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.
Android is coming to the car, and I don't mean a better way to attach your phone to the dashboard. Android Auto is officially a thing now, and more than 40 OEMs are now in the Open Auto Alliance. That includes 25 car makers that will be working with Android Auto. The first vehicles will come out later this year.
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.
Google showed off a bit more of Android Wear's functionality in the keynote presentation, but you really want to know about the hardware, right? Well, it's going to be out today. The LG G Watch is coming to Google Play later today.
Sundar Pichai let something of a bomb drop in regard to data privacy in apps on Android today at I/O, potentially addressing a long-standing complaint that the OS doesn't allow users enough control over what apps can do with their information, or if they can access it at all. Now, there's a tool to manage your privacy in Android, and it's called Universal Data Controls.
No interface was demoed, no real details were provided, and we don't even know if this is actually just putting all the existing Google privacy settings in a dedicated area and giving them a fresh coat of paint.
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.
Just a couple quick tidbits from the I/O keynote in case you missed them: Google will be publishing factory image previews of the "L" release of Android for the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 (presumably 2013 only) tomorrow morning, that being June 26th. We're guessing anyone can download them, so long as you're comfortable flashing an image to your device.
You can see a few more features and APIs in the L here.
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.
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. Update:This is live now.