Android Auto is starting to finally show up in cars and third-party head units, but there are still a handful of compatibility issues to work out, it seems. The latest update to the Android Auto app includes compatibility for the Samsung Galaxy S4 and S5 on AT&T, Sprint and Verizon.
It's been a year since Android Auto was announced, and it's only now starting to hit the market. You can buy a handful of cars with support for Auto (with a software update), and more vehicles are on the way. There are also some aftermarket head units that can smarten up your dumb old car. Now that it's finally reaching consumer availability, we can see how Google's car infotainment platform works.
I've had a chance to play with one of Pioneer's NEX Android Auto kits (the AVIC-8100NEX), and have already posted some initial impressions. Now let's dig in and explore this new frontier for Android.
Remember that "Voice Access" talk that was supposed to happen at I/O but was removed from the schedule? It turns out that, while it wasn't the full-on in-app voice craziness we had hoped for, Google did have some news about voice interactions to share.
Specifically, with Android M, Google has introduced the Voice Interaction API, which will allow apps to get a better handle on a user's voice-initiated requests. Check out the video below, by the leaders of a sandbox talk at I/O about voice actions.
The new API, as Google Search Developer Advocate Jarek Wilkiewicz explains, shouldn't be confused with custom voice actions.
The Google Keyboard has been updated to v4.1, and it brings a few handy new features. At the same time, several options have been removed. Google giveth and Google taketh away. One of the additions is cross-device dictionary sync, so maybe you can forgive Google on this one.
A few days ago, we wrote about Google's new My Account interface, which had its material design debut coinciding with Google I/O. The new interface makes checking and adjusting your security and privacy settings both beautiful and easy.
The My Account page wasn't the only account management tool that got some material love though - Google's account history interface has also received a facelift. The account history page now ties together all your history from various Google services - history is broken into Web & App, Voice & Audio, Device info, Location, YouTube Watch, and YouTube Search, along with a general heading to turn on or off history for each of the above sections.
You have two options when you sign up for Project Fi. You can buy a SIM card with a new Nexus 6. Or you can just buy the SIM card and stick it in your own Nexus 6. Want to use another phone? You can, as long as you tether it to a Nexus 6. A Project Fi SIM has to go into a Nexus 6.
For the time being, that eliminates a sizable chunk of interested consumers. Project Fi is relatively cheap, but the Nexus 6 is not. The latter is also a pretty girthy device to choose as your one-size-fits-all solution.
We've already talked about Doze in Android M a few times. That's a system-wide state that keeps your phone or tablet in deep sleep when it's not being used. App Standby is a distinct feature that works to keep individual unused apps from gobbling up power in the background. Depending on how many apps you install on your phone, this could be a bigger deal than Doze.
Touchscreens are okay, but what about putting those pipes to better use? The description of one of Google's talks at I/O later this month points to an interesting new feature called Voice Access. Basically, instead of touching the phone, you talk to it to control apps. So essentially Star Trek? That'd be rad.
Doze is one of the more interesting features of Android M, and also potentially huge for the platform. Google has said again and again that the new version of Android would improve battery life, but they might have actually done it this time. Doze puts apps into deep sleep when the device isn't in use to save power, and Google's developer docs explain exactly how this will work.