In the just concluded I/O 2014, Google introduced tons of amazing technologies, products and services. The biggest takeaway being: “Android reaching a billion monthly user’s benchmark” and introduction of next Android codenamed – “Android L”. The search-giant also unveiled the Android One campaign, meant to provide consistent Android experience among niche of budget android devices. Giving an edge to LG’s WebOS and Apple TV, Android has reentered into TV space with Android TV. There were also a lot of other products and projects to impress us, which we have hand-picked here.
After lots of speculations and leaks Google has finally unveiled the next Android – The Android L, the biggest Android upgrade since Android ICS. Android L is meant to introduce a completely new Android experience for both user and hire Android developers, providing a slew of modification in UI and API. This new version sports a sleek new user interface, performance upgrades and cross platform Development support for Android app development.
Google is also trying to fix the long lasting Android vow of battery life with this upgrade. But that’s not all the OS has to offer. There are tens of major and minor fixes in Android L which I am going to cover in next BlogSpot about Android L.
While selling off Motorola Mobility to Lenovo, Google retained the folks responsible for the modular phone concept Ara. The concept behind “Project ARA” is to provide highly-customizable smartphones, something in the line of “DIY Smartphone” or “Build your own smartphone”, same concept that revolutionized PC industry last decade. The vision here is to build smartphone like Lego bricks; swappable batteries, displays, cameras and memory modules. At I/O, Google demonstrated a prototype, though the prototype Android handset froze at the boot screen. But, Google has plans to release the “Project Ara Gray” phone in January 2015. Assembling your own smartphone, isn’t it cool?
Another impressive concept, something as per google – the future of imaging and mapping. Google’s Project Tango can actually map your surrounding in real-time 3D, it uses bunch of cameras and sensors for providing real-time 3D mapping. This idea is as interesting and futuristic as the Project Ara. However, unlike Ara, “Project Tango” actually works. At I/O, Tango’s project lead, Johny Lee, successfully demonstrated it by showing the 3D model of the stage in real time. Using this technology, Gadgets can help visually-impaired to navigate in unfamiliar places. Add a twist of AR (Augmented Reality) and Tango can become the next pinnacle of a new gaming revolution. Already available for developers, LG is working to include this technology in some future consumer tablet and expected to come with one soon.
Apple and Google love to compete with each other in almost every business whether it’s cloud, TV, smartphone or automobiles. When Apple introduced Apple’s Car Play in this year’s WDDC, adding bunch of blue-chip car OEMs as partners, there were lots of speculation about a Android offering, finally search-giant has come up with the Android Auto programme. No, this is not Google’s first offering to automobile industry, remember company’s driverless car? Google Auto is a software platform specifically designed to be integrated with dashboard displays. It runs as a bridge from your car to your Android smartphone, adding run maps, music, voice calls, and other apps on the car’s display. However, Google’s Car system doesn’t work wirelessly, we suppose wireless capability will be added in future upgrades. The phone has to be connected to the dashboard display using a USB cable. You can interact with these apps using the touchscreen, steering wheel buttons, and voice commands.
Though there are hundreds of fitness apps in Google Play, some are really neat offerings for keeping you fit, some acting as a virtual physical trainer. However, Google Fit is not such an offering, it’s a step ahead, rather than competing with them it actually improves those apps. Google Fit is actually made as a fitness tracking platform, enabling different health apps to share data among themselves. This is achieved by Google with the help of new common APIs to app makers. Yes, this is quite similar to what Apple’s Health kit platform and Microsoft’s Sensor Core offering. It’s a great step ahead, as all the health data in one place sounds more sense compared to in isolation. There are already number of companies Google has already partnered with, including Nike, Adidas, HTC, LG, and Intel. The SDK (software Development Kit) will be live in upcoming weeks, while the actual service is expected to release by the end of this year.
Google Services and Updates
Google core services also received some important updates. Google Play Games gets profiles, progress save and quests. Google Play now includes wearable’s support, more tools for developers, better security and a wallet. Google Drive now offers unlimited cloud storage to businesses for $10 per user per month. Quick Office is replaced by Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slides and added support for Microsoft Office file editing and saving.
Some Android apps can now be run on Chrome books, Google Cloud and Chrome cast gets new features and improvements, carrier billing can be enabled on tablets.