There were plenty of features announced at Google I/O yesterday regarding Android and some of those new things are meant for Android Auto - Google's car dashboard system. The most exciting of them is the fact that you will no longer need an Auto-enabled vehicle to be able to benefit from the simplified car-friendly interface while you're driving. You can also learn more about the features in our video, below.
In the next few months, Android Auto will get several interesting additions. First is Waze compatibility with the app running on your dashboard and keeping you in the loop of hazards ahead and potential delays and problems. Second is OK Google hotwording which will activate voice commands when you say "OK Google" instead of requiring you to press a button to start listening.
Long ago in the far-off time of last year, NVIDIA announced a handful of current and last-gen console titles would be released for the Android TV-powered SHIELD. It took a long time, but eventually most of the promised high-profile games came along, including Metal Gear Rising, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, and War Thunder, but one of the more long-standing franchises was still a no-show before today. Capcom's Resident Evil, or at least the fifth entry in the main series, is available on the SHIELD TV right now.
If you've read any of my articles on Android Auto, you'll know that my thoughts - for the sake of brevity - are that it's just kind of OK. This is because Android Auto's philosophy of projection via smartphone over USB and Bluetooth is inherently limited in what it can actually do with a vehicle. And so, many of you have asked on Auto articles I've written in the past: "Why doesn't Google just build an Android Car OS?" WhileGoogle may not have been listening per se, they definitely had the same idea, and have created just that. You can also check out our video quickly going over the concept below.
NVIDIA is taking advantage of the excitement around Google I/O to announce some improvements to its own Android hardware. The SHIELD TV is getting some interesting new capabilities with its next update, version 3.2. Specifically, it will be the first Android TV hardware to support High Dynamic Range (HDR) video - that's something that's coming to Android N later, but NVIDIA wants to get a jump on the competition.
One of the more exciting revelations at the opening keynote of Google I/O 2016 is "Assistant," Google's upcoming expansion of its search tools. Explaining exactly what Assistant is and isn't is a bit tricky, because it both integrates a lot of existing Google technology and spills over into other upcoming services, like Google Home and Allo. Essentially, it's a new way to interact with Google Search, with the intention being that you "speak" with it in a more human fashion.
Fans of Android Wear have plenty to be excited about. A major update was just announced during the Google I/O 2016 keynote with many of the features users have been looking forward to. The headlining additions to the platform focus largely on more advanced watchfaces, improvements for messaging, and expanded integration and more automatic use of the Google Fit platform. A Preview program is also being launched for Wear, so developers will be able to work on new apps for the platform before official rollouts begin.
If you want a quick overview of what's new, watch our Wear 2.0 hands-on video.
Sometimes content is just best accessed in its native app. But just as often, we have no need for that app beyond a single specific instance. To deal with this inefficiency, Google is introducing Android Instant Apps. For content that is deep-linked into participating apps, the app will seamlessly download and install to let you use it in that very moment.
The key to this working out, said Google's Ellie Powers, is having participating apps be built with modules.
The past year has been good for Android. As Google likes to do during each of its annual developer conferences, it happily boasted about a few numbers. Engineering Vice President Dave Burke appeared happy to give the news.
Companies launched over 600 phones in the past year. During this time, Android users installed apps over 65 billion times.
Android has seen no shortage of Assassin's Creed companion apps. But games based on the franchise that were built explicitly for mobile devices? Those are rare. So rare, in fact, that 2014's Assassin's Creed Pirates has thus far been the only one. And to be fair, that game was hardly your typical AC experience.