Phandroid » Developers Android Phone News, Rumors, Reviews, Apps, Forums & More! Fri, 31 Oct 2014 23:15:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Devs: “OK Google” search command works with any app with 6 quick lines of code Thu, 30 Oct 2014 15:30:31 +0000 okay-google-android

Google has just publicized an awesome feature for developers who want their apps to be searchable using the “OK Google” voice command. Putting 6 simple lines of code in your manifest file will enable Google Search to allow voice searches that originate from users using the command. Here are a couple of examples:

  • Ok Google, search pizza on Eat24”
  • Ok Google, search for hotels in Maui on TripAdvisor”

And here’s the line of code you’ll need to add to the AndroidManifest.xml file:

<activity android:name=".SearchableActivity">
        <action android:name=""/>
        <category android:name="android.intent.category.DEFAULT"/>

And that’s it. As long as your app has a searchable activity users can initiate the command and search like they would through Google’s own search engine (though you’ll need to be using English and have Google Search version 3.5 or higher installed on phones or tablets with Jelly Bean or higher). Can’t wait to see this make its way into many of the great apps in Google Play!

[via Google]

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Google posts Material Design checklist to help developers tick all the boxes Tue, 28 Oct 2014 18:33:24 +0000 material design layering

Material Design is the biggest design language shift we’ve had since the jump from Gingerbread to Ice Cream Sandwich, so it’s understandable if some developers have a tough time making sure they’ve hit all their marks when updating their applications. As such, Google has released a handy checklist guide to make sure you’re setting up your elements, layers and goodies the way they should.

Of course, guidelines are only guidelines and you don’t necessarily have to follow them to the letter, but users will appreciate familiar behavior when jumping from app to app so developers should definitely try and make sure they’re getting as close to Google’s suggestions as possible.

The document goes over animations, shadows, context-sensitive elements and buttons, and more. This will be what all of Google’s material design apps go by going forward so you can be sure this is the way to go if you want to keep up. Be sure to give the guide a full look over at Google’s blog post on the subject and get started on implementing those changes as soon as humanly possible!

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Baton brings Apple-like Handoff feature to CyanogenMod, signup for private beta here Mon, 27 Oct 2014 23:00:29 +0000 Nextbit Baton for CyanogenMod

As more and more Android users are finding themselves living in a multiple device world — tablets, smartwatches, smartphones — it’s getting increasingly more difficult to manage all the apps and data between these devices. While cloud save data is one way to tackle this problem, a new feature coming soon to Cyanogen in private beta is making this easier than ever before.

It’s called Baton and it was birthed out of the CodeMobile conference from a new startup — comprised of ex-Google, Apple, Dropbox and Amazon minds — called Nextbit. Simply put, Baton allows users to share data between devices, handing off current progress inside an app from a smartphone to a tablet (or vice versa). It’s very similar to the way Apple’s Handoff feature works, only this doesn’t require any extra coding from developers — it just works. Here’s the quick feature set:

  • Sync: Keeps apps and data in sync across multiple devices, allowing users to move fluidly from one device to the next without missing a beat.
  • Pass: Send any open app in its current state to another device, saving time and eliminating the tedious process of manually finding, downloading, and opening apps on different devices.
  • Backup and restore: Save apps and data to your Nextbit profile in the cloud, so you can always get your apps back on any device.

While certainly cool, Baton will only available to devices running CyanogenMod but users will need to apply on Nextbit’s site if they want in on the beta. While Cyanogen Inc is just the first step in Nextbit’s plans for Baton, they weren’t ready to reveal plans to support other devices (or ROMs) just yet.


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Google updates AppCompat so developers can bring Material Design to pre-Lollipop devices Thu, 23 Oct 2014 00:23:29 +0000 Android Developers Google Materia Design

When Google first unveiled their fresh new Material Design interface for Android 5.0 Lollipop (then known as Android L), we just about flipped. A mixture of colorful, clean UI and gorgeous animations, we’ve never seen Android look so beautiful and full of life. Since then, we’ve seen bits and pieces of Material make its way to Google’s core apps like Google+ and more recently the Google Play Store.

Now, in an update to AppCompat (V21), Google is looking to provide developers with the resources they need to bring the Android 5.0 look to older Android versions still running on the vast majority of devices (and will be for some time). They’ve also updated the RecyclerView, CardView and Palette libraries, which should be of some use.

Android Toolbar Widget

Google is also introducing the Toolbar widget which they say supports a more focused feature set than the Action Bar. The Toolbar can contain elements like a navigation button, branded logo image, title and subtitle, one or more custom views, and an action menu with optional overflow menu for additional actions (see above).

By giving developers the resources they need to beautify their apps with Material, Google is creating a more unified look to the apps that are made available in the Play Store. Getting developers to use these new tools, however, is another story. For more details on getting your pre-Lollipop apps updated with a Material Design, hit the link down below.

[Android Developers Blog]


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Digits is Twitter’s new tool to help developers avoid using passwords Wed, 22 Oct 2014 19:58:15 +0000 Twitter Digits concept app

As part of Twtiter’s first mobile developer conference in 4 years — dubbed Flight — the social network talked about their latest efforts to add millions of new users by way of eliminating the password. What’s wrong with the password? Well, aside from being easily forgotten (the more secure ones anyway), easily hacked, or just a pain in the butt to type out, they mostly rely on the user having some sort of email address.

After traveling the globe, Twitter’s Senior Product Manager found that when outside the US, not too many people have email accounts. This is why Twitter is now introducing Digits, the company’s new method of killing off passwords once and for all. It’s really not too different from the sign in method you’ve seen a few apps use already, and works by sending an SMS verification code to a phone, and then authenticating the user.

The big deal about Digits is that it’s not just Twitter’s new method for signing in users, it’s available to any and all developers looking to integrate the sign in method into their apps (and for free). Like Vine before it, the Twitter-owned Digits will act as its own separate brand and is yet another way for Twitter to help diversify themselves.

Developers interested in integrating Digits int their apps can learn more via Twitter’s developer site here.

[via The Verge]

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Download: 750 Material Design icons provided by Google Tue, 21 Oct 2014 15:53:42 +0000 Android 5.0 Lollipop DSC07199

App developers will want to get their hands on the latest collection of icons Google just open-sourced. Below is a download link to a pack of 750 different icons for use in apps, the mobile web and, well, whatever else you can think of. Many of the icons are featured throughout Android 5.0 Lollipop as part of Google’s Material Design makeover so your apps won’t look out of place when trying to keep up with the Joneses.

Here’s a quick list of what to expect from this huge pack of icons:

  • SVG versions of all icons in both 24px and 48px flavours
  • SVG and CSS sprites of all icons
  • 1x, 2x icons targeted at the Web (PNG)
  • 1x, 2x, 3x icons targeted at iOS (PNG)
  • Hi-dpi versions of all icons (hdpi, mdpi, xhdpi, xxhdpi, xxxhdpi) (PNG)

And below you’ll find a quick preview of some of the many icons available for use:

material action icons

material device icons

material image icons

Looking quite good to me. Be sure to give it a download and use them in your apps and websites as soon as you can, because it won’t be long before the first Android 5.0 devices hit the market.

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Hey Android Devs: $75 gets you a month-long sponsorship on! Mon, 20 Oct 2014 20:15:48 +0000 IMG_0037

It can be tough for a developer to get the word out about their apps and games. Google Play is big, so much so that good apps often get lost in a sea of digital mayhem. The bad news is it won’t be getting any smaller anytime soon. It’d be a shame to let all the hard work and time put into development go unseen. Advertisements work, but many independent developers don’t have very large marketing budgets. The good news? Phandroid understands.

That’s why we’re offering affordable sponsorship slots for apps and games right on! For just $300, your app will get 30 days of prominent placement in our apps and games widget that shows up on desktop and the mobile web throughout the entire site. That will get your app an estimated 1 million+ impressions for every month you’re signed up, and turning even just a few of those impressions into downloads could do wonders for the growth of your app.

So what exactly are you getting for your money? Let’s take a look:

  • One of 25 spots for your app or game icon (50 x 50 pixels) throughout linking directly to your download.
  • A post on at the end of each month mentioning and thanking all of our great sponsors, including you!

A couple of other things to note: when submitting your request for sponsorship, your creative must be that of an app icon in the aforementioned dimensions of 50 pixels by 50 pixels, and it must link directly to your app on Google Play.

We also want to stress that we want this to be an opportunity for serious, respected (and respectable) developers looking to advertise legitimate apps and games. In other words, if your app is more along the lines of a shameless Flappy Bird clone or something of the same ilk we reserve the right to deny it based on our own discretion.

To top all that off, there’d be no better time to sign up than right now as we’re offering 75% off the usual price to the first 20 developers who sign up by Friday, October 24th — that brings the cost of your first month to just $75! Simply use the promo code phandev at checkout to receive your discount.

This is a great opportunity to get your app or game off the ground and into the phones and tablets of the millions of Android users around the world. Be sure to take a look at this and many other great advertising opportunities available on Phandroid right here, and we’d love to hear from you so don’t hesitate to drop us a line if you have any questions!

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Final Android 5.0 Lollipop SDKs and APIs now available, as well as preview images for Nexus 5 and 7 Fri, 17 Oct 2014 17:09:52 +0000 Lollipop-Forrest-Cropped large

Developers, listen up: Android 5.0 Lollipop will soon be headed to handsets, and that means final APIs and SDKs are ready for you to begin developing against. You’ll use these to make sure everything’s good to go by the time the update begins hitting the first handsets (which are sure to be those from the Nexus camp).

There are over 5,000 new APIs to get your feet wet with, including libraries for material design animations and UI elements, new under-the-hood features, new user-facing features and more. You’ll be looking for API Level 21, and apps made at that level can now be uploaded to Google Play for use when Android Lollipop arrives for the masses.

Google also has tons of documents to help you get started with building Material Design user interfaces, building user interfaces for Android TV and a whole lot more. Here are a few relevant links for you to get started with:

And at the source link you’ll be able to find download links for the final preview images for both the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7, though they haven’t gone live as of the time of this writing (and note that these aren’t to be considered final images — those will be along once the final Android 5.0 upgrade begins rolling out for these devices).

Have fun and get those apps ready for the next exciting chapter of Android! As for users, be sure to get a refresher on everything new in Android 5.0 right here (and cross your fingers that it doesn’t take too long for it to make its way to your handset or tablet if you’re a non-Nexus user).

[via Android Developers]

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Become an Android programming master with this amazing deal Thu, 09 Oct 2014 13:43:03 +0000 android-programming-bundle

How do you turn $19 into a never-ending revenue stream? You invest that money in this Android fundamentals programming bundle.* Yes, for less than twenty bucks you can gain access to close to 10 hours of educational content, including over 105 lectures, that will help your learn and master everything you need to know to start publishing your own apps on the Google Play Store.

Learn & Master Android Programming Fundamentals – $19

What’s that, you say? You have absolutely zero programming experience? You won’t need it where we’re going. This set of lessons is designed for the absolute beginner and covers the ins and outs of creating and designing applications for Android in precise detail. The best part (other than the price)? You need only an internet-connected device and web browser to get started. Also included are working files so you can practice the concepts of each lesson as you go.

With these courses you will discover how to manipulate Android APIs, take advantage of system resources in your apps, and add animation and graphics. Concepts also include interfacing with device sensors, reading and writing to internal storage and SQLite databases, and more.

The total package would typically be valued at $99, but you’ll save 80% when buying through our deals site. For less than the price of dinner and a movie you will be well on your way to creating the next big app craze for Android. That’s a hard deal to turn down.

* no guarantee you will create the next Flappy Bird or otherwise earn boatloads of cash off of your app creations

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Google could be considering adding app and game trials to the Google Play Store Wed, 08 Oct 2014 20:01:36 +0000 Google Play Store 4.9.13 1

Despite numbers showing the Android OS dominating the smartphone market share, some were surprised to find that iOS users still fork over the most money for their apps (a staggering $5.1 million a day compared to Google’s $1.1 million according to recent reports). To help get wary consumers pulling the trigger on those $.99 cent apps, Google is reportedly mulling over the idea of implementing a try-before-you-buy trial period for games and apps in the Play Store.

Details are scarce, but it’s said to work in a similar fashion to the way you only have to download a portion of an app or game when updating (as opposed to the entire thing). This trial portion would allow for users to download only a specific portion of the app to see how it functions and if they like, download the rest of the app at full price. Like Costco but without fighting with kids over the last chicken nugget sample.

It’s pretty easy to see how this would not only save time, but decrease data costs when looking for something new to download outside of a WiFi connection (you know how much data costs these days). This would prove especially useful in emerging markets where data is further constricted. Of course, this is all just rumor at the moment with nothing set in stone.

[The Information | via Engadget]

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CyanogenMod 11.0 M11 begins rolling out, here’s the changelog Wed, 08 Oct 2014 13:53:57 +0000 cyanogenmod logo 5

CyanogenMod faithful be joyous, for a big new update is headed to your phone and/or tablet. CyanogenMod has announced the M11 release for CyanogenMod 11, which is to be seen as a major milestone release that brings a lot of changes and fixes. Folks brave enough to be on the nightlies track may have already been enjoying these features, but this is a rather important release for folks who prefer to stick with stable goods. Changelog? Thought you’d never ask:

  • New Devices: Galaxy S4 Active (jactivelte), Galaxy S4 SK I-9506 (ks01lte), Galaxy S5 GSM (klte), Galaxy Tab 10.1 (picassowifi), Galaxy Player 4.0 (ypg1)
  • Re-introduce Samsung Galaxy Relay 4G (apexqtmo) support
  • Fix signal strength showing ‘2147483647′ on certain devices
  • Frameworks & Core Apps: CAF and other upstream updates
  • Lockscreen: Do not play sounds while a phone call is active & MSIM updates
  • Frameworks: Add base & MSIM APIs for SEEK (Secure Element Evaluation Kit) support
  • Frameworks: Fix volume button changing two ‘steps’ per click
  • Frameworks: Add ‘Screen Off’ action for double-tap/long-press configuration options
  • Show devices connected to your WiFi (tethering) Hotspot
  • Fix bug related to ‘switch to last app’ action while in Recents view
  • Fix Navigation Bar arrow keys in RTL locales
  • Translations updates from CyanogenMod CrowdIn team
  • Adjustments to ‘Glove Mode’ (High Touch Sensitivity)
  • APN Updates for various regions
  • Camera: Add support for all available Slow Shutter speeds (hardware dependent); Improve shutter button
  • Dialer/InCallUI: Fix smartcover always showing answer fragment
  • LG G2: Address GPS and NFC issues
  • Base support for HTC Desire 816 & HTC One Mini 2 (pending nightlies)
  • Various security updates
  • General bug fixes

At this point we most likely won’t be seeing a lot more exciting additions as we’re on the road to Android L, but it’s always nice to get such a wide breadth of changes that should benefit a great majority of the user base. Be sure to head here to find the download for your specific device, and don’t forget that you take full responsibility for anything that happens with your phone. Happy flashing!

[via CyanogenMod]

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Latest Google Play suspension underscores the need for better developer relations Mon, 06 Oct 2014 20:14:23 +0000 Google Play Store wm watermark

Google strikes another one down with little to no sensible cause. Popular theme developer “the1dynasty” has had their Google Play developers’ account terminated due to what Google says is a failure to comply with their terms of use. According to the developer, Google issued them notices about several of their apps over copyright issues, all of which had some form of “Android” or “Google” in the package name or app name. That bit isn’t surprising — Google almost zapped Phandroid’s wares for the very same reason. They simply don’t want people to use Android in app names in a certain way so as to not confuse people into thinking these are “official” Android apps.

The problem this go ’round is that the developer didn’t fight the issue with Google. They complied immediately, and unpublished every single app Google submitted a complaint about upon receiving the notices. All seemed to be well until the big guys in Mountain View decided to terminate his entire Google Play account (seemingly after the 14-day grace period they now give you to make necessary changes). The developer writes:

Well, its officially official… My developer account has been terminated… Even with the themes that violated the Terms were removed, I am still hit with this automatically created email.

Said email states:

This is a notification that your Google Play Publisher account has been terminated.

REASON FOR TERMINATION: multiple violations of the Content Policy and Developer Distribution Agreement as outlinedd in previous emails sent to the registered email address of your Publisher account.

Please note that Google Play terminations are associated with developers, and may span multiple account registrations and related Google services. If you feel we have made an error, you can visit the Google Play Help Center article for additional information regarding this termination.

Please do not attempt to register a new developer account. We will not be restoring your account at this time.

The Google Play Team

Nothing surprising or out of the ordinary — just your typical canned response. This effectively erased his existence on Google Play. That this happened even after complying with Google’s request only adds fuel to what has become a nasty fire, with said fire being Google’s lack of proper developer relations.

coder coding developer development

The gentleman suspects Google has an automatic flagging system that finds apps with the word “Android” in their name and sends notices to violating developers, but Google’s automated emails and actions indicate the could be automating more than just the initial flag. Where’s the conversation between the developer and a moderator or administrator? Where’s the explanation and the chance to show Google that they’ve attempted to make things right?

Google’s reputation as a lax company when it comes comes to developer relations seems to be a double-edged sword. The good end of the sword is in the initial publishing of apps. Google’s screening system is famously more lax than their competitors. Apple, for instance, manually screens and approves every app that comes to their app store, which not only delays publishing but presents a chance for the app to be denied entrance. On the other hand, Google allows apps to appear in the Google Play Store almost as soon as developers upload them with no real review process to be had. They’d prefer to bust apps after the fact.

The downside to such a lax stance is when it comes to making sure a developer’s livelihood isn’t affected. Their “attack first, ask questions later” method of flagging and removing apps and terminating accounts is a very scary situation for developers who’ve relied on Google Play to afford a meal every night. It’s also a frustrating ordeal for the users downloading the apps.

To a bit of Google’s credit, it’s easy enough to appeal a decision to terminate an account and get back onto the road of recovery, but why should it have gotten this far? Why doesn’t Google provide an email address for developers manned by an actual human being to contact upon receiving Google Play violation notices? Why wasn’t he able to show Google that he removed the apps upon receiving the notices to avoid having his account terminated in the first place? And who’s to say the appeal will even work out (our own experiences suggest he should be able to get this sorted, but you never know)?

It’s a problem that’s probably never going to be 100% rectified in the near future, but we’re of the opinion that Google could be doing a lot more to help out the very folks who’ve allowed them to build as big of a software ecosystem as they have. Let’s hope this gentlemen finds his way in due time (otherwise we could be losing his awesome talents to the iOS customization scene).

[via Google+]

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Project Ara still on track for early 2015 release, will run on modified Android L version Tue, 30 Sep 2014 01:27:53 +0000 Project Ara prototype

It might still sound like science fiction, but it seems Project Ara is still on course for an early 2015 release. In a blog post posted earlier today, Phonebloks talks about how the Google ATAP team is gearing up to unveil the first fully functional Ara prototype smartphone — along with the release of a new Project Ara MDK — during their 2nd developers conference in December.

What’s more is because Android isn’t designed to support dynamic hardware configurations, Project Ara is teaming up with Linaro to have the device run on a modified version of Android L, Google’s next major Android release expected to launch later this year (October is the date being whispered around the web). The modified Android version will allow for users to quickly and easily hot swap most of the Ara modules — with the exception of the CPU and display — without having to first power down the device. This includes camera modules, battery modules, and more.

Project Ara Linaro Android L software

With partners like Toshiba, Foxconn, and more, all the modules will be sold in an online store or “Modular Marketplace” similar to the Google Play Store, and will need to be certified before being available to consumers.

We expect to learn much more during the devcon where we expect to see various modules and features never before seen on a smartphone. Pretty exciting stuff! If you’re curious to learn more, you can check out Project Ara lead Paul Eremenko’s talk during this year’s Linaro Connect USA 2014 event (starts at the 44:10 mark).

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Google provides new details on Android Auto – talks about design, architecture, and development process Mon, 29 Sep 2014 20:51:24 +0000 Android Auto smartphone connect

I think it’s safe to say we’re all anxiously awaiting the arrival of Android L, Google’s latest desert arriving later this year. But aside from a redesigned smartphone user interface with flashy new animations, it’s what Android L will introduce with Android Auto that really has our interest piqued.

Up until now, information about Android Auto was a bit scarce. Sure, Google had a landing page with signup information about what it will do, but additional information about actual development was absent. Today, Google is now providing Android developers with a brief overview about Android Auto, detailing areas such as design, architecture, user interface, and the development process.

Android Auto screenshots

Similar to Android Wear, Google is looking to keep things simple. Notifications will display in a very specific manner (just like Android Wear) and developers wont have too much leeway in how their apps can look when in media mode, Android Auto’s interface when handling music, podcasts, and other audio centric apps. For the most part, this means apps like Pandora will look nearly identical to apps like Google Play Music. While the general layout is off limits, developers can still choose their own icons, colors, or background images — but not much else. Android Auto provides a darker night mode, presumably switching on the fly once the sun sets (a feature we’ve seen in apps like Waze).

This will not only ensure a much more uniform experience, but ensure drivers will be familiar with all Android Auto apps out if the box and keeps everything safe and kosher with local driving laws as well as automotive OEMs. Google also assures developers that the tight restrictions make their coding life much easier in that they wont have to maintain a separate app specifically for Android Auto since it’s using the same functionality from their existing app.

If you’re a developer curious about learning more about Android Auto, or testing your app with the media client in the Android Auto SDK, hit up the source link below.

[Android Developers]

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Sony Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact receive root and custom recovery Mon, 29 Sep 2014 13:54:50 +0000 Sony-Xperia-Z3-Compact_2

It hasn’t been long since the Sony Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact’s debut, but the devices have already received root and a custom recovery for those looking to tinker with them. The former exploit can be applied to any handset with the official launch firmware and will enable you to use root apps and hacks. The custom recovery, which allows you to install custom after market ROMs once they start rolling in, requires an unlocked bootloader (though we hear that’s easy enough to obtain right now).

It’s not that surprising that the Z3 and Z3 Compact have gotten exploited so easily. Developers have had plenty of time to play round the the Xperia Z2, and we imagine Sony hasn’t changed much to the base framework of those devices for this new set of hardware.

Sony is also famously supportive of the development scene and they don’t tend to put the shackles on as tight as other companies might. XDA has all the goods for you here (Z3) and here (Z3 Compact) if you’re interested, but always know that you proceed at your own discretion and are responsible for what happens to your own device.

[via XperiaBlog]

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