Huawei trademarks Android replacement, asks for help filling AppGallery

Huawei’s replacement for Android inches closer as it files a trademark for the OS while calling on app developers to help fill its Play Store alternative.

The ongoing saga following Huawei’s ban from dealing with US companies, of which it's been granted a temporary reprieve, has had many twists and turns.

Reports over the past week suggested Huawei was

By Ryan Daws, 14 June 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Android, App Stores, Devices, Ecosystem, Industry, Mobile, Platforms.

Google argues blocking Huawei from Android risks security

Google is making the case to the Trump administration that blocking Huawei from accessing Android will increase security risks.

Earlier this year, Google was forced to end its relationship with Huawei after the US government added it to a list of companies that American firms cannot deal with unless it has prior authorisation due to security concerns.

Claiming it’s to prevent disruption to American users of Huawei devices, the US has temporarily removed the Chinese tech giant from the list. Huawei is due to be...

By Ryan Daws, 07 June 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Android, Devices, Ecosystem, Industry, Mobile, Platforms.

Android Q beta 4 released with finalised APIs

Google has debuted Android Q beta 4, bringing with it what's promised to be the finalised APIs of the upcoming release.

The official designation of 'API 29' has been assigned for this release, for developers wanting to target Android's latest flavour.

Developers can now take advantage of Android Q features such as the system-wide dark mode, smart replies/actions for notifications, and foldable smartphone layouts. These features can be used without concern of broken functionality in the final...

By Ryan Daws, 06 June 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Android, API, Industry, Mobile, Platforms.

Google Pay APIs improve checkout and pass experiences

Google has updated its Pay API to support new features which improve the online checkout and pass usage experiences.

Some of the features were debuted at this year’s I/O developer conference, but Google has now provided further detail of how they can be used in practice.

Going forward, the Google Pay payment sheet will display all information about the purchase – item cost, shipping options.etc will be displayed to prevent the customer from having to return to the merchant site.

The new...

By Ryan Daws, 05 June 2019, 0 comments. Categories: AI, Android, API, Mobile, Platforms.

Google tightens Play Store policies around weed, sex, hate, and loot

Google is taking a tougher stance on apps featuring things such as marijuana, sex, loot boxes, and hate speech with new Play Store policies.

Part of Google’s reasoning behind the changes is to protect young minds from being influenced by apps and games they stumble across.

Developers now have to define target age groups for their apps in the Play Console. When minors are included, new ‘Designed for Families’ policies must be applied.

Google provides some examples of common violations:

  • Apps that promote play for children in their...

By Ryan Daws, 30 May 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Android, App Stores, Gaming, Industry, Mobile, Platforms.

Huawei’s smartphone OS due this year, supporting Android apps

Huawei’s in-house smartphone OS is due to be released this year and Chinese media reports it will even support Android apps.

The OS has been in development since 2012 following a US investigation into Huawei and ZTE, but recent events are sure to have sped up the company’s plans.

Richard Yu, Huawei Consumer Business CEO, said the OS is "designed...

By Ryan Daws, 22 May 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Android, Devices, Industry, Mobile, Platforms.

Trump’s trade war on China is killing Huawei’s devices

President Trump’s trade war on China has resulted in Google, Qualcomm, Intel, Broadcom, and Xilinx ending their relationship with Huawei.

Trump signed an executive order effectively banning telecoms equipment from foreign firms deemed a security risk. Shortly after, the US Commerce Department added Huawei to its Entity List. Any US firm wanting to have dealings with a company on the list...

By Ryan Daws, 20 May 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Android, Devices, Ecosystem, Industry, Mobile, Platforms.

Google calls for Android Automotive developers ahead of I/O 2019

Google has preemptively announced that Android Automotive (not to be confused with Android Auto) will be opened to developers following I/O 2019.

Android Automotive is Google's platform for infotainment systems which is due to launch with the Polestar 2, an electric vehicle developed by Volvo’s standalone brand.

The platform differs from Android Auto in that Automotive is an OS modelled after Android itself but adapted for cars, whereas the former is an interface...

By Ryan Daws, 02 May 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Android, IoT, Platforms.

Google will closely vet first-time Android developers for security

Google has announced plans to closely vet Android developers without a track record in a bid to boost platform security.

Android security has vastly improved since its early days but that hasn’t prevented some rogue developers from abusing Google’s platform.

Sameer Samat, VP of Android Product Management, wrote in a blog post:

“From the outset, we’ve sought to craft Android as a completely open...

By Ryan Daws, 16 April 2019, 1 comment. Categories: Android, App Stores, Industry, Mobile, Platforms, Security.

Google adds Smart Reply and Language Identification APIs to ML Kit

Google has announced the addition of ‘Smart Reply’ and ‘Language Identification’ APIs to its ML (Machine Learning) Kit.

Until now, the APIs in ML Kit have focused predominantly on camera-based machine learning processing. The latest additions begin to unlock the many other possibilities for machine learning.

Smart Reply provides the same features that you may be familiar with in some of Google's products like Gmail and Android Messages. As the name...

By Ryan Daws, 10 April 2019, 0 comments. Categories: AI, Android, API, iOS.

Tax Justice Network: Google dodged £1.5bn tax in the UK last year

Ethically-minded developers may want to know how much tax companies like Google are getting away with avoiding.

In an analysis for The Mirror, the Tax Justice Group estimates Google should have paid an eye-watering £1.5 billion extra in corporation tax last year.

The publication notes how this figure could have paid for 60,000 nurses for the UK's struggling national health service.

In 2018, Google paid just £67 million in...

By Ryan Daws, 08 April 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Android, Cloud, Ethics, Industry, Mobile, Platforms.

Snapchat’s new platform delivers Mario Party-like games

Snap is launching a gaming platform which delivers a Mario Party-like experience for users while unlocking a new revenue stream for developers.

Mario Party, if you haven't played it, offers a series of minigames that are catered to multiplayer. Snap wants to harness that social experience to keep users on its platform.

The ‘Snap Games’ platform started from a late-2017 acquisition of Australian game studio Pretty Great. The studio was originally created by former Halfbrick talent which many...

By Ryan Daws, 05 April 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Android, Gaming, iOS, Mobile, Platforms.

Play Store enables ‘pre-registration’ feature for all, plus larger app bundles

Google added some welcome new features to its Play Store ahead of its appearance at GDC this week.

The first is not strictly an addition but more of an expansion. ‘Pre-registration’ is now available for all developers, allowing hype for a game or app to be generated prior to release.

Next up is a new store page A/B test allowing multiple versions to be trialled with a subset of users. Performance stats will be provided for each to decide the optimal version before a full rollout.

To account for...

By Ryan Daws, 19 March 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Android, App Stores, Mobile, Platforms.

Android Q adds shiny new APIs while blocking others

Android Q is approaching which means developers are getting treated with a few shiny new APIs while others are getting blocked to boost platform security.

The first preview of Android Q has been released for developers and early-adopters to start tinkering with. In this article we'll provide a rundown of what's changed so far.

API Additions

What's being added or changed is always more exciting than what's being taken away, so it's where we'll start.

Neural Networks API 1.2

We know...

By Ryan Daws, 14 March 2019, 0 comments. Categories: AI, Android, API, Development Tools, Mobile, Platforms.

Google enables devs to monetise free users with ‘Rewarded Products’

Google has introduced a new method for Android developers to monetise free users with a feature called ‘Rewarded Products’.

Free apps are increasingly more popular than paid. In Q1 2018, Statista found 94.24 percent of app downloads are free.

It’s understandable from a user perspective that most want to at least try an app before committing to a purchase. In-app purchases allow users to pay for the full app or...

By Ryan Daws, 07 March 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Android, Mobile, Monetisation, Platforms.

Google now only wants Android Things on certain ‘things’

Google is scaling back its ambitions for Android Things with the announcement it will “refocus” the platform on just two device types.

Android Things, once known as ‘Project Brillo’, was first announced in 2016. The platform was designed to be an OS for all manner of ‘things’ in the fast-growing IoT (Internet of Things) market.

Given the success Google has found with smart displays and speakers, the firm has decided to focus its efforts on these products.

Dave Smith,...

By Ryan Daws, 13 February 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Android, IoT, Platforms.

Play Store now accepts PWAs which use Trusted Web Activities

Progressive Web Apps (PWA) using the Trusted Web Activities (TWA) API are finally supported on the Google Play Store following its 2017 announcement.

TWA is an API for PWAs which allows web content to be displayed in fullscreen with system-level features and limited native code.

Some will note the existence of PWAs like Facebook Lite, Instagram Lite, and Twitter Lite on the Play Store. Most of these use WebView and required a lot of added native code for things like notifications. TWA allows web developers to publish...

By Ryan Daws, 04 February 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Android, API, App Stores, Industry, Mobile, Platforms.

‘Android Game SDK’ is a joint project between Google and Unity

Google is partnering with Unity on a dedicated ‘Android Game SDK’ project with the goal of improving game development efficiency.

Android is the most popular mobile operating system in the world, so it’s little surprise many game developers want to put their work in front of its audience. Google is more than happy to oblige and continues to find ways to invest in Android game development.

The project itself is based on the Android...

By Ryan Daws, 18 January 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Android, API, Development Tools, Gaming, Mobile, Platforms.