Buried deep in the list of new features revealed for the L release of Android, whenever that comes out and whatever it will be called when it is, was BLE Peripheral Mode. This addition to Android is part of the Bluetooth Low Energy profile. Previous versions of Android could use BLE-enabled devices, but only as a primary device. The newly-enabled Peripheral Mode should allow apps on any Android phone, tablet, or what have you to send data to other devices.
Well, that didn't take long. Just a couple of hours after the end of Google's I/O keynote, the Android TV remote control app has burst on to the Play Store. Download it now to control all the Android TV devices in your home! Which are none. Because Android TV isn't released yet. And won't be until the fall.
If you're wondering why Google even bothered to put the app on the Play Store in the first place, it's because it's designed for the developer kits currently on display at I/O.
Most of you are probably aware of the Razer brand through their admittedly awesome and phenomenally expensive PC gaming peripherals. Before the end of the year, they'll have a presence in the Android world as well. According to a press release, Razer will be developing its own Android TV product with (of course) a focus on gaming. It's currently planned for release in the fall, which might line it up with the wider Android TV debut.
Razer has been expanding into creating its own gaming hardware as of late, with its Blade laptops and Edge Windows tablet getting impressive feedback from reviewers even with their sky-high price tags.
This is Google Cardboard. It's really, really weird.
Here's the gist: Google is experimenting with virtual reality displays at I/O 2014, including a new VR toolkit for developers to try out. They've also created an Android app that will let you simulate an Oculus Rift-style, dual-screen VR headset using only your phone, kind of like that Samsung rumor from last month. Here's the problem: you don't have a headset. Google I/O attendees are getting free headsets that they can build out of cardboard, which then holds their phone at optimal VR-viewing distance.
The Android L release is so new it doesn't even have a name yet, but HTC wants to make sure you know it will be ready when it comes out. Or at least, shortly thereafter. Before the Google I/O 2014 keynote had even finished, HTC released the following statement on its software update page:
Chromecast might not be the most dramatic of Google's products on stage at I/O 2014, but it's getting just as much love. Rishi Chandra, product manager for Chromecast, demonstrated a lot of new features in his presentation. The low-cost streaming device will get newer and more advanced capabilities soon, including the ability to stream the screen contents of your phone or tablet directly to the television. We've seen this done with various third-party hacks, not to mention a peek or two on some people's active devices.
Today's Google I/O isn't exactly the coming out party for Android Wear - the company has already demonstrated the wearable platform in a preview form. But for developers, it's the main event: the full Wear software development kit will be available soon, and some of the more esoteric capabilities were elaborated upon. The early portions of the keynote demonstrated the user interface, which we've seen before, but the demonstrated capabilities are nonetheless impressive.
We've known about Project Hera for quite a while, and at Google I/O today, it was confirmed by Google's Director of Product Management for Chrome, Avni Shah. Hera is a new way for the web and apps to interact with each other on Android via an API, allowing apps like Chrome and Docs to use multiple scrolling items in the Recents menu at one time. Combined with the visual overhaul in the L release, this may drastically change the way that users interact with content.
At the Google I/O 2014 keynote, Google SVP Sundar Pichai announced that Android is now being used by more than a billion people every day. But in order to gain customers in the emerging market, Google has a new initiative: Android One. This program will be centered around affordable hardware with essential features, but it will also have an exciting software component.
In short, Android One is Nexus for emerging markets.
Take a gander at the video below, ladies and gents - it was just posted to the Google Developers YouTube account. "Material Design" doesn't feature any context, but anyone who's kept up with the leaks here at Android Police will probably notice some familiar design elements.
At the end of the video is a link to Google.com/design, which gives notes and suggestions on Google's new direction for both web and mobile visual design.