One of the biggest technology events, the Google I/O 2014, was held this week at Moscone West, San Francisco. This year, in its Annual two-day developer conference, the search engine & mobile giant was expected to showcase new things in its kitty as well as spell out the near future about its ecosystem. Google didn’t disappoint as it unveiled a few new things and talked about its future strategy of strengthening Android. Here are some of the major Google I/O 2014-
1) Android One
Google kicked off the conference with “Android One”. It’s all about giving its user a unified Android experience. Google provides manufacturers with guidelines of minimum hardware requirements aimed at bringing quality experience. All the device under this initiative will run Stock Android and will receive updates automatically as the Nexus devices do. The good news is that this project is initiated from India. Google has already partnered with Indian manufacturers Micromax, Karbon and Spice and are reportedly priced below $100.
2) Android L
This is the latest version of Android – “Android L“, which is interesting as it breaks its own style of confectionery themed names. I guess this has to do with the other major releases on the day, as they all start with the word “Android”. The Prime feature of ‘L’ is the new design language which is called “Material Design”. The basic idea here is a consistent design which will run across all the phones, tablets, smart watches, web and Chrome OS. There is a very good performance boost in “Animations” which run at 60fps using Polymer, a prototyping tool. Another notable feature is the “Battery life” enhancement. Google showed off project “Volta”, which will help developers in analyzing battery usage of the app and optimize accordingly.
‘L’ now supports 64 bit architecture and the best part is existing apps need not change a thing to support it. Also another interesting fact mentioned was Google acquisition of “Appurify”. It is a mobile testing platform which could be very useful to test Android apps.
3) Android Wear
It’s been a couple of months since Android Wear SDK is released. Google gave a preview of Android Wear with the actual watches made by LG and Samsung. The idea of wearables is to show glance-able and relevant information at any given moment through cards which is similar to Google search on Android. The devices are voice enabled and can perform many actions like taking notes, alarms, reminders, texting etc. It can also track fitness and heart rate etc., through available sensors.
Android Wear supports both square and round screens. When the user installs an app from the Play Store the wearable apps are updated as soon as they are connected to the phone. Currently LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live are available on Play Store and Moto 360 will follow later.
4) Android Auto
You can now have Android in your automobile with Android Auto. It is completely voice enabled which basically aims for a hands free experience. The system works when an android device is connected to an Android compatible car, which casts the Auto UI version and can be controlled by voice commands. Google announced the Auto SDK for developers which will be available soon with the ‘L’ flavor, but feature support is limited to Streaming radio and Messaging. Google currently has 40 partners which include Porshe, Acura, Bentley and Audi.
5) Android TV
We have already seen Google TV which did not take off as expected. Now Google TV is re-branded as Android TV which tries to give the user the best TV experience. Android TV interface is smooth and supports voice search capabilities. The search feature is optimized for TV and its results are more relevant to TV Content. Android TV also supports games which can be controlled by phones, tablets and also game-pads. You can also cast videos and photos from Phones and Tablets.
Google roped in partners like Sony, Sharp and TPvision and also some other partners for set-top boxes. You can sign up to get the The Android TV SDK .
Chromecast is one of the successful casting devices currently available. It now allows devices to cast even when not on the same wifi network. The other feature which is called “Backdrop” allows users to feed images from an android or iOS device to the TV which creates a ambiance effect. Now Chromecast supports mirroring both Android Phones and tablets.
7) Android Apps on Chomebook
Google announced Android integration to Chrombook. The ‘L’ update can unlock Chromebook if an Android phone is nearby and also get alerts and notifications if a Android phone is nearby. Google also showed that select android apps like Vine, Evernote and Flipboard can run on Chromebook. This feature could be available to all the apps later this year.
8) Google Fit
Google announced “Google Fit” which is an open API for Fitness and Health apps. Google Fit blends data from multiple apps and devices, which help the developer to give a better understanding and recommendations to their users. The API’s will be available later this year.
Overall, the keynote followed by announcements, was on expected lines with Google endeavouring to build-up on its popular platform with Android TV & Android Auto gearing up to play an extended role in our lives.
Tags: Google IO 2014