Sync across devices basically means that if you dismiss a Google+ notification on one device, be it your PC via the browser, your tablet or your phone, it will be dismissed on all of your other devices as well. You will no longer be nagged multiple times for the same notification. Also, your notification panel will have a separator between your read and unread notifications.
Other features included in this update (by the way, the new version number is 4.0.1 so we’re getting a lot for an 0.0.1 update) are a slide-out menu reminiscent of Gmail, Play Music, Drive and other newly-updated apps, and the ability to delete photos directly from Photos view. You will also see +1′s and reshares along with the comments when you tap on a post.
If you’re not keen on waiting for the update to appear in the Play Store on your device, you can trot on over to Android Police to download the app manually.
The Paranoid Android has released the source code on Github and it is available now, split intoPart 1 and Part 2. The Paranoid Android team states that “HALO is still in beta, code has not been cleaned, support for TabletUI and PIE is unfinished, among other minor things.” However, they are claiming that HALO is good enough to be released.
If you want to try the feature out for yourself on Paranoid Android, you can find download links for supported devices in this post. The new features are described as follows:
- HALO features described by the Paranoid Android team
Source [Paranoid Android (Google+)]
Tim Cook and crew are now off stage at WWDC, so as is typical around these parts when Apple announces something “revolutionary” (yes, they used the term again), we like to react. And even though Google has moved away from the series of cheap jabs during their own keynotes, Apple still does them in the bitterest and childish of fashions. If we didn’t toss out some thoughts in support, we wouldn’t be proper Android fans. Because after all, we are still Android fans.
So here we go, these are some initial thoughts to Apple’s big announcement of iOS 7 as compared to the current version of Android (4.2, Jelly Bean). In general, iOS 7 is a newly skinned version of iOS that finally matches up to current mobile design trends. Gone are the leather notebooks and green felt gaming tables – in is a minimal flat aesthetic. And to be perfectly honest, it does look beautiful. Jony Ive and his team did a fantastic job at skinning iOS and turning it into a modern looking mobile UI.
But every time Apple does this song and dance, we seem to sit throughout the keynote going, “Whoa, that’s been on Android forever.” Or even, “Umm, that looks just like how Android works.” Today was no different. While iOS 7 looks nice from the outside, many of the new goodies remind us a lot of our favorite mobile OS.
And not that we should need to remind you, but don’t take this too seriously. We’re just having some fun and pointing out things that gave us a chuckle. We are happy to see iOS evolve, just like we will be happy to see every other mobile OS evolve. Companies pushing boundaries and taking features to new levels is what we love about this industry.
(iOS 7 on the left, Android screenshot attached on the right.)
Apple is adding in a gesture for accessing Command Center from anywhere on an iOS device. A quick swipe up from the bottom of the screen and you are graced with a panel filled with toggles for Airplane mode, WiFi, Bluetooth, brightness settings, music controls, camera shortcut, and even a flashlight. As you all know, Android devices have had access to similar information for a while thanks to 3rd party skins from manufacturers. But in Android 4.2, Google introduced a panel as well that can be accessed with a two-finger swipe down from the notification bar. Music controls have been in the notification bar for some time, so that’s not necessarily new.
I found this out today, but apparently iOS did not let you access their notification center from the lock screen. Android has been on this trend for at least two versions, but Apple is just now introducing it with iOS 7. Once released, iOS users will be able to swipe down their notification bar without unlocking their device.
The new notification center has done away with that terrible looking felt background and is more transparent. There are tabs for “Today,” “All,” and “Missed.” I like the idea of panels, though Android seems to have been able to handle all of this information without needing extra panels. Thanks to actionable and collapsable notifications on Android, you only need one area for all of this.
Safari is Safari – most people can’t stand it and prefer browsers like Chrome for their browsing needs. But one thing we thought was interesting in the new UI of Safari, was the tab view that shows all open tabs. They bragged about the 3D appearance, scrolling, and quick access to other tabs yet we have had this in Chrome for Android since it was first released over a year ago.
Multi-tasking! iOS 7 has a new style of multi-tasking that only runs in the background when it thinks you want access to frequently used apps. It essentially learns from your patterns to help extend your battery life. That’s kind of cool, assuming it can learn properly, which we won’t know anything about until people can spend some time with it. But in general, we like the idea of phones learning our patterns to better optimize our lives with them.
But in terms of a UI, Apple created something semi-unique. It’s not an exact copy of Android, since it scrolls horizontally and features full-screen previews of currently running apps. It does look a lot like what HTC did back with Sense 4, though HTC abandoned the look after hearing pretty terrible reviews of the change.
Apple did in fact announce a Pandora competitor this morning called iTunes Radio. It’s really not all that game-changing or innovative. You can create your own radio playlists based off of songs, or you can use recommended stations that Apple has ready to go. There are massive “BUY” buttons all over the place, along with ads, unless you are an iTunes Match customer. But you can’t save full albums or tracks to your library like you can with Google’s new All Access service, nor can you pick and choose specific songs to create playlists. It’s just like Pandora in that it brings up songs that it thinks match what you are looking for and then allows you to downvote them or favorite them, so that they’ll play more often. It’s a nice add-on to iTunes, but nothing new.
In terms of looks, the new Google Music and new Music apps look a lot a like. We’re seeing white menus and similar UI with big, bold album art.
Also, we should point out that Google Music All Access gives you unlimited access to albums and songs because it comes with a monthly fee.
While I don’t know how many people actually use the stock Mail app in iOS, it’s easy to see that they have stolen features from the popular iOS app called Mailbox. Apple added in swiping gestures, for deleting, archiving, and “More” options. It’s a complete copy of what Mailbox already made popular, and I can’t believe people aren’t throwing massive fits over this. But then again, this is what Apple does time and time again to its developer community.
Oh, and Gmail has had swipe-to-delete/archive for longer than I can recall.
The new iOS Calendar app doesn’t look all that much like that of Android, but the similarities are still there. We’re looking at an ultra-minimal design, with flat rectangles, pastel-ish colors, and a white background rather than the round appearance of the current iOS Calendar app. And in fact, the newest Calendar app from Google has similar design in the circular color picker and date chooser to what we are seeing in iOS, only it came out a couple of weeks ago.
Apple added a bunch of slideout navigation drawers to apps like Mail and iMessage. We have seen these in Google apps for over a year now (even the ones on iOS), but they made a point of the addition today as if it were something “new” to app development. No, Apple, it’s not new.
We already covered this here.
Actually, Al Gore has nothing to do with Android that I know of, but he was there. So, here is a picture of him looking flat.
I’m sure there were other things we could list, since the keynote was lengthy, but these were the new features or ideas that stood out the most. As you can see, iOS 7 is actually a pretty major change from iOS6, bringing it steps closer to the power of Android. It’s not going to kill Android or give Apple some immediate leg up on the world’s most popular mobile operating system, but it does make at least the design of their UI a hell of a lot more appealing. In the end, Android users saw a lot of what they are already accustomed to, which they have already grown accustomed to.
Paranoid Android made a big splash in the Android ROM community when they allowed any supported device to run a tablet UI and set custom DPI settings for each app. The developers made more waves when they gave users the option to change the colors of the UI for each individual app. Then they introduced PIE controls to their ROM, allowing for a full-screen experience without the need for an on-screen navigation bar.
Recently, they have been building a new feature called HALO, which is a Facebook Chathead-like experience that puts all of your notifications in a “halo” that pops up on the side of your screen. Upon clicking on this HALO, a floating window pops up containing the notifying app’s UI. This allows you to stay in the app you were using before while you choose how to deal with the notification.
The functionality of HALO was completed during the alpha stage, but now that they are in beta they have completely rewritten HALO to “fight against the occasional jank,” while working on other bugfixes and styling of the feature, getting it to look more like what they referred to as “Android 5,” which is the card-oriented “Google Now/Keep” style. HALO as a whole should be much smoother and pretty slick looking.
The Paranoid Android team has added gestures “to dismiss notifications or hide HALO on the spot.” Also, every app in your system should now work in HALO, meaning you can have a floating window of any app on top of whatever you were doing before.
This should be one of the last few releases before the team drops the source for HALO and allows other people to look into what exactly goes on in HALO. They are shooting to get it out this weekend, but there are no guarantees that there will be no delays.
Builds will be uploaded as they are completed and mirrors will be posted in the Paranoid Android Google+ community.
The keyboard that came with Jelly Bean (now called “Google Keyboard”) introduced Google’s version of Swype, which they call Gesture Typing. The keyboard also works for 26 different languages and has next-word predictions and current-word completions, along with a very accurate auto-correct function and voice dictation.
What’s interesting about Google putting this in the Play Store is that they seem to be moving towards a separation of Google apps and Android. Now, they can update all of these core apps without updating Android. This also seemed to be a theme at I/O this year. This should allow for more often updated core apps while OS updates actually focus simply on the OS.
It should be noted that this keyboard is only available on Ice Cream Sandwich and up and it seems to be country-restricted, unfortunately.
Over the winter, the iOS Gmail app was updated to include an updated interface that was much prettier than the interface on Android. Many Android fans felt a little bit betrayed, but we waited, and hoped, and waited some more. Finally during Google I/O, a new interface was teased duringone of the developer sessions and we knew an update was near. The wait is over, as the app update was finally released today.
Right away you will see the slightly tweaked inbox view. Instead of having that boring grey man if a contact doesn’t have a contact picture, we now get the first letter of the sender’s name. This has been on iOS for months, but it is a welcome change to the Android app. Also, there is no long a bottom action bar. All of the actions have been moved to the top action bar. This is a nice way to centralize actions and give more room for the actual email, but it might be a hindrance on larger screen sizes.
Another change taken from iOS is the pull to refresh feature. This is another step in the push towards a gesture-based interface in lieu of a tap-based interface. I like it, but it doesn’t pull the list down with your finger, which is something I’m used to with apps like Falcon Pro and Facebook.
This update also brings the new sliding menu that Google has been pushing since I/O. The menu has all of the new tabs that Google has added along with your different accounts and labels. Careful when you use it though. If you aren’t close enough to the edge, you will swipe away an email.
The new app also has a one-click empty for trash and spam in the menu, which is a nice improvement.
Here are Vine’s initial features for Android:
The setup is simple enough – you are greeted by a fast-moving hot air balloon, after which you can either create an account or link it to your existing Twitter using its OAuth. Using Twitter authorization was just two taps for me and my account was created.
Once inside the application there are 4 scrollable tabs, using a similar interface as the native Twitter app. From there my brain cells began to melt. Judging from the main feed, there are few popular users who have created Vines. The UI has an appealing look, but the content is miserable. My miserably slow Sprint connection disrupted my ability to see any activity from my friends, so I skipped any hands-on time with that, but viewing activity from friends is where most of you will likely spend your time if you use Vine at all.
The “Explore” tab shows trending or popular hashtags from Twitter that are being used by the community at large to make Vines. Like the feed tab, it’s full of popular and trending items that either make me feel really old or really out of touch with at-large social media. I don’t see myself gaining any rich experience out of using this, but I’m sure teenagers and other younger users will find this tab quite enjoyable. Lastly, I am able to add friends from my contacts and from Twitter. I do not see a way to add my Facebook friends at this time, but even with that capability, personally I would not bring them into my Vine account.
The first version does not have front-facing camera support and users (including myself) were having issues saving any changes made in settings. These hiccups account for the pains developers like this face when wading into the Android development pool. All in all, it’s a fine first effort despite its many missing features. This application became a top-downloaded app on iOS and will likely reach a height of popularity on Android as well. The question is, do you plan to use Vine? You’re welcome to share your thoughts on the concept of the application or if you’re using it in the comments.
Vine is now available for free in the Google Play Store