Google has finally released the next version of the world's leading operating system—Android 6.0 Marshmallow. This latest iteration isn't as much of a visual overhaul as Lollipop was, but it packs in more new functionality than almost any update before it. Awesome features like Now on Tap, granular permissions control, and a deep sleep battery-saving feature called Doze round out the highlights, but there is far more to it than that.
Android Marshmallow was recently released, and as we've grown to expect, a root method was quickly made available to devices running the brand new operating system. Legendary root developer Chainfire has stated that he's working his way towards retiring from the scene, but he still had enough left in the tank to quickly publish an update to his popular SuperSU root method.
As much as app developers would like to simplify things with icons and visual cues, text is still a huge part of a smartphone's interface. Much of our media consumption is text-based, and while Google's Roboto font is a beautiful typeface, a little variety here and there certainly wouldn't hurt.
Emojis, smilies, emoticons—whatever you prefer to call them, these fun little guys can bring a text-based conversation to life. If you're worried that someone's sarcasm meter might be broken, just toss in a wink at the end of your message. Or perhaps you can't quite put your sentiment into words, but one of these little graphics suits the moment perfectly.
If you've ever attempted to report a bug to a developer, no doubt you've heard the response, "Get a logcat." This is infinitely important to a developer because of the fact that a logcat captures a full report of every command that was recently executed on your Android device, and it allows them to see exactly where something went wrong.
One of Android's strengths when compared to other mobile operating systems is its ability to set third-party apps as the default handler of certain file types. Instead of being stuck with pre-installed system apps when it comes to opening files and links, you're free to choose a better-fitting alternative.
Android 5.0 has a killer new feature that should make securing your device easier than ever. It's called Smart Lock, and it essentially lets you bypass your secure lock screen when you're in a "trusted environment." This means that if you're connected to a known Bluetooth device or near a pre-programmed NFC card, you don't have to bother entering your pattern, PIN, or password.
If you're an Android fan, you probably made your choice in mobile operating systems based on the insane level of customization options that Google's software offers. Don't like your home screen app? Simply replace it. Not a fan of a particular app's sharing system? No big deal, just share through a third-party app.
Google has a habit of starting on new projects for Android, then hiding them away if they didn't quite complete them in time for a major release. We saw this with multi-window mode last year (which is now an official Nougat feature), and this year, there was the hidden night mode setting that was easily activated.
For some reason, when you're typing in landscape mode, Android extends the text input field to cover every bit of the screen that the keyboard's not occupying. This gets pretty annoying sometimes, especially with messaging apps where you might need to reference what the other person just said in order to properly form your response.
You have a cool picture that you want to show someone, but when you hand your phone over, they start swiping through all of your photos. Surely, you've encountered this scenario before. I definitely have.
The Nexus 6 uses an Ambient Display notification system that was heavily inspired by the Active Display feature on the Moto X. Essentially, the device shows a black-and-white version of the lock screen whenever you receive a new notification or pick the phone up. This is all made possible by the N6's AMOLED display that doesn't have to waste any battery to power black pixels on the screen.
With Geohot's Towelroot allowing us to root our Nexus devices in under a minute without ever leaving Android, many of you are probably enjoying all of the Gadget Hacks that root access has unlocked.
How many times have you witnessed a beautiful moment that you would have loved to capture on film, only to watch it slip away as you struggled to unlock your phone and open your camera app?
Google I/O is like Christmas for Android enthusiasts. Every year, this conference showcases new and upcoming features for the world's leading mobile operating system, and this year's was no different. Shortly after announcing Android M, Google released a preview version of the upcoming firmware for Nexus devices.
Update, November 12, 2014: Android 5.0 Lollipop is officially out now. If you haven't gotten the OTA yet, check out our new guide on installing the official Lollipop builds on any Nexus for download links and instructions, for Mac or Windows.
It's hard enough to keep tabs on the battery life of one device, let alone all of the different gadgets that a typical consumer owns in this day and age. Say your smartphone is running low on juice, so you switch to your tablet only to find out that it's almost dead as well. Better hope your laptop is fully charged, right?
When it comes to theming your Android device, it's the little touches that count the most. That's why developer SArnab created the Android Theme Engine, an Xposed Module to theme those hard-to-reach corners of the Android System that often go untouched with other themes.
Desktop users have taken advantage of dual-booting operating systems for decades now. If your core system software is lacking in any regard, dual-booting a secondary OS can give you access to those features that you're missing out on.
If you're someone who likes to customize their user experience, stock Android is a lot like a blank canvas. The firmware that comes preinstalled on Nexus devices is just Android—no manufacturer skins or carrier bloat involved. This simplicity opens up the door for many root mods and flashable ZIPs that can be installed in a custom recovery.
Back in March, Samsung partnered with Slacker Radio to create a streaming service called Milk Music. For those of us who don't own a Galaxy device, this news was a non-starter, as it was exclusive to Samsung's flagship line of phones and tablets.
App-locking apps have been around for a while, but none have had quite the panache of developer Fazil Kunhamed's latest offering, Oops! AppLock. While others use a PIN or password to restrict access to apps that are installed on Android, AppLock uses a stealthy volume button combo.
Just about every softMod requires some kind of reboot. Whether it's because something in the System UI was changed, or because a ZIP needs to be flashed in custom recovery.
Deep down at the core of Android lies the system kernel, which serves as a bridge between software and hardware. Custom kernels can be installed in place of the stock offering, and these are generally optimized for better performance or increased battery efficiency.
These days, our smartphones carry some very sensitive data. From banking app passwords to personal photos, there are many things on your Nexus 5 that you might not want other people to have access to.
If you've been keeping up with anything Android these days, you've no doubt heard about a little dandy called Xposed Framework kicking around. Xposed, by XDA developer rovo89, is a framework for Android devices that lets you easily modify your stock or custom ROM.
It's really amazing how much you can do with root access on an Android device. From various themes to porting exclusive funtionality from other devices, the power of Superuser privileges is truly awesome.
The Nexus 6 is one of the few devices on the market that sports a 1440p "QHD" display. This means that the amount of pixels displayed is higher than almost any other smartphone, which sounds great on the surface, but is not without its drawbacks.
The flexibility within Android is pretty amazing. Unlike iOS, you can make a lot of modifications with nothing more than a download from Google Play, but to really step up your softModder game, you'll need to go a little further.
In the past few weeks, the internet has been abuzz with nightmarish horror stories of Comcast's questionable decision-making and downright terrible customer service. The central theme of many of these disputes with the nation's largest cable provider is that without evidence, the conglomerate will refuse to acknowledge its mistake and place the burden of proof on the customer.
Over the years, we've probably all complained at some point about Android's lack of an "Undo" feature. When you're typing something out, there are times when you might want to go back a step.
Here's one of those modding must-haves that's basic, yet easy enough to forget about. If you're going to install apps that don't live in the Google Play Store, like the Google Experience Launcher, the OnePlus One lock screen, or something that needs root privileges like the Xposed Framework, you need to turn on this setting.
If you're like me, then you've got an incredibly complicated Wi-Fi password with uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
If you're a fan of double-tap to wake gestures, you're going to love the newest app from ElementalX developer Aaron Segaert. On supported kernels, it allows you to associate custom apps and activities with each of the wake gestures you've set up, which will immediately be launched even with the screen off.
The Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P have identical camera hardware—in fact, both use one of the highest-end camera sensors ever put into a smartphone. The only real difference between the cameras on Google's latest flagship devices is that the 6P natively supports electronic image stabilization (EIS) whereas the 5X does not.
A new API in Android Lollipop allows apps to color the status bar to match their overall theme. Google billed this as a more immersive user experience that allows app developers to extend their color branding even further. It certainly seems like a win-win on the surface, but unfortunately, not many apps are using this feature yet.
There are so many things to love about the Nexus 5, from timely updates to newer versions of Android to a terrific blend of price and specs. But while mobile phone tech keeps churning along, battery technology isn't quite up to snuff yet, and I find myself wishing that my phone's battery lasted longer on a single charge.
You probably already know by now that a custom Android ROM can change your user experience and give you what feels like a new OS on your device, and there's no shortage of them out there to try out.
Android's lock screen has evolved quite a bit over the years. From the Donut days of two tabs that launched the phone app and unlocked the device, to KitKat's clean and simple approach, shortcuts have come and gone.
If there's one gripe I have with Android Lollipop, it's the new volume menu. When Priority mode was introduced, the stock volume panel was revamped to accommodate it, and somewhere along the way a bit of functionality was lost.