Use The Google Play Services Location APIs In Your Android Apps

Today, while troubleshooting an issue with the GPS location in an Android app I am working on as a side project, I stumbled upon this question on Stackoverflow and, reading the answers, I was brought to a page on the Google Developers website titled Making Your App Location-Aware.

An interesting extract from that page is this:

The Google Play services location APIs are preferred over the Android framework location APIs (android.location) as a way of adding location awareness to your app. If you are currently using the Android framework location APIs, you are strongly encouraged to switch to the Google Play services location APIs as soon as possible.

Well I guess you never stop learning. I had no idea about this and, looking at my Android project, I see that I have always used android.location rather than the Google Play Services location APIs.

I guess it’s time to at least try the Google APIs then, although I am not sure why it is recommended over Android’s own location API, but there must be a reason why we are strongly encouraged to switch.

First Impressions of CyanogenMod 13 Running On Samsung Galaxy S3

Cyanogenmod logo

I have been running CyanogenMod version 11 for several months on my Samsung Galaxy S3 and I love it. I have tried a few other ROMs but none of those have ever come close to the quality of CyanogenMod in my opinion. However, I was missing Android Lollipop but there was no official version for the S3, apparently because of hardware compatibility issues. So I pretty much forgot about it and decided to keep KitKat as my main mobile OS. The phone was handlind it extremely well so I wasn’t feeling compelled to upgrade, even though I was curious to try more recent versions of Android.

This continued until some weeks ago when I found out that somebody had developed a Marshmallow-based version of CyanogenMod for the S3. As of now, all releases are still under the nightlies branch, which means that they are not ready for release yet, and that you should definitely expect some bugs along the way. I don’t necessarily care too much as I like tinkering with stuff anyway so I chose to give it a go. Backed up my current ROM, installed CyanogenMod 13 and opengapps (Pico version of course :) ) and I was back up and running in just a few minutes.

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How To Pass Information From a Fragment To an Activity In Android

After my previous introductory post on Android fragments, the next natural step in the series would be to explain how to send information from a fragment to an activity.

This is not going to be a step-by-step tutorial like the previous one (it would be pointless to cover the project creation once again) but I will include all the necessary code to make fragment-to-activity communication work.

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Android Fragments – An Introductory Tutorial

Fragments are a way to make your Android application modular and more flexible. This is a short and, hopefully clear, introductory tutorial on how to implement fragment functionality in your Android application.

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Skype For Android Finally Updated Its Call Screen

I am a sucker for good-looking apps. Always been and probably always will be. That’s why I was pleasantly surprised that, in one of its latest updates, Skype for Android finally started sporting a nice UI when you press the Call button:

Skype for Android new Call screen UI

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Microsoft Acquired Swiftkey

The news became official yesterday, as published on the Swiftkey and Microsoft blogs. An extract from the Swiftkey blog:

We’re excited to announce an important milestone on SwiftKey’s journey. As of today, we have agreed to join the Microsoft family.

Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. Our mission is to enhance interaction between people and technology. We think these are a perfect match, and we believe joining Microsoft is the right next stage in our journey.

I must say that I could see this coming sooner or later (not that Microsoft specifically would buy it, but that one of the big players would do so).

I must also say that perhaps Microsoft is the least of all evils when it comes to this kind of things (remember what happened to the beautiful Sparrow app when it was acquired by Google?) If anything, at least now we will have Swiftkey on Windows Phone as well, which is one of the apps I was missing the most on the Lumia I own, having become so accustomed to using it daily on my Android phone.

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