announced it’s time to allow Android Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) to thaw out.

Ice Cream Sandwich (v4.0) was initially released in October 2011 and now has a small number of users.

In a blog post, Google wrote:

“The Android Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) platform is seven years old and the active device count has been below 1 percent for some time.

Consequently, we are deprecating support for ICS in future...

By Ryan Daws, 10 December 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Android, API, Platforms.

Qualcomm: Every Android OEM will debut a 5G device in 2019

Chipset giant Qualcomm has made the bold prediction that every Android manufacturer will debut a 5G handset by the end of 2019.

Qualcomm’s chipsets power a large portion of smartphones from a range of manufacturers, so it’s likely the company has some insight into their plans.

A slide presented during a keynote at Qualcomm's Snapdragon Technology Summit in Hawaii listed the firms partnered with Qualcomm on their 5G rollout.

The list included ASUS, Fujitsu, Google, HMD, HTC, InSeeGo, LG,...

By Ryan Daws, 06 December 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Android, Devices, Mobile, Platforms.

Google renews web apps push with ‘Squoosh’ and Writable Files API

Google renews its web apps push with a tool for reducing image sizes alongside a new API increasing native apps interoperability.

Starting with Google’s image-shrinking tool, ‘Squoosh’ is meant to “launch almost instantly, and then [perform] a smooth UI even when it’s doing heavy work, including using Web Assembly to do more with codecs the browser doesn’t have baked in.”

The open source tool supports a variety of web formats like MozJPEG and WebP, and traditional...

By Ryan Daws, 14 November 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Android, API.

The benefits of darker in-app colour schemes are clear

Google has finally confirmed what many have suspected, there are clear benefits to offering darker in-app colour schemes.

During its Android Dev Summit this week, Google displayed several comparisons of the power drain while displays show different colours.

As suspected, black is the most power-efficient. White, on the other hand, is by far and large the most power-hungry – consuming over six times as much juice.

By Ryan Daws, 09 November 2018, 2 comments. Categories: Android, Apple, Design, iOS, Mobile.

Google provides two new ways for developers to push app updates

Google has introduced two new ways for developers to push their app updates during the Android Developer Summit this week.

The ‘In-App Updates’ API provides features that Android coders have been requesting for some time, according to Google Senior Director of Android Product Management and Developer Relations Stephanie Saad.

Developers can now prompt users to update their app when they use it.

There are two ways of doing this: immediate, or flexible.

  • Immediate greets users with a full-screen message alerting them of the available update and that...

By Ryan Daws, 08 November 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Android, API, Mobile.

Android developers must target API level 26 starting today

Google has decided it’s time for developers to ensure apps target at least API level 26 or they’ll no longer be accepted in the Play Store.

The policy change was announced last year, so the company has provided a fair amount of notice. Today is the big day where the change goes into effect.

Every version of Android introduces new security features but some only apply to apps using newer API levels. Google has been clamping down on security more than ever as part of its bid to prove Android is secure enough

By Ryan Daws, 02 November 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Android, API, Platforms.

Google kills off its spammy Android Nearby Notifications

Google has announced it will discontinue support for Android Nearby Notifications, a feature often seen as ‘spammy’ to users.

Nearby Notifications were introduced three years ago with the idea that users will be sent alerts for relevant nearby information.

According to Google, it’s been used for genuinely useful information such as nearby free WiFi, providing guides in museums, and informing of transit schedules at bus stops. However, it’s also been abused.

In a

By Ryan Daws, 26 October 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Android, API, Platforms.

Chrome OS turns down Oreo in favour of some Pie

Analysing the latest Canary build of Chrome OS reveals it will jump from Nougat to Pie, skipping the Oreo version of Google’s system.

For a while now, Chrome OS has been stuck on the Nougat (7.1) version of Android when running apps. With the release of Pie, it makes sense for Google to jump straight to its latest version.

Chrome Unboxed first discovered the apparent plans. Currently, the update is only available for the original $1,000 Pixelbook...

By Ryan Daws, 23 October 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Android, Platforms.

GitHub: Kotlin is now the fastest growing language

Repository giant GitHub has revealed Kotlin for Android is now the fastest growing programming language in the world.

As the world’s largest Git repository host, GitHub has a fairly unique ability to discover notable changes in the developer landscape.

Last year, Google made Kotlin a ‘first-class’ language for Android in addition to existing support for Java and C++. GitHub’s findings show what an impact Google’s decision has had for Kotlin adoption.

Over the course of the past...

By Ryan Daws, 18 October 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Android, Git, Industry, Languages.

Android Studio 3.2 released boasting over 20 new features

Google has released the latest version of Android Studio with over 20 new features including some relating to the ‘Pie’ release of the OS.

Among the major new features is support for ‘App Bundles’ which is Google’s new way of packaging Android apps to shrink their size.

Google’s research has found the larger an app is, the fewer installs it receives. Size reductions achieved by using App Bundles varies but Twitter saved 35 percent, Jomo...

By Ryan Daws, 25 September 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Android, Development Tools, Platforms.

BlueStacks emulates Android ‘6x faster’ than leading smartphone

Popular emulator BlueStacks claims to provide six times faster performance when running Android software on a PC than a leading benchmarked smartphone.

BlueStacks was created back in 2009 by Jay Vaishnav, Suman Saraf, and Rosen Sharma. No other emulator has achieved quite the same level of success – even receiving investment from the likes of Samsung, Intel, AMD, Qualcomm, and more.

The emulator’s latest update, 4.0, looks set to add even more fans.

According to BlueStacks,...

By Ryan Daws, 19 September 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Android, Microsoft, Mobile.

Mozilla aims to expand WebVR's capabilities with the WebXR API

Mozilla is building a new API called WebXR aiming to expand the capabilities of WebVR and enable the creation of mixed reality experiences on the web.

WebVR was first conceived in spring 2014 by Vladimir Vukićević from Mozilla with the aim of providing an open source API for displaying VR content on the web. On March 1st 2016, the Mozilla VR team and the Google Chrome team announced version 1.0 of the WebVR API.

The API is supported across many browsers including Firefox,...

By Ryan Daws, 17 September 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Android, API, iOS, Mobile, VR.

Pusher 'Beams' enables read receipts for push notifications

Pusher has launched a new feature called 'Beams' which provides developers with read receipts for their push notifications, similar to using most IM apps.

Read receipts are not exactly a groundbreaking new feature. Since the early days of SMS, users have been able to opt-in to receive alerts when their messages have been successfully delivered to another device.

With the rise of instant messaging, the feature has become somewhat default. Now when you use popular services like Facebook Messenger you...

By Ryan Daws, 07 September 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Analytics, Android, API, Apple, iOS.

Android's latest OS distribution stats are in, and it's still a problem

The long-standing issue of many active Android devices running older versions of Google’s operating system continues.

Android 7.0 (and 7.1) ‘Nougat’ remains the most popular Android version in-use today with 30.8 percent of the devices, although now being two years old. Last year’s release, Android 8.0 ‘Oreo’ is on just 14.6 percent of devices.

Android 9.0 ‘Pie’ was fully announced last month and began rolling out to select devices. Many users expect a rollout...

By Ryan Daws, 04 September 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Android, API, Devices, Mobile, Platforms.

Consumers are more satisfied with Apple CarPlay over Android Auto

In the battle to become the car platform of choice, it seems Apple’s CarPlay is winning in satisfaction over Google’s Android Auto.

In a survey conducted by J.D. Power, more consumers are satisfied with CarPlay than Android Auto. This is despite most drivers preferring Google Maps over Apple Maps.

On a 1,000 point scale, CarPlay beat Android Auto 777 to 748. It’s not a substantial difference by any means, but notable regardless.

In terms of mapping choice, the majority (56%) choose Google...

By Ryan Daws, 31 August 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Android, Apple, iOS, Platforms.

Fortnite developer and Google have an Epic spat over vulnerability​​​​​​​

Fortnite developer Epic is not too pleased with the way in which Google publicly disclosed a security vulnerability with the game’s Android installer.

Rather than pay the 30 percent cut which Google takes from distributing games through its Play Store, Epic decided to bypass the official app store in favour of its own installer.

Sideloading games poses an increased risk to consumers as it bypasses many of...

By Ryan Daws, 28 August 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Android, Gaming, Hacking, Industry, Platforms, Security.

Google warns users against fakes of Play Store-bypassing apps

A new Play Store feature helps to protect users against software imitating those from developers who’ve decided to bypass Google's official app marketplace.

With the confirmation that Epic Games’ popular game Fortnite will be shunning the Play Store in favour of sideloading, an influx of fake apps is expected to hit Google’s marketplace.

Google will likely be taking measures to ensure such apps never reach the Play Store, but for any that slip through, it warns users that no...

By Ryan Daws, 10 August 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Android, App Stores, Industry, Platforms.

Play Store expands paid apps support to six more countries

Only developers in a select number of countries have the ability to sell their apps on the Play Store, but that list has now expanded by a further six.

Here are the new additions:

  • Albania

  • Algeria

  • Armenia

  • Namibia

  • Nicaragua

  • Trinidad and Tobago

Back in April, Google enabled support for Tunisia and Zimbabwe.

Many of our readers are not based in these countries and so most are likely unaware there are countries where developers can release free apps on the Play Store but cannot monetise with paid apps or in-app purchases.

That unfortunate list, thankfully, is slowly getting smaller.

What are your thoughts on the Play Store’s paid apps support expansion? Let us know in the...

By Ryan Daws, 08 August 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Android, App Stores, Industry, Mobile, Monetisation, Platforms.

Fortnite bypassing the Play Store will cause Android changes

Fortnite is a phenomenon that Android users have waited a long time for, but the decision to bypass the Play Store will have consequences for the platform.

The battle royale game is an undeniable hit. According to SuperData Research in May, Fortnite had generated $296 million in the month of April across mobile, console, and PC platforms. This year, it’s expected to make developer Epic Games as much as $2 billion.

When it released on iOS, Fortnite earned...

By Ryan Daws, 06 August 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Android, App Stores, Ecosystem, Gaming, Mobile, Platforms.

Google sets Android P guidelines for ‘notch’-featuring devices

Android P is nearing release and so Google has set out its guidelines for how the ‘notch’ found on many new devices should be accommodated.

Love it or hate it, the notch has become mainstream. First marketed by the first ‘Essential’ smartphone and quickly followed by other Android manufacturers to maximise the screen-to-device ratio, even Apple has adopted it with the iPhone X.

On the Android Developers

By Ryan Daws, 31 July 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Android, Design, Mobile, Platforms, Testing.