Google announced Play Games at last year's I/O conference (hard to believe it's already been a year), and this year the company stepped it up a notch. They're integrating new features into the app, which includes a new Game Profile feature that exists and a sort of unified leaderboard with achievements and the like. Naturally, this lets users compare how they play with their friends. Nothing like a little competition, right?
If you happen to be in one of the 25 countries where Google offers direct carrier billing on mobile phones, good news: you'll soon be able to buy apps, movies, music, books, and the like on your tablet and have it billed to your carrier...even on Wi-Fi tablets.
So, your tablet doesn't have to actually be set up on your mobile account, just your phone. Once everything is good to go on the phone side, it should work through your Google account, thus allowing purchases to me made on tablets and show up on your monthly phone bill.
At this point, it's no secret that Google was going to unveil Android TV. We've already seen several leaks, and last night Vector Unit prematurely published a changelog with the words "AndroidTV" all over it. So yeah, we knew it was coming. And now it's here.
First things first – Android TV looks fantastic. It's a new take on Android, designed from the ground up with a specific experience in mind (just like Android Wear), only this one's for the big screen.
Welp, Samsung is getting in on the Android Wear game, as just announced at Google I/O. Its first AW watch is called the Gear Live, and it'll be available for purchase directly from Google Play later today (along with the LG G Watch).
Unfortunately, there's no pricing info available yet. Samsung just released its PR for Gear Live, and it's going to cost $199. Not bad at all.
While it's available for pre-order on the Play Store today, it'll be available on Amazon and Best Buy beginning on July 7th.
Android's L release is going to bring about a ton of new changes and improvements, and they took time to talk about a few of the most important today. That includes a new default runtime, improved graphics, and improved battery life.
ART is now the default runtime
We actually saw this coming, but it's now confirmed. ART brings twice the performance over the current runtime, Dalvik. It has been available as a preview for KitKat, but is becoming the default (and from what I can tell, only) runtime in the L release.
During the presentation for the L release, Google talked a little bit about the new search experience in Google Now. Firstly, there's a huge focus on animations and fluidity, with animations running at a super fluid 60 FPS (this is LEGO). It looks so good.
Oh, look...a new keyboard.
Further, all installed, relevant apps will be able to launch from Google Now. This has been a feature available to a handful of apps for a while now (like IMDb, for example), but with the L release, the API is becoming available to every developer, so all apps can be incorporated into Now's search results.
We knew this was coming, but Google just showed off the Android L release at I/O 2014. The entire thing appears to be based off off what we've come to know as Quantum Paper, but they're actually calling it Material Design in the release. It's so sexy.
It's definitely a very content-driven interface, with simplicity and minimalism the primary focus with the primary UI.
L appears to be a pretty major overhaul in both form and function, with things like enhanced lockscreen notifications, new navigation buttons, and a focus on fluid design and animations that make sense.
There's no denying that Samsung's current tablet lineup is a convoluted, confusing mess for anyone outside of the tech circle – just in the current run we have the Galaxy Tab 4 7, 8, 10.1; Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition, Galaxy Note Pro 12.2, Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1/12.2, and now the newest member of the family, the Galaxy Tab S. Deep down, I still wish they would've named it the Galaxy S Tab, just so we could call it the Galaxy Stab.
Hey, Spotify users – how's it going? It's about to be going even better, because with the latest update to the music streaming app, you can finally add full albums to playlists (I kind of can't believe this wasn't possible before), and it will also confirm if you try to add the same song to a playlist twice. Both are welcome features, and should improve the playlist experience pretty drastically – it'll definitely make it a lot easier to make playlists from the collected works of a single artist.
We've been hearing rumors about Android TV, Google's push to get Android into the set-top box market, for a while now, with the most recent leaks pointing towards a Google I/O announcement. Looks like we're definitely going to see Google take the wraps off of it tomorrow, as the Riptide GP2 dev prematurely posted a changelog that all but confirms it:
Unfortunately, the log has since been pulled, but not before an eagle-eyed Android fan could grab a screenshot and toss it onto Google+.