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iOS 15 will reportedly include multiple notification modes and other improvements
by João Carrasqueira
Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) is set to take place on June 7, and that's where the company is expected to unveil its next wave of updates for all of its major software platforms. While it's still a few weeks away, reports of what the updates might include are already surfacing, which tends to happen every year. According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, iOS 15 is going to bring an array of improvements across notifications, the home screen (specifically on iPad), and privacy features.
Perhaps the most notable change is in the notification department, with Apple apparently planning to be implementing a multitude of modes that adjust notification settings based on a user's status. For example, if the user is driving, certain notifications may be set to vibrate only, and if they're working, they could be set to have sound. The report mentions driving, working, and sleeping modes, in addition to custom categories users can create, and users can choose their current status from the Control Center or on the lock screen.
Aside from notifications, users can also set up automatic replies to messages based on their status. Currently, auto-replies do exist in iOS, but only while the user is driving, but this will apparently be customizable for each of the modes mentioned above.
For iPad users, another notable upgrade will be on the Home screen. While iOS and iPadOS 14 introduced widgets, iPad users can only have them on the left side on the screen, separated from the app list. The report suggests that with iPadOS 15, it'll be possible to place widgets anywhere on the home screen, even filling the entire app grid with them.
Finally, another tidbit mentioned in the report is focused on privacy, that being a new menu where users can see which apps have been collecting data about them. Apple has previously implemented features like App Tracking Transparency, which warns users of apps that might collect data about them using the system's advertising identifier and requires the user to consent to that usage. In this case, the feature is designed to combat "special trackers" can collect data such as the user's phone number and location.
Apple's software updates typically have a bit more to them, so it's likely that this isn't all we'll be seeing at WWDC. It's also possible that some of these features get delayed or cancelled between now and the eventual release of the updates.
By Usama Jawad96
Android 12 Developer Preview 3 is out now for Pixel devices
by Usama Jawad
Google announced Android 12 back in February and released the first developer preview in the same month. Over time, it has released other developer previews too, each containing bug fixes and enhancements to the overall experience. Now, the company has rolled out Android 12 Developer Preview 3 for Pixel devices and it gears up for its first Beta launch next month.
Starting off with what's new in this release, we have improved app launch experiences. All apps will now launch with a a splash screen showing the app icon before transitioning to the actual app. Google hopes to bring consistency in design across apps with this change but has allowed developers to customize the experience using the SplashScreen API.
Similarly, there's a new template for call notifications in order to enhance visibility and to bring them in line with other notification components. Developers with apps which make use of dialer capabilities can take advantage of the CallStyle template to create notifications.
For apps that utilize exact alarms which bypass Doze and App Standby restrictions, Google has added a new permission that developers can include in their app manifest. However, users will also have visibility over this setting and can choose to disable it for specific apps. Google has also cautioned that it is better if developers move away from exact alarms where possible because they can cause a lot of battery drain if not used correctly.
Web linking is being improved in this release too. Essentially, web links that aren't approved manually by the user will open in the default web browser, rather than the user being given an option of how they want to open a link. Developers who want the links from their domain to open directly within their app are advised to make use of App Links to enable this behavior.
With this preview release, Google has also introduced richer haptic experiences that developers can utilize in the UI elements of their games. The company says that it will be collaborating with other OEMs "to bring the latest in haptics support to users across the ecosystem".
Over on the non-user facing side of things, we already know that Google is deprecating RenderScript in favor of Vulkan. Android 12 Developer Preview 3 also comes with an improved video encoding experience by standardizing keys for controlling video Quantization Parameters (QP).
The company has also noted that many OEMs include custom camera effects such as bokeh and HDR, and with the latest Android release, these will be exposed to the platform via the CameraX library. If a vendor does not provide an implementation of an effect, apps will default to the CameraX implementation of the same effect. This will enable apps to make use of these custom extensions without too many changes to the code.
Quad camera setups with extremely high resolution sensors are becoming quite common so Google has also introduced new platform APIs that enable apps to take advantage of specific sensors. On the machine learning (ML) side of things, the Neural Network API and ML accelerators have been enhanced to reduce overheads, and has also decoupled it from platform releases.
Better diagnostics for native app crashes are also included in this release by giving apps access to crash dump files for granular debugging. Lastly, more flexibility is being given to backup configurations too. Google says that:
In terms of timelines, Google has highlighted that with Android 12's release cadence, it is prioritizing app compatibility. With the first Beta update expected next month, it recommends that you gear up for compatibility testing so by the time the operating system reaches Platform Stability in August 2021 and all SDKs and APIs are finalized, you are ready with a compatible version of your app.
Android 12 Developer Preview 3 is available right now on Pixel 3/3 XL, Pixel 3a/3a XL, Pixel 4/4 XL, Pixel 4a/4a 5G, and Pixel 5. If you've already installed a developer preview release before, you'll receive the update automatically over-the-air (OTA). However, if you don't have a preview build on your device, you will need to flash it manually. Find out how to do so in our detailed guide here.
Android 12 may auto-hibernate your unused apps to free up storage
by Sayan Sen
With Android 11, Google introduced a feature that would automatically revoke permissions of unused apps. Now with its next major upgrade in Android 12, Google may expand upon that feature and automatically hibernate those apps according to a report by XDA. Not only that but "temporary files", which probably indicate cache files, compilation artifacts and such, of those unused apps, might be removed to free storage space. Back in January, XDA had spotted a couple of new commits to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) Gerrit which hinted that developers were working on such a feature.
In this build that was tested by XDA, one has to enable the "Remove permissions and free up space" option in the "Unused apps" section. The option was present in the "App info" for every installed app. The images below from left to right show the steps.
While the auto-hibernate and space-saving features are interesting and would certainly prove helpful, especially to Android users on budget phones with low storage, or as a battery-saving utility in general, there is no way to know if they will end up in the final build.
Source and images: XDA
By Jay Bonggolto
Motorola to release Moto G60 and Moto G40 Fusion on April 20 in India
by Jay Bonggolto
It has been quite some time since Motorola last introduced a smartphone in India. The company launched the Moto G9 in the country in August 2020 for ₹11,499, featuring a Snapdragon 662 SoC, 48MP camera, and a 5,000mAh battery with 20W fast charging support, among other features.
Later this month, Motorola is set to unveil two new devices in India as part of its G series. The new phones are the Moto G40 Fusion and Moto G60, which the firm teased today on its Instagram account. The handsets will be officially announced on April 20 in India.
Prior to the official unveiling, Motorola spilled the beans on some of the key specs of these handsets. The G40 Fusion is apparently the basic model between the two with 64MP triple camera. On the other hand, the G60 features a 108MP camera. That said, they have the same camera design on the back.
Both smartphones are powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 732G SoC, a chipset often associated with improved gaming experience. Both devices also have the same display. The G60 and G40 Fusion sport a 6.8-inch display with support for HDR10 and 120Hz refresh rate. There's also a punch-hole cutout on the screen for the selfie camera.
Motorola's teaser didn't mention anything about the phones' prices yet. The devices will be available to purchase via Flipkart.
By Jay Bonggolto
Microsoft Edge Canary is now available on Android with a new UI update
by Jay Bonggolto
Microsoft has quietly rolled out Edge Canary on Android with a fresh user interface, among other changes. The browser's Canary channel runs version 91 and it introduces a host of features such as access to experimental flags.
The latest build has version number 91.0.858.0 and Microsoft promises to release new builds every day. The Canary build was first spotted by a Reddit user and picked up by Aggiornamenti Lumia.
It's worth noting that Edge Canary on Android has a similar user experience and shell as the regular Edge browser for mobile. For example, it has the same page layout options as the regular Edge. However, the Canary channel does not have the option to view your reading list. It also has a different menu layout compared to the existing Edge mobile browser.
Today's release doesn't entirely come as a surprise seeing as the software giant announced last month that it planned to transition to a common codebase for the desktop, Android, and iOS versions later this year to streamline the development of any new features. The way things are at present, this task needs to be done three times due to the different codebases for Android, iOS, and the desktop.
If you want to try out the preview channel for Edge on Android, it is now available to download via the Google Play Store.