Google I/O was pretty amazing this year, right? We got the deets on Material design, a preview version of Android L, the formal release of Android Wear, the first manifestations of Android TV and Android Auto, and plenty of other bits and pieces. However, all of that content and all of those developer sessions can take forever to absorb, and professional developers just don't have time for that. Now that all of the videos have been posted, I've combed through every last one to narrow the list down to just the sessions that absolutely can't be missed.
Last year, at Google I/O 2013, some major new features and improvements were announced for Google Cloud Messaging (GCM) -the replacement for Cloud to Device Messaging (C2DM). A couple of the new bits were even featured during the keynote, particularly notification syncing, which the audience loved. The one thing most people don't know is that most of the coolest things announced that year were marked as beta and locked behind an application process.
The new Google Fit Platform is a set of cross-platform APIs that developers can use to provide consumers with the means to better keep track of their fitness goals. The product intends to blend together data from multiple sources, so users can get a better overall picture of their performance and health. It empowers apps by providing them with access to a user's entire stream of fitness activity, letting software tap into data that it didn't capture itself and provide better recommendations.
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.
Jeff Bezos took to the stage earlier today to announce Amazon's first entrant into the highly competitive smartphone industry, the Fire Phone. Not only was the presentation loaded with some of the shiny new features of the handset and Fire OS, all meant for the press to disseminate to potential buyers, but there were also a few unusually blunt efforts to attract developers. In the midst of demonstrating Firefly and Dynamic Perspective, portions of the presentation were focused on explaining that developers would be able to extend these platform features in their own apps.
CheapCast has disappeared from the Play Store, taking with it a convenient way to turn any old Android device into a makeshift Chromecast. To make matters worse, there's a good chance the app will never return.
Since CheapCast's release, Google has added several cryptographic checks to make sure the Chromecast ecosystem only works with approved devices such as Google's $35 dongle, Google TVs, and the like. The feature now checks for a Google signed certificate, which comes preloaded on such products.
HTC didn't bump up the megapixel count on the HTC One M8's 4 "ultrapixel" camera over the course of the past year, but that doesn't make the company any less eager to show off what the phone can do. This year's flagship doesn't have just one camera, but two, and they're capable of pulling off no shortage of somewhat impressive, somewhat gimmicky features. Now, as the company promised on Big Unveil Day, the Dual Lens SDK Preview is available for download, waiting for developers to come and crack it open.
Last month Qualcomm released the SDK for its Toq smartwatch, inviting developers to create much needed apps for the device. Unsurprisingly, software hasn't exactly flooded in. Nevertheless, the Toq has just scored its largest win yet - the latest Augmented SmartWatch Pro update adds support for Qualcomm's wristwatch.
Primary features center around real-time alerts. Here are some fuzzy screens showing a Fitbit card and a weather alert.
The app also supports up to three Tasker tasks, with opening the card serving as the trigger.
As I'm sure you've seen by now, earlier today Google exploded a bombshell by unveiling the Android Wear smart watch initiative along with a number of partners that will be making the hardware later this year. Last but not least, the Android Wear Preview SDK was announced so that developers could start playing with the Android Wear watch emulator hooked up live to their devices and get the feel for how everything will work.