By Ben Frenkel, Google Play Games team
Game developers, we’ve updated some of our popular developer tools to give you a consistent set of game services across platforms, a refreshed UI based on material design, and new tools to give you better visibility into what users are doing in your games.
Let’s take a look at the new features.
Real-time Multiplayer in the Play Games cross-platform C++ SDK
To make it easier to build cross-platform games, we’ve addedReal-Time Multiplayer (RTMP) to the latest Google Play Games C++ SDK. The addition of RTMP brings the C++ SDK to feature parity with the Play services SDK on Android and the Play Games iOS SDK. Learn more »
Material Design refresh across Android, cross-platform C++, and iOS SDKs
We’ve incorporated material design into the user-interface of the latest Play Games services SDKs for Android, cross-platform C++, and iOS. This gives you a bold, colorful design that’s consistent across all of your games, for all of your users. Learn more »
New quests features and completion statistics
Quests are a popular way to increase player engagement by adding fresh content without updating your game. We’ve added some new features to quests to make them easier to implement and manage.
First, we’ve simplified quests implementations by providing out-of-the-box toasts for “quest accepted” and “quest completed” events. You can invoke these toasts from your game with just a single call, on any platform. This removes the need to create your own custom toasts, though you are still free to do so.
You also have more insight into how your quests are performing through new in-line quest stats in the Developer Console. With these stats, you can better monitor how many people are completing their quests, so you can adjust the criteria to make them easier to achieve, if needed. Learn more »
Last, we’ve eliminated the 24-hour lead-time requirement for publishing and allowing repeating quests to have the same name. You now have the freedom to publish quests whenever you want with whatever name you want.
Multiplayer game statistics
Now when you add multiplayer support through Google Play game services, you get multiplayer stats for free, without having to implement a custom logging solution. You can simply visit the Developer Console to see how players are using your multiplayer integration and look at trends in overall usage. The new stats are available as tabs under the Engagement section. Learn more »
New game services insights and alerts
We’re continuing to expand the types of alerts we offer the Developer Console to let you know about more types of issues that might be affecting your users’ gameplay experiences. You’ll now get an alert when you have a broken implementation of real-time and turn-based multiplayer, and we’ll also notify you if your Achievements and Leaderboard implementations use too many duplicate images. Learn more »
You can get started with all of these new features right away. Visit the Google Play game services developer site to download the updated SDKs. For migration details on the Game Services SDK for iOS, see the release notes. You can take a look at the new stats and alerts by visiting the Google Play Developer Console.
Whether you are new to Android and eager to try out every available option you see on the screen, or familiar with the system, including the annoyances that plague you on a daily basis, tips and tricks to get around a system is always helpful. We are here to help you with that.
In this post, we are featuring 10 useful Android tips and tricks that may improve your experience while using your Android device. Do note that the steps may vary a little from one Android phone to another due to the differences in the build and the OS version, but if you play around with it, the next step isn’t too far off.
1. Disable App Notifications
Bugged by annoying app notifications that just keep coming? If you don’t know already, these app notifications also drain your phone’s battery. If you want to turn them off, and you are on Jelly Bean 4.1 and above, here’s how:
- On any of your unwanted notifications in your notification bar, long press on the notification for a message box to appear.
- Tap on App Info > Untick Show Notifications > OK.
2. Disable Mobile Data
Whenever you don’t need to stay connected, disabling the Mobile Data can help keep your smartphone battery from draining too quickly. Turning off mobile data is as easy as:
- Going to Settings > Data Usage.
- Disable Mobile data by toggling the setting from ON to OFF.
3. Set Mobile Data Limit
Want to keep track of how far your usage is from your monthly mobile data limit? If you have ICS and above, there is a feature which lets you keep track of how much of the quota you have left.
- Head over to Settings > Data Usage.
- Set your data limit by dragging the orange line to reflect your monthly quota.
- Set your data usage cycle based on when your “month” starts and ends, and you’re done.
You will be alerted once you hit the limit you have set. Note that the tracked data usage of your phone may vary slightly than your carrier’s tracking.
4. Add Multiple Google Accounts
You need a Google account to use an Android phone but did you know you can choose to run more than one Google account on your Android device. This is convenient if you use more than one account for several of your Google services. To add multiple Google accounts:
- Go to Settings > Add account.
- Select Google and setup your New or Existing Google account.
- Once added, choose what you want to sync with the account.
Repeat all the steps above if you want to add more accounts.
5. Disable automatic App Updates
Prefer to read through app permissions and manually pick which app updates to adopt? You can, but first you need to disable your automatic app updates. Here are the steps:
- Open Play Store and head over to Settings.
- Tap on Auto-update apps.
- Choose Do not auto-update apps.
If you want to enable the auto updates, follow the same path and choose Auto-update apps at any time or via Wi-Fi (available for certain Android devices only).
To update your apps manually, just open Play Store, and on the main page swipe in from the left and tap on My apps. You can tap on apps with pending updates and update them manually, or if you like to update them all at once, just tap on Update All.
6. How To Check For android System updates
For Android users that are using stock ROM, you may want to look for new updates to your system. To check for updates:
- Go to Settings > About phone/tablet.
- Tap on System updates.
- Tap Check now to look for system updates.
7. Changing Default Apps
If you have already set some default apps for particular tasks (e.g. using Chrome for opening web links) but wish to change this:
- Go to Settings > Apps.
- Swipe right and look for the All tab.
- Select the app you want to remove as default.
- Tap on Clear defaults.
8. Organize Homescreen Shortcuts With Folders
Once you have a lot of apps installed, your homescreen might be filled with app shortcuts. Unlike the app drawer, the apps on your home screen are not arranged alphabetically. So, you might want to create some folders for your homescreen shortcuts.
- Assuming you have more than a handful of shortcuts already on your homescreen, long press on any of the shortcuts and drag it onto another shortcut.
- A circle should now appear around the apps, indicating that a folder has been created.
- By tapping on the newly created folder, a mini window will pop up with your apps in it.
- You can drag and drop additional apps into the folder if you like. You can also rename the folder by tapping on the text area at the bottom of the mini window.
9. Disable Animations
Here’s a tip on how to make your Android device run a bit smoother: disable its animations. You will need to have access to Developer Options which can be found under Settings or About device.
Note: For some phones, you may need to go to Build number and tap on it repeatedly until you see “You are now a developer!”. Developer options are now enabled.
Under enabled Developer options, look for Window animation scale, Transition animation scale, and Animator duration scale. Then, turn them off (disable) them one at a time.
10. How to Turn Off Auto-Correction
Hate the fact that your phone is going English teacher mode on you? Turn off auto-correction for peace of mind when texting.
- Go to Settings > Language & input.
- Tap on the settings icon next to the keyboard that you are using, e.g. Google Keyboard.
- Look for Auto-correction and tap on it.
- Select Off to turn auto-correction off.
n this Post I will be giving you several Android Secret Codes. You often need to know many things about your smartphones hardware and software, these Android Secret Codes will help you know everything about your Smartphone.
In order to use all these Android Secret Codes you just need to simply open the Dialer of your smartphone and type the secret code of which ever function you need to perform out of all these and you are good to go.
Here Is the list of 20 Android Secret Codes for your Smartphone :
Phone Information, Usage and Battery – *#*#4636#*#*
IMEI Number – *#06#
Enter Service Menu Oan Newer Phones – *#0*#
Detailed Camera Information – *#*#34971539#*#*
Backup All Media Files – *#*#273282*255*663282*#*#*
Wireless LAN Test – *#*#232339#*#*
Enable Test Mode for Service – *#*#197328640#*#*
Back-light Test – *#*#0842#*#*
Test the Touchscreen – *#*#2664#*#*
Vibration Test – *#*#0842#*#*
FTA Software Version – *#*#1111#*#*
Complete Software and Hardware Info – *#12580*369#
Diagnostic Configuration – *#9090#
USB Logging Control – *#872564#
System Dump Mode – *#9900#
HSDPA/HSUPA Control Menu – *#301279#
View Phone Lock Status – *#7465625#
Reset the Data Partition to Factory State – *#*#7780#*#*
Format Your Device To Factory State (will delete everything on your phone) – *2767*3855#
Hidden Service Menu For Motorola Droid – ##7764726
So these were 20 Android Secret Codes for your Smartphone use them and enjoy playing around with your smartphone, do tell us which one you liked the most below in the comment section and keep stalking for more tweaks for your smartphone.
As fall rolls around, the leaves on the trees aren’t the only thing changing. There has been a shakeup in our monthly best phone rankings, including a new name at the top of our list. Which phone reigns supreme? Read on to find out.
5. HTC One M8
The One M8 sees its biggest drop since entering our top rankings, threatened by rumors that HTC will launch a version of the device with an improved camera next week. The current One M8 remains a favorite, however, for its dashing good looks and Sense interface.
4. Sony Xperia Z3
Yes, it seems like just yesterday that Sony released the Xperia Z2, but the Xperia Z3 is here. Like many a Sony handset before it, its premium design, powerful hardware, and waterproof construction give us every reason to want the Z3. Unfortunately, like many a Sony handset before it, a US release has not been one of the Japanese company’s priorities.
Samsung is about to outdo itself with the release of the Galaxy Note 4, but the phablet caters to a niche market. The Galaxy S5 remains the manufacturer’s go-to flagship, a contender that pairs premium performance with an innovative feature set that includes a fingerprint scanner, heart rate monitor, and waterproof design. They threw in everything but the kitchen sink (but you can still throw the GS5 into the kitchen sink).
2. LG G3
When it comes to hardware, it would be hard to find any phone on our list that can top the LG G3. With a Quad HD display, blazing quad-core performance, and a swanky new coat of paint for its Android interface, the phone moves to number two on our list after several months at the top by no fault of its own.
1. Moto X (2nd. Gen)
The wait was well worth it. Motorola’s Moto X update for 2014 is everything we loved about the original and more, leading many reviewers (including our own Chris Chavez) to declare the handset one of the best ever made. Solid design and construction meet premium specs in a package the buyer can customize to their liking. Throw in a clean implementation of Android in conjunction with the sort of bells and whistles we actually want to see in a smartphone, and we have a new name at the top of our list.
- Nexus 5 — The Nexus 5 exits our top list and lands in the honorable mentions as Google gears up to launch the handset’s successor in the coming weeks.
- Moto G (2nd. Gen) — Don’t let this phone’s $180 price tag fool you: this Android device is the real deal.
- OnePlus One — You still need an invite to buy, but there is no shame in asking around in order to get your hands on OnePlus’ lauded handset.
- Sony Xperia Z2 — The Xperia Z3 might be the better phone, but its launch means now is a great time to find a deal on this previous generation device.
- Oppo Find 7a — Think of it as a OnePlus One for people that don’t want to deal with the hassles of procuring a OnePlus One.
It’s rare these days that we should have to wait months for the launch of a currently announced smartphone, but it still happens. Samsung, why must you tease us?
Samsung’s next entry into the Galaxy Note line was announced last month and is already up for preorder around the globe. Its launch is only a few weeks away, making this device one that might be worth waiting for. It brings many of the features introduced with the Galaxy S5 to the Note form factor along with updated S Pen input and productivity enhancements. The only thing standing between the Note 4 and a spot among our top ranked phones is its retail availability.
This month’s rumor mill is Moto-centric, which is fitting considering their new Moto X topped our list in its first month of availability. What can we expect as a followup?
Signs point to Google unveiling their new Nexus lineup alongside the rollout of Android L sometime this month. Here’s hoping that pans out, because the Nexus 6 has been churning through the rumor mill for what seems like an eternity. The latest rumors suggest it will indeed feature a phablet-sized 5.9-inch display. Images show us a Motorola-made device that will share quite a bit in common with the new Moto X.
Motorola Droid Turbo
As if the top spot on our list and an upcoming Nexus device weren’t enough, there is yet another Motorola device that has the Android world buzzing. The latest in the long line of phones that arguably put Android on the map, the Motorola Droid Turbo looks to live every bit up to its name. Benchmark tests show a device running a Snapdragon 805 SoC, 3GB RAM, and Adreno 420 graphics.
We don’t have room for every Galaxy S variant on our list of top phones, but Amazon sure does. We’ve sorted through Amazon’s best sellers to pull out the top phones we haven’t already mentioned. Here’s what we got:
- Amazon Fire Phone
- Samsung Galaxy S4
- Samsung Galaxy S3
- HTC One M7
- Samsung Galaxy Note 3
- Samsung Galaxy S5 Sport
- Samsung Galaxy Mega
- Samsung Galaxy S5 Active
- Samsung Galaxy Note II
- LG G2
What Say You?
It’s an exciting time to be in the market for an Android phone. We know which one we would buy, how about you? Does our list jive with yours? Did we make a glaring error or leave off a phone worthy of mention? Sound off in the comments below and let us know your picks for best Android phones!
Android L might not look totally different when it makes its way out of the oven compared to what Google first showed at this past year’s I/O, but Google isn’t against changing a few things up ahead of its official release. A video from a recent Chromium report on a fairly recent build of Android L — build LRW87D – shows that the team has tweaked the looks of the status bar and navigation buttons.
The changes aren’t massive, though they do present enough of a difference to make us notice. Icons in the status bar for things like WiFi and battery level are now solid shapes instead of being broken up by thin lines. It should still be easy enough to tell how strong a signal is or how much battery you have left as the icons degrade so folks shouldn’t have too many qualms with that.
As for the navigation buttons, they have shrunken in size, become a bit brighter and the lines have thickened up a tad. Again, it’s a subtle change from current Android L builds but it makes the user interface look a lot more mature and tight than it originally did.
I especially like the change to the navigation buttons as I felt the previous design felt a bit too toyish. These tweaks make a world of difference to me despite them being the exact same shapes and designs. You can see the original Android L interface below so feel free to compare it to the changes seen in the screen grab above.
Of course, you may feel differently about all of it — you might have preferred the original Android L icons all along, or you may think this change is a step down. Let us know how you feel about the differences in the comments section below as we await the arrival of what should turn out to be a delectable treat. The quick video from the Chromium issue tracker is sitting below if you’re interested.
We’ve been keeping a close eye on Android Wear since it was first rumored and announced earlier this year. Not only are we huge fans of all mobile technology, including wearables like smartwatches, we’re also interested in how it all works andwhere it is headed in the future. We’ve stumbled across a little quirk in the Android Wear system that may be causing you, or at least the developers of your favorite Android Wear apps, some grief.
If your Android Wear app keeps closing unexpectedly, you are not alone.
Here is the scenario that developers are facing: when building a full screen Android Wear app that collects data from the accelerometer – this goes for many fitness related app out there – you may find that the app unexpectedly closes and returns you to the home screen of the device.
What is going on with that? The answer is pretty simple, Android Wear itself is also collecting accelerometer data, updating the pedometer step count. Android Wear is so exciting for your progress, it fires up a new info card and presents it to you on the home screen of your device.
As we keep tabs on this concern through the Android bug tracker, no official answers are available just yet. Perhaps developers are not supposed to build full screen apps for Android Wear that use the accelerometer, perhaps it is a bug, or maybe we’re just doing it wrong.
Luckily, the same user that filed the issue has a workaround. Developers, this is for you:
Instead of starting your app as a full screen activity, try creating a persistent notification in the context stream, then, give that notification an action to go full screen. This should prevent other cards from stopping your activity, so you can continue to collect accelerometer data and display it to your users.
We want to hear from you: Have you encountered an Android Wear app that closes unexpectedly? Are you a developer with any experience or insight into this particular situation, how did you overcome it?