We heard some last-minute rumors that Samsung's shiny new flagship, not even released in every market, is getting a special Google Edition. Well it's true, boys and girls: the Galaxy S4 Google Edition is real, and it's going to feature the same stock Android experience as Nexus devices. The GS4 Google Edition will be sold through the Google Play Store with the same AT&T and T-Mobile bands as the Nexus 4, plus LTE support.
Aside from the software, it's the same great GS4 hardware you're used to, complete with 1080p Super AMOLED screen, 16GB of storage and the coveted SD card slot.
Today, Google brought it's A-game with a subscription service for Play Music. Now, you can pay a $9.99 monthly fee to get unlimited access to a library of music. It also comes with a new, updated Play Music app that doesn't look like complete garbage. There's also a host of features including the ability to turn any track into a radio station.
The one key way that this service distinguishes itself from other subscription services is that this includes all of your own personal music. In other words, the MP3s you've purchased and own are in the same app as all the music you've added to your library via your subscription.
Right off the bat here at Google I/O, the company is telling developers about some awesome new tools for apps. A new series of APIs will enable a variety of new services for both developers and end users. Here are some of the highlights.
Version 2 of the Location API, which includes:
Geofencing (assigning triggers to specific geographical locations) and up to 100 fences per app
a fused location provider, which should allow for active location gathering at just 1% battery drain per hour or increased accuracy
Today, Google announced Google Play game services that brings a suite of new features that game developers can integrate into their titles. The biggest of them is cloud data sync. Game developers can sync their players' progress across devices and platforms. Yes, this feature works on Android and iOS. This is hot.
In addition to cloud data sync, the suite of services also brings achievements and leaderboards. Any game can now tap into a unified system for showing off your accomplishments. If you want a more personal grandstanding experience, Google also introduced both live and turn-based multiplayer features for game developers to utilize.
Speaking at Google I/O, Android and Chrome chief Sundar Punchai just let on that there has now been over 900 million device activations. However, Google can't rest on its laurels. In the same breath as the announcement that Google has reached nearly a billion users in just a few years, the company showed off a map of countries where Android has less than 10% penetration. Those countries are green in the map below:
The message to the rest of the world is clear: Google's on its way to your town, too.
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.