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.
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.
The new Google Fit Platform is a set of cross-platform APIs that developers can use to provide consumers with the means to better keep track of their fitness goals. The product intends to blend together data from multiple sources, so users can get a better overall picture of their performance and health. It empowers apps by providing them with access to a user's entire stream of fitness activity, letting software tap into data that it didn't capture itself and provide better recommendations.
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:
HTC Customers and Enthusiasts,
HTC is excited about the new features in Android L release and we can’t wait to share them with you.
Google's just brought the official Android "L" preview site online, and while there's not much there yet, you know this is the place to check for info about the latest version of Android.
The site gives a quick overview of what's new in "L" (with a focus on what's relevant for developers), Android Wear, Android TV, and Android Auto. Hit up the link below to check it out - you can probably expect more information to be added here as I/O goes on.
Spectators have long wondered whether/vehemently argued that Android and Chrome OS will merge someday, and while Google hasn't shifted towards turning the two operating systems into one, it has taken advantage of this year's Google I/O to show Android apps running on a Chromebook. The company only demoed a few of them and made no promises of complete compatibility across all apps, but it did show the likes of Evernote and Flipboard running just fine.
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.
The Moto 360 made a brief appearance in the I/O keynote with a very pretty watch face. You won't find very many pretty watch faces in the Moto 360 design contest. Still, the people have voted, and the winner has been picked. It's one David Pascual, who came up with this.
It's an attractive enough design, but there's a lot of stuff on it. It's probably too information-dense to work on a small smart watch screen.
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.