Google I/O 2014
Today was the keynote for Google’s developer conference, Google I/O. This is an exciting time for people who develop for and work with Google’s services and platforms like Android, Chrome, and ChromeOS. This year all kinds of exciting new things were announced like Android L, Android apps running on your Chromebook and Android TV. These are all new form factors for app developers and designers to consider when working with these services but it is exciting to be a consumer right now and get to experience some of this stuff.
Not too long ago I posted about Android Wearables, a series of watches that integrate your Android experience with your wrist. Some people are for this and some are against, I personally really like my Pebble watch but I was really excited to see the Android wearables sync up with a phone and show all kinds of information that you could expect from your phone’s notification tray or your Google Now view.
The wearables have their own APIs and you can not only push notifications to the devices but write apps directly for these devices. These may be the devices you are waiting for.
Google finally announced Android TV today, this is something that lots of people were expecting but I am pretty excited about this. It brings Android to the biggest screen in your house and it looks great. There was a complete demo including apps being organized based on usage and recommending the next episode of the show you are watching. You are also able to play games on your TV which is especially cool for the casual gamer who wants to relax now and then.
One of the biggest things here is all the games can be cross played with their tablet and phone counterparts so if you have some friends over but only one controller, somebody can play on their tablet. The Android TVs will have full cast support so if you own an Android TV you wont need to also have a Chrome cast plugged in.
The new version of Android simply referred to as Android “L” was teased today. This version of Android is accompanied by a total face lift of Android and a whole wack of new features which help Android integrate with Chrome OS, Android Wear, and Android TV. This includes a huge focus on performance. L
is the first version of Android to use ART, the successor to the Dalvik, as its runtime. This is a big deal because it will offer greater performance and battery life for devices. L will have new battery enhancements and modes that will offer users and developers more granular control over what apps are consuming what. It will also be possible to run L in a battery saver mode, for optimal battery life.
The baked-in malware protected is improved, and Google is moving more aspects of OS updates, including security patches, to Google Play services. These updates will come out every six weeks and will be available to users without needing to rely on carrier and manufacturer updates. Google is trying to take more control over Android which is a good and bad thing. It is good because it means they are paying more attention to fragmentation and issues like malware but it is also bad because it could mean they make things a little less open.
L will be available to developers tonight!
I am a big fan of Chrome OS. I have been using my Chromebook every day and have done some impressive things on it like develop SysInfo directly on the Chromebook and install Ubuntu. It really made me happy to see it got some love today including a couple really cool features that make it an even better companion devices to my phone and tablet.
Google I/O has brought a new feature to ChromeOS that will automatically unlock your computer when you are near by. If your phone is near you while you’re using your Chromebook, you won’t need to manually sign in. The Chromebook will use your phone as verification and automatically unlock your Chrome laptop. You will also now receive phone calls and text messages directly on your Chrome device and if your battery runs out you will be notified of that as well.
There was a really exciting new feature teased although it is still experimental. Google showed off Android apps running on a Chromebook. This included only 4 popular apps but it shows that the potential is there. I really want this to happen because of extensively using ChromeOS and Android, it would be great to run my apps on Chrome.
Over all the entire keynote was great and I am excited to watch some more videos of the new tools and APIs coming to us developers. I am looking forward to working with some of these new form factors and I am really looking forward to the updates to ChromeOS. I personally love the idea of a unified experience and think it is about time. What do you think? Let me know in the comments.
Watch the full keynote right here.