Google I/O is only two days this year, but Google definitely crammed plenty of news into the first day. Today's keynote contained all the latest and greatest from Android on your phone, wrist, dashboard, and TV. Seriously, it was Android everywhere. Let's take a quick look at the high points of the day.
There are a ton of Android devices being actively used. In the past, Google has used the metric of device activations in its keynote, but this year is different. Android boss Sundar Pichai told us that Android has 1 billion 30-day active users. That is, devices that have been used in the last 30 days. That's pretty huge. On a similar note, the Google Drive document suite has 190 million active users (and some new features). Not as huge, but still impressive, and probably quite worrying for Microsoft.
Oh, Google. You're such a tease. After all the speculation on what it would be called, Google reps seriously got up on stage and referred to the next version of Android as "L" for an hour and a half. That's bold. We don't even know the version number, but maybe we will tomorrow. That's when the developer preview of Android L comes out. This is the first time Google has offered an early test build of the new platform, and it's a good thing too – Android L is a huge departure from KitKat.
Android L will have revamped notifications, the Material Design UI, updated web search, "Project Hera" multitasking, and more. Hit the links below for all the details.
- [I/O 2014] Google Demos New Notification Style in L With Smart Organization, Heads-Up, Personal Unlocking, And More
- [I/O 2014] New Mobile Search Experience Unveiled, Looks Amazing
- [I/O 2014] Google Developers YouTube Posts Material Design Video Just Before Keynote
- [I/O 2014] Hera Confirmed: Android L Will Allow Chrome Tabs And Other Apps To Fill Multiple Recents Slots With New API
- [I/O 2014] Numerous Enterprise-Related Security Enhancements Are Slated For The L Release, Including Samsung KNOX Integration
- [I/O 2014] Android L Performance Gains: ART Is Now The Default Runtime, Improved Graphics, And Drastically Better Battery Life
The only new hardware announced on the first day of I/O came in the form of the Android Wear powered LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live. We didn't know much about the Gear beforehand, but the G Watch has been teased half a dozen times. These devices are available for preorder now through Google Play and will ship early next month.
We finally got a real look at how Android Wear will work with cards, app integration, and voice control. One smart watch or the other is also the only thing Google gave away at the keynote. A Moto 360 is coming in the mail later this summer, but there was very little news about that device.
Android is coming to cars, and soon. 40 OEMs and 25 car makers have signed on to work with Android Auto, and the first vehicles will be rolling off assembly lines this year. Android Auto is driven by your phone, so you just connect it and all the things you care about – navigation, messaging, music, voice, and apps are all on the in-car display.
There's a robust SDK coming soon for devs to begin working on Android Auto-compatible apps.
Google TV didn't work out super well, but now Android TV is swooping in to pick up where GTV left off. Well, it's a lot more than that. This is a platform for watching video and playing games. Android TV has all of Google's services built into the core so you get robust voice search, and your games from Google Play will transfer over. Some devs are already getting started.
There will be Android TV boxes and TV sets with the software built-in. Google's developer preview box runs on a Tegra 4, but there will be a variety of hardware specs. The thing they'll all have in common is a killer big screen UI. Android TV will be out this fall alongside Android L.
- [I/O 2014] Chromecast To Get Live Screen Mirroring, Casting From Other Networks, And Google+ Photo Galleries Soon
- [I/O 2014] Android Apps, More Google Now Cards, Notification Mirroring, And Automatic Unlocking All Coming To Chrome OS
- [I/O 2014] Google Fit Platform Promises More Accessible Fitness Data, Multiple Partners Have Already Signed On
- [I/O 2014] Carrier Billing Coming To Tablets If It's Already Set Up On Your Phone
- Google Play Services 5.0 Is Rolling Out With New Security Tools, Android Wear Support, And More [APK Download]
- [New App] Google Slides App Joins Docs And Sheets In The Play Store
- [I/O 2014] Google Play Games Sees Improvements With Game Profiles, Quests, And Saved Games