So I’ve done these the past few years mostly because I dig IO like you wouldn’t believe. It’s like my birthday, Halloween, and Christmas all at once. If you’re an Android fanboy it’s just absolute bliss.
Rather than force all of you to sit through the keynote, which is several hours long, I watch it on your behalf and take note of the important stuff and share it here. Why? Because not all of you visit all the tech sites that’ll cover it. I pay attention so you don’t have to and then break it down so that even my mom could understand all of it.
On that note, let’s get this show on the road. Keeping in mind of course as additional information is released on any/all of the items below I’ll update the post accordingly. (Information tends to come fast during IO and most sites provide additional updates on things throughout the day as they learn more from Google itself.)
Also, let’s just get it out of the way. Yes, Matias is there and he is indeed wearing one of his usual famous shirts.
I won’t lie. Secretly I want to believe that there is a man somewhere just waiting by a phone for the call. “I need a new shirt.” “Yes, sir. Praise Duarte,” is the response he gives. At which point he gets to designing a one off shirt and then making it before sending it to He Who I Am Not Worthy Enough To State His Full Name. At which point it is worn once and then never again. It is burned immediately after in a full Viking ceremony. I’m talking a boat, shirt is placed on it, it is set fire to, then pushed out to sea.
That is my dream of the birth, life, and death of those shirts and I won’t hear a word saying that my dream is not in fact a reality. Not. A. Word.
Onward and upward though!
Android M (Developer Preview)!
Interesting fact: There are over 4,000 Android devices out there, covering everything from devices found in emerging markets to high end devices.
The Nexus 5, 6, 9, and Player will all have the Developer Preview made available to them! (I shit you not, I’m jacking my mom’s Nexus 9 and loading it up on there as soon as it’s made available and I will share a review of how it is with you once I do.)
EDIT: Developer Previews are live! Grab them at the links below.
Nexus Player (Somewhat related, my brother just texted me saying he’s picking up a Nexus Player before the end of the day. If he does I’ll definitely load the M Developer Preview on that and play with it over the weekend. EDIT. My brother is on his way with the Nexus Player! He just called me. So I’ll get some hands on time with Android M before the end of the day. Huzzah!)
Want to know what’s coming with Android M? Read on!
App permissions will finally be a thing!
They’re finally simplifying permissions to a core number of permissions that will be easy to understand by end users.
Apps will no longer request permission upon installation either, permission will be asked for upon first time use. So say an app needs access to your microphone, it’ll ask for permission, which you can allow or deny, when it actually needs it. This is a one time thing though, before you think, “Damnit! I have to give permission every single time I want to use the mic in an app?!”
I want to say this takes care of potential issues that would be found otherwise. An example being a user denying a permission and then getting upset when say Google Maps doesn’t work. (Well, you denied it access to GPS/location. What did you expect?) That will no longer be the case. (Although having said that I can’t help but think of the wise words of Douglas Adams, “A common mistake when designing something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.”
Android Pay is coming!
This is going to be pretty easy to use. Think Google Wallet, minus the whole: Take out your phone, unlock your phone, launch the Google Wallet app, enter your PIN, and then place your phone near the terminal to process the transaction.
Now it’s gonna be: Take out phone, unlock it, put near terminal and pay.
Your payment info will be able to be stored with Android Pay and for the processing of payments it’ll generate a one-time use “card number”. So say someone manages to get that number through some method or other you and your stored cards (debit or credit, since Google is working with all the big names: Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express) will be perfectly safe. They won’t be able to do anything with that “card” that was used since it was a one off and one time thing.
Fingerprint support is also coming!
A standardized fingerprint support API will soon be included in Android.
You’ll be able to authorize payments on websites or in apps or the Play Store simply with your fingerprint. A pop up window will appear showing where you place your finger, you do that, that’s it. Authorization given, payment is made, you’re done.
Volume controls have been simplified and properly returned!
Behold, what the power of complaining can do! They brought it back and implemented it properly again.
This is something I feel needs some explanation. When you aren’t using your device it goes into standby. Yet some apps are still syncing this or that, even when your device is just there on your bed stand while you’re asleep. That’s why when you wake up in the morning and realize you forgot to plug your phone you notice the battery life has taken anywhere from a small to big hit.
No longer will that be the case!
Thanks to Doze your devices will slowly learn when you truly aren’t using them and minimize syncing anything and everything, therefore extending battery standby life significantly.
Somewhat related, cause of the whole power thing, Google will be embracing the new USB Type C standard.
And amazingly, you’ll be able to use the reversible connection to charge your phone from your tablet itself or vice versa. I hadn’t read about that being a thing or even possible with the new USB Type C standard until just today. So maybe it’s something specific to Android devices? Hell if I know, but I dig it.
Now on Tap!
This one seems beyond neat. Google Now will now have additional contextual awareness built in.
An example given during the keynote showed listening to Skrillex and then saying “OK Google” at which point Search popped up and the question was asked, “What is Skrillex’s name?” The result for his full name then popped up on screen without having to leave the original music app.
Another example was then given of emailing a friend and asking them if they wanted to go see Tomorrowland. Similar thing came up and info on the film was then shown.
Google Now is becoming better! Google Now will eventually become self aware. Keep that in mind, treat it well. Much like the velociraptors in Jurassic Park, it will remember. May death come swiftly to its enemies!
Gone will soon be the days of selecting what you want a link to open with. Deep linking will now be a thing and apps will be able to (on the server side) basically say, “Hey, that one goes with me. No need to make them choose what to open with.”
App data backup and restore!
Android Police noticed this one, which was very oddly left out of the keynote.
The automatic backup feature preserves the data your app creates on a user device by uploading it to the user’s Google Drive account and encrypting it. There is no charge to you or the user for data storage and the saved data does not count towards the user’s personal Drive quota. During the M Preview period, users can store up to 25MB per Android app.
Automatic backups occur every 24 hours, when the device is idle, charging, and connected to a Wi-Fi network. When these conditions are met, the Backup Manager service uploads all available backup data to the cloud. When the user transitions to a new device, or uninstalls and reinstalls the backed up app, a restore operation copies the backed up data into the newly installed app’s data directory.
This sounds amazing! That means that say you wiped a device or got a new one or what have you that once you signed up and after you selected your apps for installation (which is now handled on an as selected basis as of Lollipop after initial sign in) that the apps will download and then your settings and data will also download and be restored. You’ll basically be up and running in no time flat. (Well, for apps with not that much data. This may not be a thing for games, but the whole Cloud Sync stuff for Play Games should take care of things on that end. Well, for your saves and whatnot. You’d still have to download the additional game data for those larger games in the Play Store.)
Google Maps Offline (sans connectivity!)
This one is kind of awesome, Google Maps will later this year allow you have save maps for offline use without having a data connection.
You’ll be able to check reviews and times (opening and closing), as well as have access to turn-by-turn navigation, entirely while offline. (And I thought it was sweet that it gave the directions in Spanish, which I understood perfectly! The joys of growing up bilingual.)
Up until today, you could backup your pictures and videos with Google+ Photos. You didn’t necessarily have to use Google+ to take advantage of this, but enough people clearly didn’t care for the integration that Google has at last separated Photos into its own thing.
Oh yeah, that backing things up thing, unlimited and free storage for all!
A very welcome change also is the ability to no longer have to individually select each and every photo and video you want to share. You can now tap on the first one and then drag your finger selecting every other photo you wish. Yay!
Screenshot taken on my phone below.
Edit. As a_blackpanther said, “Unlimited photo storage for everyone. For free.” Yep. This is not limited to people in the United States for once. FOR EVERYONE! All hail, Google!
UPDATE. It’s live! You can grab it from the Play Store here (for your phones/tablets obviously).
Beyond that, a lot of other interesting things are going on but most of it is Developer type stuff.
So I will spare you most of the details minus Cliff Notes.
Google will be introducing Family Star to the Play Store. (Think more appropriate listing for families and kids, as well as filters and what have you.) This will be rolling out over the next few weeks.
Google is working on smarter Play Store searches. (This comes from people searching vaguely for apps. They’ll be able to enter a vague search and then see results that will be categorized from there so they can narrow things down and thus get a bit of help finding what they’re looking for.)
Developers will now be able to create custom landing pages for their apps. (Think of Google’s own apps. Now you’ll have a page specifically dedicated to Google’s apps, with more info on Google and the apps available there, as well as any app of their choosing being given prominent display there.)
Inbox by Gmail is open for all to use, no invite required!
I completely forgot to include this earlier, but Inbox by Gmail no longer requires an invite to use. (Keeping in mind you can try it out and go back to Gmail if you don’t like it!)
That’s all I got for now
But like I’ve said already up top, I’ll update the post as more info drops or gets clarified. Now if you’ll excuse me, I do believe it’s time for a nap. The excitement/adrenaline rush that I get every year with I/O is wearing off and I’m feeling sleepy. Apparently I will never outgrow afternoon naps and frankly why would I want to? They’re enjoyable!
Questions, comments, observations, etc. you know what to do with them.