Google I/O Keynote Focuses on Everything Android
Google I/O Keynote Focuses on Everything Android
by Don Reisinger
Big-Time Numbers Led the Show
Leading the show with a discussion of the popularity of Android, Google said that it now has 1 billion active monthly users, up from 538 million last year. Google also said there are now 20 billion text messages sent through Android devices each day, and users around the world are checking their Android products 100 billion times in each 24-hour period. Also, 62 percent of all Android shipments are now tablets.
An Inside Look at Android L
The fifth generation of Google's Android platform is called L, and it's available to developers. Android L comes with a new design that relies on a feature called Material Design, which aims to allow developers to add a sense of depth to their apps. According to Google, Material Design will help make Android's graphics respond more similarly to the way they would in the real world. L will come with a streamlined notifications service that provides instant access to notifications from the lock-screen. A new unlocking sequence uses everything from location to a person's voice to quickly unlock the device. Google said the option is more secure and will save users time.
Android Wear's Feature Set Was On Display
Android Wear made a splash. The operating system designed for wearables allows for full voice commands and touch-screen displays, and allows for access to notifications, apps on the user's device and calendar information. The operating system is also designed to take advantage of Google Now, the company's location-aware platform. With Google Now, the watch equipped with Android Wear will provide relevant information, based on where a person is or what they're doing. The Android Wear software development kit is available now.
Samsung and LG's Smartwatches Available to Order
Google surprised some with the announcement that, starting immediately, LG is offering up orders for its G Watch. Even more surprising, the company said that Samsung has joined the smartwatch fray and will offer an Android Wear-based device starting on June 25, as well. Samsung already has wearable devices, including smartwatches, but those run on its Tizen platform. The device announced by Google will come with Android Wear.
AndroidOne Goes for Low-Cost Mobile Devices
Google announced AndroidOne, which will provide a set of hardware reference platforms for companies to quickly and efficiently get Android-based mobile devices on store shelves. Those devices will be designed for emerging markets rather than developed countries, Google said. The company and its hardware partners hope to bring the devices to the billions across the globe who still don't have a mobile device and don't have the resources to buy what's currently available.
Android Auto Goes for a Ride
Android Auto, which will be launching on a wide range of cars by the end of this year, connects Android apps to vehicles. The technology is capable of casting the Android display to the screen in-car and providing access to apps that center on messaging, communication, navigation and more. Google Maps is fully integrated into the service, and users can input directions and respond to requests or text messages, all with their voice. Google said Android Auto will improve driver safety.
Android Goes to the Living Room With Android TV
Google is trying to make its presence felt in the television space with a new platform it's calling Android TV. The software, which will be running on set-top boxes this fall, comes with full support for a wide range of entertainment apps; the ability to control the device with a smartphone, tablet, or smartwatch; and gaming features. Android TV will be coming to set-top boxes and possibly televisions when it launches this fall.
Google Cares Deeply About the Enterprise
Many companies are requiring that employees carry a separate enterprise-controlled device in addition to the consumer product they normally carry around. To avoid that, Google said it has created a new enterprise-focused feature in Android that will allow users to combine the two devices and have two entirely separate installations of Android running on the same product.
Chromebooks Get Some Love at I/O
Google's Chrome OS also received some attention. There's now more integration between Android and Chrome, including a feature that allows a device running Android L to automatically unlock a Chromebook screen. Chromebooks can also receive status updates from a phone, similar to what Apple has done with the connection between iOS and OS X, and Android apps can now be mirrored to Chrome OS.
No New Nexus Devices Announced
Google focused its keynote on software, ditching any ideas that some analysts had that the company would be unveiling hardware at the show. Indeed, no new Nexus devices were announced, and it's not clear right now whether they will be unveiled at a later time or if Google is moving away from making hardware with ODM partners.