Buried deep in the list of new features revealed for the L release of Android, whenever that comes out and whatever it will be called when it is, was BLE Peripheral Mode. This addition to Android is part of the Bluetooth Low Energy profile. Previous versions of Android could use BLE-enabled devices, but only as a primary device. The newly-enabled Peripheral Mode should allow apps on any Android phone, tablet, or what have you to send data to other devices.
Well, that didn't take long. Just a couple of hours after the end of Google's I/O keynote, the Android TV remote control app has burst on to the Play Store. Download it now to control all the Android TV devices in your home! Which are none. Because Android TV isn't released yet. And won't be until the fall.
If you're wondering why Google even bothered to put the app on the Play Store in the first place, it's because it's designed for the developer kits currently on display at I/O.
Google I/O is barely under way and already Google is dropping news that would be considered huge on any other day. The latest – the third piece of the Google Drive app troika has been announced. Presentation app Slides is now live in the Play Store.
Just like the previously released Docs and Sheets apps, this one plugs into Google Drive to give you full editing and document creation capability using Google's presentation tool.
This is Google Cardboard. It's really, really weird.
Here's the gist: Google is experimenting with virtual reality displays at I/O 2014, including a new VR toolkit for developers to try out. They've also created an Android app that will let you simulate an Oculus Rift-style, dual-screen VR headset using only your phone, kind of like that Samsung rumor from last month. Here's the problem: you don't have a headset. Google I/O attendees are getting free headsets that they can build out of cardboard, which then holds their phone at optimal VR-viewing distance.
Chromecast might not be the most dramatic of Google's products on stage at I/O 2014, but it's getting just as much love. Rishi Chandra, product manager for Chromecast, demonstrated a lot of new features in his presentation. The low-cost streaming device will get newer and more advanced capabilities soon, including the ability to stream the screen contents of your phone or tablet directly to the television. We've seen this done with various third-party hacks, not to mention a peek or two on some people's active devices.
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.
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.
We had some information to share yesterday about Android notifications in L, so you might have been having a bit of deja vu during the demo. Android L has a new stacked card style for the notifications using the Material Design interface. The features are also getting a boost in L.
A while ago, we posted about explorations Google was undertaking in revamping Android's home screen. Part of this was a new notification shade that looked similar to Google Now.
Since then, we've seen new materials that show something a bit closer to what the notification shade and Quick Settings will resemble in Android's L release. The images we'll discuss in this post are based on more recent information, but as with any unreleased software, anything can change - particularly design.