Phandroid » Developers Android Phone News, Rumors, Reviews, Apps, Forums & More! Fri, 29 May 2015 14:10:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Google Play’s upcoming Family section makes finding kid-friendly content easier than ever Thu, 28 May 2015 19:30:27 +0000 google-play-family-home-brand-partners

We’ve had more than a few clues that Google was fixin’ to announce a new kid-friendly section of the Google Play Store. They’ve definitely been focusing on family oriented apps with the recent launch of YouTube kids and their acquisition of Launchpad Toys, a studio responsible for popular apps for kids on iOS.

The biggest clue came last week when we discovered Google’s “Designed for Families” program, a special program for developers that allows them to submit their apps for additional review so that they’ll be labeled as family-friendly in the Play Store.

According to Google, more than 1/3 of Android users in the US are parents with a kids under the age of 12. It’s because of this, Google finally took the wraps off their latest project aimed at families, a new family home section coming soon to the Google Play Store.

Google Play Family Star

The new page offers a handful of tools parents can use to help discover family-friendly content for their kids. First up is the “Family star,” Google’s little green star icon that highlights family-friendly apps, games, movies, and books in the Play Store. The family home section also allows parents to search for content based on their age group, showing only filtered family-friendly results.

Google Play app listing

Because generally kids like looking for content based on their favorite characters or shows, they can now browser for content based on characters like Dora the Explorer, or My Little Pony. Apps and games features in family home (which undergo a manual review process) all feature objective 3rd party content ratings (like ESRB ratings) and are labeled when they’re ad-supported.

Google says that with a new set of parental controls stronger password protection for in-app purchases, Android is more fantastic than ever for families looking to keep a watchful eye over their kids digital playtime.

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Developers will be able to make their own pages in Google Play Thu, 28 May 2015 18:43:58 +0000 Google Play Store wm watermark

Google has announced developer pages for Google Play. What this allows developers to do is create their own section in Google Play to show off all their Android apps.

It’s already possible to view a developer’s list of apps by clicking a their name when viewing their app listing in Google Play, but developer pages will let developers highlight their best and most recent apps, as well as provide more detail to the user about the company or individual behind them. It’s a great way for fans to find and keep track of their favorite developers’ apps.

Also coming to Google Play for developers is the ability to A/B test your app listings. What this means is you’ll be able to experiment with different sets of graphics, app descriptions, screenshots and titles for your Google Play listing.

You can have both listings exist simultaneously, with users seeing one or the other at random. This’ll allow you find out which listing style performs best for driving downloads, a great tool for developers who want to make sure they’re doing everything they can to maximize their chances for success. It shan’t be long before you developer types are able to get your feet wet with all this stuff in the developer console, and we’re be sure to update you once those options become available.

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Google introduces cross-platform URLs for deep linking inside of apps Thu, 28 May 2015 00:05:57 +0000 deep link URL

Google is supercharging their short URLs with the ability to deep link into apps. Developers that have taken advantage of Google’s new App Indexing — available on both Android and iOS — can create URLs that take users to specific places inside their app, or by default, their website.

For instance, clicking on one of these new URLs will auto-detect the specific platform (either Android or iOS) and whether or not they have a specific app installed. If the app is installed, the app will open directly to the content. If the app isn’t installed, the user will simply be directed to the website. Simple.

Google says the new feature actually works retroactively, so any old URLs will still work by linking users to an app. To get started, developers will need to integrate Google’s new URL Shortener API into their app’s share flow. Here’s are the steps needed to set everything up.

Set up app deep linking on

  1. Complete the necessary steps to participate in App Indexing for Android and iOS at Note that deep links are open to all iOS developers, unlike deep links from Search currently. After this step, existing short links will start deep linking to your app.
  2. Optionally integrate the URL Shortener API with your app’s share flow, your email campaigns, etc. to programmatically generate links that will deep link directly back to your app.

When opened, the link auto-detects the user’s platform and if they have Maps installed. If the user has the app installed, the short link opens the content directly in the Android or iOS Maps app. If the user doesn’t have the app installed or is on desktop, the short link opens the page on the Maps website.


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Samsung introduces Arduino-like open development platform named ARTIK Thu, 14 May 2015 14:00:46 +0000 Samsung logo DSC08657

Samsung has introduced a new compact development board system for developers interested in making products for the booming “Internet of Things” category. It’s called Artik, and it’s essentially an Arduino-like platform that’ll equip developers with the sensors and tools needed to prototype internet-connected devices.

samsung artik

Artik isn’t very special in that regard, save for the fact that it’s an open platform with no proprietary bits holding you back. Samsung Artik also emphasizes the use of wireless communication sensors where many Arduino boards don’t.

Samsung will have three different modules available at launch depending on what you’re yearning for:

  • ARTIK 1, the smallest IoT module currently available in the industry at 12mm-by-12mm combines Bluetooth/BLE connectivity and a nine-axis sensor with best-in-class compute capabilities and power consumption. It is specifically designed for low-power, small form- factor IoT applications.
  • ARTIK 5 delivers an outstanding balance of size, power and price-performance and is ideal for home hubs, drones and high-end wearables. It incorporates a 1GHz dual-core processor and on-board DRAM and flash memory.
  • ARTIK 10 delivers advanced capabilities and high-performance to IoT with an eight-core processor, full 1080p video decoding/encoding, 5.1 audio and 2GB DRAM along with 16GB flash memory. The Samsung ARTIK 10 includes Wi-Fi, Bluetooth/BLE and ZigBee connectivity and is designed for use with home servers, media applications, and in industrial settings.

Unfortunately the platform isn’t quite ready for general availability just yet, though developers interested in trying it out in the early going can apply for Samsung’s Alpha Developer Kit right here.

[via Samsung Artik]


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You can now root almost every Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge without tripping the flash counter Mon, 11 May 2015 16:49:58 +0000 Samsung Galaxy S6 DSC09362

It’s been possible to root the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge since the day the devices were available, but the methods available would trip Samsung’s flash counter that lets their technicians know if the device has been modified. This would potentially void your warranty, which is not good if your device ever suffers an unfortunate fate and you need to get it fixed. It also disabled the use of some of Samsung’s applications such as Samsung Pay (which isn’t actually available yet).

But now there’s no need to worry — a trip counter-less method has arrived, and as long as you follow the instructions to a T you should come away with a rooted device whose flash counter is kept at 0. The best part is that the method — dubbed PingPongRoot — works for nearly every Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge model available, with only a few models having yet to be tested.

Be sure to confirm your exact model number is on the list before going through with it, and know that anything you do to your phone is your own responsibility. Downloads and instructions can be had at the original XDA thread right here, so have at it if this is something you’ve been waiting for.

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Cyanogen OS to get caller ID integration thanks to Truecaller partnership Thu, 07 May 2015 18:36:13 +0000 Cyanogen Inc new logo

Cyanogen Inc today announced a new partnership. They’ve teamed up with Truecaller, the makers of a caller ID app that’ll show you unknown callers or identify phone numbers known to be spam. The integration will come at the OS level, says Cyanogen, so there will be no need to download a separate app if caller ID is something you fancy.

That deep integration will also allow the company to integrate the information you’re looking for in a way that makes sense. Whereas a standalone caller ID app might require going into their app to see information about calls that were already placed, you will be able to see that information right from Cyanogen’s built-in dialer.

Contact Card - Business Contact Card - Spam TrueCaller - Incomiing Call - Unknown Business V1 copy TrueCaller - Incomiing Call - Spam Caller TrueCaller - First Time User Dialog Opt Out TrueCaller - First Time User Headsup Opt Out TrueCaller - Incoming Call - Headsup - Spam Caller Copy TrueCaller - Incomiing Call - Spam Caller - Block Caller

Cyanogen says the deal will apply to all future mobile devices that ship with Cyanogen OS globally, and will also be available to tens of millions of existing users via an over-the-air update. We don’t have an exact timeline on when to expect these features to arrive to existing customers, but we imagine it shouldn’t be long if they’re already promising it to be ready for all future Cyanogen devices.

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Threes! abruptly removed from Google Play over policy violation Wed, 06 May 2015 01:00:24 +0000 threes

If you’re looking for the hit puzzle game Threes! on the Google Play Store — you wont find it. It’s gone. Threes! developer Asher Vollmer revealed today that his game has officially been removed from the Play Store over his use of the term “2048” (another popular puzzle game based off of Threes!) in the app’s description.

Also known as keyword stuffing or spam, the practice is strictly prohibited on Google Play, something we talked about in a previous post back when Google first introduced the changes to their developer policies late last year. While it’s easy to feel little sympathy for the developer, the sudden take down of Threes! — which had amassed hundreds of thousands of downloads worldwide — seems to have occurred without warning.

If nothing else, this high profile app/game suspension once again highlights Google’s need for better developer relations. You can read more about our thoughts on that topic right here.

Download on Google Play: Threes! (no longer available)

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Sony gives developers an official path to bootloader access on select phones Mon, 04 May 2015 14:48:13 +0000 Sony Logo DSC08921

In Sony’s ongoing quest to make their phones more developer friendly, the company has opened up bootloader access for a handful of their current Android smartphones. FXP has found that Sony’s official Mobile Flash tool now offers up an “Open Devices” bootloader option alongside the standard consumer-shipped bootloader.

What will this enable? It’ll allow developers to install custom recoveries right to the devices’ recovery partition. This enables the use of custom ROMs and operating systems without the need to use tricky and clunky bootstrap solutions. In fact, it’s so open that it would be possible to flash recoveries and ROMs for non-Android operating systems such as Ubuntu and Firefox OS (if one has the wherewithal to figure that out, of course).

sony mobile flashtool

Sony has only rolled out support for devices with chipsets based on ARM Cortex-A7, so that effectively limits it to the Sony Xperia T3, Sony Xperia M2, Sony Xperia T2 Ultra and the Sony Xperia E3.

That’s not to say more won’t come down the line, though, and we hope to hear something official from Sony soon. In the meantime, you can find the mobile flash tool right here. We wouldn’t recommend using it to do anything immediately, but you’ll likely want it on-hand once the development community takes proper advantage of this new level of access.

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It’s official: Windows 10 can run Android apps… sort of Wed, 29 Apr 2015 19:41:23 +0000 windows 10 wallpaper

Yesterday, we heard about Microsoft’s plans to get Android apps to run on Windows 10. We likened the idea to Blackberry’s Android runtime used on their latest devices that allows Android developers to easily port their apps over.

Well, the news was true, but only to a degree. Microsoft has equipped developers with tools to easily port their Android and iOS apps to Windows 10, only this is no mere emulation or runtime. Instead, it’s a custom platform called Astoria that opens up Windows 10 development to a number of new languages.

For Android, developers can now code directly in C++ and Java to make sure they don’t have to write entirely new code bases from scratch. iOS developers will also be treated to support for Objective-C. Microsoft will make it extremely easy for developers to get comfortable developing for Windows using this SDK.

There are a couple of hurdles to consider, though you can be sure Microsoft was mindful about them. Namely, they recognize that not all developers can fully port their code base to Windows 10 without the help of some of Google’s proprietary services and APIs.

Microsoft says it’s their goal to build many of these types of services and tools themselves to fill in some of those gaps. It’s not all that dissimilar to Amazon and their Kindle Fire devices. While apps can be ported over to those devices in native fashion, Amazon still had to create their own APIs and platforms to fill in for the missing Google bits.

Whether this is going to be enough to fix Microsoft’s apps problem is still up in the air, but at least they’ve gone about trying to fix it it in a very creative, sensible and — honestly — exciting way. We hope to learn more soon.

[via The Verge]

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Rumor: Microsoft could make it possible to run Android apps on Windows 10 Wed, 29 Apr 2015 00:21:27 +0000 android-on-windows-640x424

Microsoft’s big developer conference is coming up next week, and while there normally wouldn’t be many implications for Android outside of announcements pertaining to their Office suite of apps, there’s even more reason to pay attention to this year’s conference.

Windows enthusiast blogger Paul Thurrott has revealed that Microsoft will most likely announce that Windows 10 will support Android apps. The details are slim, but we imagine it wouldn’t be much different than what Blackberry did a couple of years ago. The Canadian company created an Android runtime that would allow Android apps to run as long as the app was properly ported by a developer, a process which only took about 5 minutes of work.

Microsoft has struggled in the apps department to this point, with many developers opting to skip their platform altogether when it comes to mobile apps. The likely reason is that there simply isn’t a big enough user base on Windows Phone for developers to commit resources to. On the flipside, users aren’t going to want to use a platform that doesn’t have as many apps as the competition.

It’s your classic chicken or egg scenario: something has to come first, and it’s not crazy to suggest Microsoft believes that “something” has to be the apps. The onus is on them to attract developers and persuade them to build apps for their platform, and while Microsoft’s current efforts have been noble it simply hasn’t been enough.

Tell a developer they can port their pre-existing app to your platform in 5 minutes and the needle might finally move. That brings more apps, which brings more users, which ultimately might convince more developers to learn how to build native apps for the platform and make it the thriving marketplace it needs to be to survive in today’s mobile world.

This obviously won’t offer as great an app experience as an Android phone would, what with many apps taking advantage of Google Play Services’ unique APIs and services to create rich features. But a decent stable of apps to full a couple of gaps can’t hurt Microsoft more than they’re already hurting.

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Google Play Services 7.3 allows multiple Android Wear devices to connect to a single phone Tue, 28 Apr 2015 20:16:50 +0000 Google Play ServicesGoogle has just announced a forthcoming upgrade to Google Play Services. It’s version 7.3, and while most of the changes are specific to developers — such as more robust Location APIs and enhancements to Google Fit’s APIs — there’s one neat future everyone should know about.

According to Google, the update will make it possible for multiple Android Wear devices to connect and sync to a single Android device. This means it won’t be much of an issue for users to switch between smart watches at ease. We’re not sure what sort of baller you’d have to be in order to own multiple Android Wear devices that you regularly switch between, but if you ever find yourself in that scenario then you’ll be glad this functionality is here.

Developers can grab the SDK right now by accepting the latest update, and it shan’t be long before the functionality arrives to handsets everywhere.

[via Google]

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Cyanogen debuts new video series to highlight Cyanogen OS’s best features Fri, 24 Apr 2015 17:11:40 +0000

Wondering why everyone goes so crazy over CyanogenMod / Cyanogen OS but not willing to flash it for yourself? Perhaps the company’s latest video series is what you need. They’re calling it Cyanogen Bites, a series of short video highlights showing you the best features of the custom Android-based OS.

Cyanogen Inc new logo

The first one is all about the app themer which lets you customize how individual app looks instead of having to use the same theme for the entire OS. Cool stuff, that, and you can really only get it if you use CyanogenMod. We’ll be on the lookout for more of these as time rolls on, for sure.

[via Cyanogen]

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Google Search will now show a download link for indexed apps that aren’t on your phone Fri, 17 Apr 2015 13:21:07 +0000 google app indexing apps result

Google’s app indexing feature for Android apps is a great way for content creators to make their goods more accessible. If you don’t know what it does, it allows Google’s Search engine to index articles within a news app, so that if a user searches for something and happens to come across a link from one of their favorite websites, they can open that article within that app.

Google’s improving the feature with a new tweak to Google Search results that will now let you know if a search result is indexed in an Android app, and will prompt you to download that app if it isn’t already on your phone. It’s a great way for publications to get new readers, and for users to learn about an app that they may not have known of otherwise.

Over 30 billion links have been indexed to date, and with how big mobile has become a part of our lives that number is only going to grow. Good on Google for figuring out a way for apps to become relevant search results instead of the typical blue link parade we’re used to.

[via Google]

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Cyanogen announces partnership with Microsoft that will bundle their apps on Cyanogen OS Thu, 16 Apr 2015 12:59:50 +0000 Microsoft logo cyanogenmod

OK, so Cyanogen was only half-joking about their operating system being “powered by Microsoft” on April Fools day. The company today announced that they’ve entered a strategic partnership with the Redmond-based company to have their apps pre-loaded on Cyanogen OS.

Bing services, Skype, OneDrive, OneNote, Outlook, and Microsoft Office will all find homes on devices that come with Cyanogen OS (and not necessarily CyanogenMod, the community-focused ROM). The apps will be “deeply integrated” with Cyanogen OS at its core, though we’re not expecting them to enable you to do anything that simply downloading the apps from the Google Play Store doesn’t already.

And that’s it folks — Cyanogen and Microsoft definitely are a thing, no matter how many rumor-busting reports wanted to deny it. Let us know how you feel about that in the comments ahead.

[via Digital Journal]

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7 New Material Design Guidelines that Android Developers should know Wed, 15 Apr 2015 18:19:15 +0000 materialdesign_introduction

In an effort to flesh out their Material Design guidelines, Google has released a whopping 7 new sections that’ll show you best practices for crafting user interfaces, handling data and providing an overall sensible user experience as it pertains to the current standard. Here are the new sections Google has added for developers to take a look at:

Data tables

Whether you’re including ingredients for a recipe, stats from a sports league, or results from an arcade game, Google gives you the lowdown on the best practices for incorporating data tables into your apps and websites with material design (read more).


Units and measurements

Ever wonder why phones from the low-end to high-end seem to ignore pixel widths and resolutions? They’re not being ignored, Skywalker… it’s all a matter of pixel density (and much more).


Floating Action Button

This beautiful addition to Android now gets its very own Material Design section. Learn when, where, and how to use the floating action button appropriately right here.


App structure

Having trouble deciding how to organize and structure the content in your app? Google has some ideas for you.


Adobe After Affects – Component Sticker Sheet

Users of Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator have long had access to system icons and component sticker sheets, but what about folks using Adobe After effects? Well… you’re now in luck.

After Affects Material Design

Data truncation and redaction

Feel free to show me your credit card number, expiration date, and secret pin number on the back… I’m an angel and would never use it for nefarious purposes. However, developers will want to protect their users from meanie heads by not showing important info like passwords, so Google is now helping you conform to their design standards in cases like these.

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 3.19.39 PM

Writing guidelines for Settings

It’s all about consistency. Nothing bothers me more than jumping into settings and not knowing what the heck is going to happen when I make a selection, so I really hope developers follow these guidelines closely.

android settings writing guidelines

And there’s more…

Google has also updated existing sections with more detailed guidelines, including topography, cards, dialog boxes, tabs and scrolling techniques. You can find all the newest changes right here, while the entirety of the Material Design guideline document is waiting for you here.

And remember developers, while you’re not forced to follow these guidelines you’d be doing yourself a favor to make sure your app conforms to the latest standards. Not only will it improve usability for your existing loyal users, but it will help you gain a lot more visibility — users tend to be a lot more willing to check your app out if they see it uses Material Design.

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