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.

Google details Play Store’s upcoming 64-bit app requirement

Google has provided further details on the upcoming requirement for Android apps on the Play Store to have 64-bit versions.

The company first announced the change in late 2017, providing ample preparation time.

Android itself has supported 64-bit since 5.0 (‘Lollipop’) while the Play Store has required apps using native code to provide a 64-bit version in addition to 32-bit.

Starting August 1, 2019:

  • All new apps and app updates that include native code are required to provide 64-bit versions in addition to 32-bit versions when publishing to Google...

By Ryan Daws, 16 January 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Android, Industry, Mobile, Platforms.

Square launches customisable In-App Payments SDK

Payments solution provider Square has launched a new SDK enabling developers to easily integrate support for in-app payments.

With minimal coding, the SDK promises to enable accepting and storing credit card details for checkout purposes. Support for Google Pay and Apple Pay is even included for added convenience.

Carl Perry, Developer Lead at Square, said:

“With the introduction of in-app mobile payments to the Square platform, developers now have a complete, omnichannel payments...

By Ryan Daws, 10 January 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Android, iOS, Mobile.

Android Q ‘dark mode’ will help logical third-party adoption

Dark mode is an ‘approved Android Q feature’ that will be adopted system-wide, hopefully driving third-party developers to support in their own apps.

A Chromium Gerrit tracker created by Googler Lukasz Zbylut says the “[Android] Q team wants to ensure that all preloaded apps support dark mode natively.”

The tracker also states, “In order to ship dark mode successfully, we need all UI elements to be ideally themed...

By Ryan Daws, 07 January 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Android, Design, Industry, Mobile, Platforms.

AOSMark ranks the best and worst OEMs for Android updates

Not all Android manufacturers are equal in supporting their devices with OS updates, leaving many users on ageing flavours.

AOSMark is a site which tells users the best manufacturers for updates while shaming those who are worst.

Naturally, manufacturers with heavily ‘skinned’ Android operating systems are generally slowest to update as they customise the OS before sending it for lengthy approval via Google and each mobile operator around the world (for carrier-locked...

By Ryan Daws, 02 January 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Android, Industry, Mobile, Platforms.

Google uses machine learning to purge Play Store of spam reviews

Google has created a machine learning-powered anti-spam system to get rid of fake reviews from its Play Store.

The multinational tech company’s distribution platform has been plagued by millions of apps that hire users and companies to write fake reviews which boost exposure.

Google has officially listed three categories it classes as violating its guidelines:

  • Bad content: Reviews that are profane, hateful, or off-topic.

  • Fake ratings: Ratings and reviews meant to manipulate an app's average rating or top reviews. We've seen different approaches to manipulate the average rating; from...

By Developer, 19 December 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Android, App Stores, Mobile, Platforms.

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.