Google Play Services is that app on your phone that doesn't look like it does anything, but actually does a lot of things. This is how Google rolls out new services and features to the core of Android sans OS updates. Today we've got the details on Play Services v5.0. This covers some of the features Google announced in the I/O keynote and a few smaller ones as well.
Are you curious to see how all the new parts of Android will work together? Do you want this information delivered in advertisement form? Would you prefer this ad to feature an attractive yet non-threatening male model, a generic alt-rock backtrack, and a cute doggy? Then sit back and watch, my highly-specific friend, because your world is about to be rocked.
OK, so Google's latest advertisement isn't exactly breaking the mold here, but it does show a pretty seamless transition between an Android L phone, an Android Wear watch, an Android Auto car, and finishing with Android TV.
If you're still toting around a stock AT&T Galaxy Note II, good news: your phone is finally getting Android 4.4.2. The rollout should be starting now, and includes all of the basic 4.4 goodies you can expect coming from 4.3, like wireless printing, the new storage access framework, SMS default app selection, Google Wallet tap-to-pay support, and a few others. Here's Samsung's full changelog:
OS upgrade to Android 4.4.2 KitKat
- New Lock Screen Access
- Media Controls - full-screen album art and media controls when listening to music
- Camera Shortcut - access the Camera application right from the lock screen
- Improved user experience when multiple messaging apps are installed - All SMS and MMS messages are together in the same app, alongside other conversations and video calls.
A quick glance at the OneDrive 2.6 changelog on the Play Store probably would have you saying "meh," but if you actually read it closely, it's more of a "seriously Microsoft, are you kidding me?" The multi-billion dollar software giant's Android app for its cloud-based storage service was apparently lacking a little something called "search" until its most recent update. So now you can actually find your files and folders in OneDrive without aimlessly navigating through them with no help.
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.
The zombie apocalypse isn't over yet, and the way it unfolds is entirely up to you in season two of The Walking Dead from Telltale Games. This sequel was launched on Amazon's Appstore a few weeks ago, but now it's in the Play Store, which most of you probably prefer. Hey, it's better than last time when it took three months to make the trip over to Google land.
I know, it's I/O day and there are a lot more exciting things going on than OTA updates to Google Glass, but hey, the news is the news, right? The XE18.3 build should be rolling out to explorers now, and it adds a couple changes that make Glass a bit easier to use. First, pairing has been simplified with a walkthrough for the setup process. Second, Glass now has a user-accessible recovery mode.
LG's G Watch is one of the first two devices to launch with Android Wear. The G Watch, along with Samsung's Gear Live, are expected to be available for pre-order from the Play Store today, so it's worth taking a quick look at how the two stack up. The Gear Live is still awaiting our hands-on treatment, but we've already spent a little time with the G Watch.
For those who aren't caught up, LG's first Android Wear entry is a 37.9x46.5x9.95mm smart watch with a 1.65" IPS display at 280x280.
Audi has long been a car brand associated with advanced technology in the luxury segment, often taking risks well before their primary competitors BMW, Mercedes, and Lexus, are willing to step up to the plate. Audi will also be the first of those brands to offer vehicles with Android Auto integration, according to a press release issued by the VW-owned mark today.
Audi states that beginning in 2015, all-new vehicle models with Audi MMI infotainment (I always gag on that word) systems will be Android Auto-ready.
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.