So today is Google I/O, meaning you're not getting your regularly expected Wednesday Android Update post. Today's all about I/O.
I know a few people on here check out the various Android and tech sites as religiously as I do, but the majority of people who like these posts and comment on them don't. So today I'm gonna make it about you all. Rather than force you to visit numerous other sites and then try and break down and figure out what the heck is going on I'm gonna do the work for you. As interesting stuff is unveiled and discussed I'll just add it to this post.
Basically you get my own liveblog of I/O. The keynote starts here in a few minutes, so I'll be watching it live (barring any emergencies here in the office that require my attention). So you'll need to be refreshing the page semi-regularly to get all the news and updates on what's going on in the world of Google and Android today.
And by liveblog I don't mean a running commentary of things as they happen, FYI. I mean as a general idea or product is unveiled/discussed I'll wait til it's completely done, insofar as that portion of IO is concerned, and then do a quick write-up on it and add it below.
And it's a go! If anyone wants to watch the event live for themselves they can do so here. That stream seems to be delayed by a few seconds though. Have it running on the IO app on my phone and it's a few seconds ahead, negligible seconds though.
This one is interesting. I missed the intro but it seems Google is working on phones for emerging markets. Think Nexus devices for places where the prices of Nexus devices is still too high. Same quick updates and stock Android we all Android purists know and love. Other highlights include dual SIM use, SD card, 4.5" screen and FM radio.The price point is aimed at being under $100.
This was mentioned quickly in passing by the way, as more information is released I'll update or change the post to reflect it.
Android "L" Developer Build
Oh god how I want this already. New version from Android and it's got a lot of the things I mentioned in passing yesterday. The look is different and familiar at the same time.
This is going to be available for download later today for "developer devices". What this means for the rest of us? Jack. Just that a new version of Android is coming likely later this summer or fall. What this means for those of us who tinker? Expect this to hit the XDA forums as soon as developers get the preview. That translates to "hitting your particular devices as soon as they can get it running on them", the last few go rounds this meant within a day or two or a week for some devices. (And I might now have a very legit reason to unlock my bootloader. Throw a custom recovery on there and load whatever ROM appears based on "L" as soon as it drops.)
The best part as usual was Matias Duarte's shirt. If you're familiar with who he is you know what I'm talking about, if you don't expect pics when I can post them.
Either way the new design and UI guidelines I mentioned in passing yesterday are coming in this new version of Android. Like Pessimippopotamus stated in the comments, it's referred to as "Material" and it's got card layers built into the UI. Explaining it would be tough, so I'll throw up pics when I can or link to a video of it in action once that's uploaded separately.
Dalvik is dead. Long live ART! This is a run-time that means absolutely nothing to most of you, but it really helps out with memory usage (and even battery life). It's available for use in Kit Kat right now (but has to be enabled manually).
There's going to be a huge change to notifications. You'll be able to see them on your lockscreen now and if you swipe down they expand and if you tap you can launch the respective app for a given notification. On top of this there's going to be heads up notification. If you've ever used certain custom ROMs or have been keeping up with news lately, this is basically a floating notification. You can be in a given app and still see notifications come in as floating ones that can be dismissed or interacted with (likely launching the given app tied to that notification). If it's anything like some of the stuff out there right now, you'll be able to specify which apps you want to see heads up notifications for.
It is also far from a gimmicky thing in my opinion, the things you'll be able to do with a smartwatch are far too numerous to list all of them. Instead here are some highlights: turn by turn navigation, notification alerts and dismissals that will also reflect on your phone (and that extends to reminders, which will be contextually aware, and notes/voice memos), incoming calls will be displayed as well and you can choose to shoot a "can't talk now" SMS reply (which is sent via your phone).
The first three Android Wear devices will be the LG G Watch, Samsung Gear Live and Moto 360. The first two will be available for purchase later today through the Play Store. The latter will be available by the end of summer.
Update! So the LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live haven't officially been released to the Play Store, some news has dropped that might have some of you intrigued. The Samsung Gear Live is going to be available for $199.99. Pre-orders will start today in the Play Store whenever it goes live, otherwise you'll be able to buy it at Best Buy or through Amazon on July 7th.
So Android is coming to your car this year, albeit in a manner that is purely hands free and voice activated. You want turn by turn nagivation via Maps? You got it. Want to fire up Play Music and listen to the latest Queens of the Stone Age album? You got that too. Someone sent you a text and you need to reply back right away? Go ahead and do so.
Much like Dalvik, GoogleTV is dead. Long live AndroidTV. The operating system we all know is now coming to a set top box in an interface that is more in line with what you'd expect to use on your television. Think of it like Chromecast's big brother. In fact, it'll work natively with any Chromecast supported app.
You'll be able to control it via your voice, a dedicated hardware remote, various game controllers and naturally using your phone or tablet.
A big thing on this device is going to be gaming and Play Games support, for those of you who care about it, will be there.
And while looking for something else just now I stumbled on that in the Play Store.
Not quite new, but it's getting some seriously big features pretty soon. You will be able to cast whatever is on your phone's display directly to it. Also, you'll no longer need an active WiFi connection to cast to the device, you will be able to do so solely through a mobile connection.
You'll also be able to get information regarding the photos that display when not in active use on your phone thanks to a cards like interface with plenty of information. Also, you'll be able to cast photos (although not locally stored ones, instead you'll likely be using those stored on your Google+ galleries).
I don't know about you all, but I use Drive regularly for document storage and creation, including stuff I create offline using Microsoft Office. Well, now you'll be able to save and edit files for Microsoft Office documents. Not a big thing, but useful for many I imagine.
And that's the long and short of this year's IO. Everything worth knowing about is up above.