Android users have long been asking Google for a native dark theme for the OS. There were reports that the company may introduce this with Android Q, the next major update for its mobile OS. Google confirmed today at its I/O 2019 developers conference that there will indeed be an Android Q dark theme.
It acknowledged that users have long been asking for this and that it has listened to them and developed a dark theme for Android Q. It works as you’d expect a feature like this to work. There will be a toggle in the Quick Settings menu. The system UI will switch from white to black when you tap on that toggle.
Now that Google has a full-fledged car infotainment platform in Android Automotive, it's opening the door to apps built for that platform. As of Google I/O, developers will have the power to create media apps for Android Automotive-equipped cars like the upcoming Polestar 2. It's using the same underlying framework as Android Auto, which should ensure that a favorite music or audiobook app will work properly across different touchscreen sizes and car customizations. You'll have to wait awhile for the first apps since the Polestar 2 doesn't arrive until 2020, and there aren't any publicly announced partners (although a preview graphic does show NPR One). Don't be surprised if the app ecosystem expands over the months ahead, though. And yes, Google intends to open Android Automotive to more than just media apps. The company has "plans" to enable apps for navigation, communication "and beyond," so you might have alternatives if you don't care for Google Maps or need a third-party internet calling service. The aim is ultimately to create an app ecosystem for cars that more closely resembles what you see on phones, rather than another take on the walled-off environments you see today. Android Developers
Reported by Jon Fingas for Engadget
As we’re starting to see more handset makers opt for the full-screen design, it also means that Android needs to start adapting where instead of relying on on-screen/soft keys, gestures will probably be a better idea. We’ve seen Google adopt some gestures with the Pixel 3 smartphones, but now it looks like they might be expanding on that.
In a report from XDA Developers, it appears that Google is testing out a “swipe back” gesture in Android Q. At the moment, going “back” in Android comes in the form of an on-screen button that users can tap to go back. This has been more or less the standard for many years now, but Google seems to be testing using gestures to go back instead.
It’s always a good idea of have two-step authentication enabled on your accounts to thwart phishing attempts. The most commonly used forms of authentication include push notifications and text messaging codes. However, hackers can work around that limitation with fake sign-in pages to steal credentials. Google thus considers security keys based on FIDO standards to be the strongest protection against such attempts and so it now allows your Android phone to double as one.
Google considers the security keys to be the strongest, most phishing-resistant method of two-factor authentication on the market. The physical keys protect users’ accounts from phishers by requiring them to tap their key during a sign-in attempt that’s flagged as unrecognized or suspicious.
We know that Google is looking to get into video game streaming as they ran a small test back in 2018 where gamers would stream games through the Chrome browser. In fact later this month at GDC, Google is expected to unveil more of their plans and leading up to the event, we might have an idea of what to expect.
As spotted by Owen Williams on Twitter, it appears that Google is adding support for the Nintendo Switch controllers to its Chrome browser. What does this mean? This means that in theory you should be able to play games through Chrome using your Nintendo Switch controllers if you prefer.
One of the drawbacks to being such a huge company with a product used by people all over the world is that sometimes it can lead to legal issues. Take for example over in India where recently Indian regulators have decided to launch an investigation into the company for alleged monopolistic practices regarding Android.
The investigation has yet to be made official, but the investigations will be led by the country’s antitrust regulator, the Competition Commission of India (CCI). Apparently this investigation will be based on a similar issue that the European Commission had with Google a while back, where they accused Google of abusing its position and dominance by forcing manufacturers to preinstall the company’s apps, such as Google Search and Chrome.
Google’s Gmail app on mobile has evolved over the years in its design, where it adopted the various design languages that Google has used in the past. Now it looks like Google is pushing out an update that will give its mobile app a brand new look with its Material Theme design language.
According to Google, “Today, we’re kicking off the year with a new look for Gmail on mobile, too. As part of the new design, you can quickly view attachments—like photos—without opening or scrolling through the conversation. It’s also easier to switch between personal and work accounts, so you can access all of your emails without breaking a sweat. And just like on the web, you’ll get big, red warnings to alert you when something looks phish-y.”
We know that every year Google releases new Pixel smartphones. This launch usually takes place in the later part of the year, but it seems that Google might have something early in the works. According to a recent benchmark sighting, a device called “Coral” was spotted where it looks to be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset and runs on Android Q.
It is unclear if this device will be one of the Pixel phones. This is because Google usually gives its Pixel phones codenames based on fish, and while “Coral” is aquatic themed, there is a good chance it might not be a Pixel handset. Instead some are speculating that this could be a Chromebook or tablet of sorts that is powered by Qualcomm’s chipset.
When you think of smart TVs with a 4K resolution, you might be concerned that it could be expensive. To a certain extent that is true of certain brands and models, but if you have a relatively small budget, then you might be interested to learn that Philips has actually launched a pretty affordable smart TV.
This comes in the form of two lineups where they are offered in a variety of sizes, ranging from 43-inches and going up to 75-inches, but the cheapest model will be priced starting at $350. This is incredibly affordable when you consider that the base model will come with 4K resolution and will run on Google’s Android TV platform with support for Google Assistant.
Many were surprised by the lack of features when Google launched its new Podcasts app. It didn’t have Cast support, auto-downloading, and compatibility with Android Auto. The company is rectifying at least one of things today. It has added support for Android Auto to the Podcasts app.
Most people tend to listen to podcasts on their commutes. It makes perfect sense to do so. It was thus surprising to see that Android Auto support was not a part of the new Podcasts app when it was released not too long ago.
Google’s Android operating system has found massive success in the mobile industry, which is why it wasn’t surprising that Google had attempted to bring its Android platform and branding to other areas, such as wearables (known as Android Wear before it was rebranded to Wear OS), cars (Android Auto), and even smart TVs with Android TV.
While we can’t speak for Wear OS or Android Auto, it seems that Android TV is doing pretty well for itself as Google is claiming that the platform is home to tens of millions of users. Speaking to Multichannel News (via Mashable), Google’s senior director of project management for Android TV Shalini Govil-Pai revealed those numbers.
Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich was released back in 2011, making it 7 years old. Given that it is now Android 9.0 Pie, it is safe to assume that many Android users have since updated to newer versions of Android and have gotten newer devices, so much so that it doesn’t come as a surprise that Google is now discontinuing support for the update.
Announced on its Android Developers Blog, Google has revealed that they will no longer be supporting devices that run on Android Ice Cream Sandwich. “The Android Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) platform is seven years old and the active device count has been below 1% for some time. Consequently, we are deprecating support for ICS in future releases of Google Play services. For devices running ICS, the Google Play Store will no longer update Play Services APK beyond version 14.7.99.”
The next major build for Android will be Android Q and it is largely expected that the update should be released in 2019. Also given that Google tends to release previews ahead of the release, we expect that this should remain the same as well. However it now seems that Android Q’s preview could potentially be released much earlier.
This was teased during the recent Android Dev Summit where according to Hung-ying Tyan from Google’s Project Treble team, he gave a talk about Generic System Images which is basically Android in its purest form based on AOSP code that allows for the testing of Android compatibility.