Welcome to Android Police's live coverage of the Google I/O 2013 keynote. We'll be bringing you text and photos directly from the Moscone Center in San Francisco, courtesy of Artem, and the rest of the AP team will be on hand to provide commentary and additional details as the keynote progresses. To watch the keynote live on YouTube, head to this URL, or use the embedded video above the ScribbleLive widget.
Using a work phone and a personal phone at the same time sucks. That's the motivator behind the Bring Your Own Device ("BYOD") trend, wherein employees use their own smartphones for work-related tasks. Most people do this anyway, but it can become a real problem if you're working with sensitive data. That's where VMware comes in. This company specializes in virtualized PCs for remote access and security, and after years of development, it's expanding into mobile with Android. Too bad it's only available on Verizon at the moment - and only on two mid-range phones at that.
VMware's Horizon Mobile solution works like this: your company sets up a default mobile workspace, complete with apps, security measures, and even a wallpaper if they want.
If you're in the market for a new Android virtual keyboard, you could do a lot worse than SwiftKey, especially since it's just been updated to version 4.1. In the company's ceaseless drive to improve every nook and cranny of the app they've added three shiny new themes: Regal (purple), Pitch (black) and Dusk (navy blue). In addition, both the smartphone and tablet version of the swiping, predicting, multi-language keyboard are on sale for half off. You can pick them up for just two bucks each (£1.49/€1.99) at the moment.
The themes are pretty swanky, and should make SwiftKey more attractive for those users who just have to make their keyboard match their launcher icons (you know who you are).
Google Maps has been performing solid, mostly thankless service for more than eight years now, and last week its most significant update yet was leaked. It's that time of year, so we naturally assumed that we'd be hearing more about it at today's Google I/O keynote, but someone in Mountain View must have been a little quick on the trigger. Droid Life spotted a signup page for the revamped web interface and managed to grab a few screenshots before it was hastily shoved back in the digital closet.
Between this and a string of small maintenance updates to Google Maps for Android (not to mention a name change - the Play Store entry is just "Maps" now) we think there's a pretty good chance that the Google Maps app will also get a major overhaul in the very near future.
Hey HP, we know you're new to the Android game, so here's a tip: if you've got a hot new piece of hardware, the absolute worst time to announce it is a few hours before Google I/O. That said, the new SlateBook x2 might garner some interest thanks to its internals alone - it's one of the first devices after NVIDIA's own Shield to use the Tegra 4 SoC. Throw in a 10.1-inch 1920x1200 screen and a very familiar-looking keyboard dock, and you've got the makings of a serious competitor. Well, you might, if it weren't for the high price tag and cheap-looking build.
StraightTalk has become a popular alternative for those who don't need all the bells and whistles of flagship smartphones, or don't want the sometimes ruinous cost of keeping them connected. But even budget carriers move with the times, and the Wal-Mart partner looks like it's finally ready to embrace LTE. The Samsung Galaxy S III is now available for purchase on StraightTalk's website, and should be at your nearest Wal-Mart soon. The phone is unbranded and comes with a reasonable sticker price of $439.99 unsubsidized.
There's just one fly in the ointment: It's a Sprint-compatible phone. The retail packaging for the GSIII popped up on HowardForums earlier today, and the LTE-S badge in the lower corner indicates that this model runs on Sprint's CDMA-LTE network.
Among dedicated Android fans, there is a consensus that stock Android is the best experience. That being said, not everyone is smitten with the Nexus hardware. A new option for conflicted users is rumored to be dropping tomorrow at Google I/O. A version of the Samsung Galaxy S4 – dubbed the Google Edition – could be released with the latest version of stock Android on board.
If this is indeed true, it wouldn't be the first time Google has created a new variant of a Samsung product. Back at I/O 2011 Google handed out a special edition Galaxy Tab 10.1 with stock Honeycomb.
On the eve of I/O, Google managed to finalize deals with Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment to bring a music subscription service to both YouTube and Google Play, according to a report by The Verge that is now being corroborated by The Wall Street Journal. If everything goes smoothly, a preview or launch of the new service tomorrow isn't out of the question. The Journal similarly says the streaming solution could launch "as soon as this week." That would give Google a substantial leg up over Apple, which is still in the process of negotiating contracts for its own music streaming solution.
Even if you're not physically attending Google I/O, the official convention app might serve you well. It allows attendees to scan badges, view schedules, and just guide themselves around with vector-based maps. If you're not going to be in Moscone Center tomorrow, you can stream sessions with the app. Waiting just about as long as possible, Google has pushed an update to the I/O app, and it adds some cool stuff.
Here's the full changelog: