One of the less exciting (but still important) announcements at Google I/O 2014 was that Google will be adopting part of Samsung KNOX as a security platform in Android itself. KNOX, which is currently only on Samsung devices, is a business-oriented security solution that keeps work and personal data separate and secure on a single device. Sounds pretty good, right? Not to BlackBerry CEO John Chen, but you know what is good enough?
Project Ara is still going strong, and Google demonstrated it at I/O at the ATAP presentation. Project Ara Technical Lead Paul Eremenko talks up the modular phone platform in the video below (starting at around 23:30), bringing the concept beyond simple phone component upgrades. "What if a phone could see in the dark? What if a phone could test if water is clean?" The collaborative Ara team wants the hardware to be just as flexible as the larger Android ecosystem.
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.
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.
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.
We knew this was coming, but Google just showed off the Android L release at I/O 2014. The entire thing appears to be based off off what we've come to know as Quantum Paper, but they're actually calling it Material Design in the release. It's so sexy.
It's definitely a very content-driven interface, with simplicity and minimalism the primary focus with the primary UI.
L appears to be a pretty major overhaul in both form and function, with things like enhanced lockscreen notifications, new navigation buttons, and a focus on fluid design and animations that make sense.