For Android fans with children, it can be a bit disheartening to learn that your kids are using iPads and iPods for learning every day. While this is becoming more and more standard across the country, Google is looking to change that with its newly announced "Google Play for Education." This is exactly what it sounds like: a specially curated version of the Play Store made for educational environments. It offers curriculum-based discovery for grades K-12, which will make it easy for teachers to find apps appropriate for his or her students. The program also includes bulk-ordering of unspecified Nexus tablets (assume the Nexus 7) to round out the experience.
Google asserts that over 97% of mobile shoppers abandon their shopping carts because the process simply makes them jump through too many hoops. To free Android users from this heavy burden, Google has launched a new Google Wallet Instant Buy API that will allow mobile shoppers in Android apps to check out in as little as two clicks. No more poking out lengthy street address and re-looking up credit card information. If you're like me, and already spend too much money because of your phone, this is probably a double-edged sword. Just look at the reduced number of steps in the screenshots below and imagine your bank account slowly draining.
It's probably not the water-cooled superphone you've been looking for, but Japanese smartphone maker NEC announced the succinctly named Medias X 06E for the NTT DoCoMo network today, the world's first smartphone with a CPU cooled by H2O. Unfortunately, the specs are decidedly middling, and NEC intends to market the device as a "lady's" phone in essentially the same vein as HTC with the Rhyme.
The Medias X 06E packs a quad-core Qualcomm processor clocked at 1.7 Ghz, a 4.7-inch 720p OLED display, and a 13.1 megapixel camera. It comes in two colors, white and pink, and includes an attached light-up faux-jewel pendant.
Google's Play Books service launched last year as a competent reading app, and a necessary pillar for Google Play. But one feature readers have since been asking for is the ability to incorporate their own files into the library, and now Google is adding that option to the service.
Play Books supports PDF and EPUB files, which can be uploaded through the online library on your desktop. The feature appears to still be rolling out, so don't worry if you get a 404 right now. For comparison, Amazon's Kindle service has long supported uploaded content, but it relies on awkward email attachments.
Let it be not be said that Google neglected the Google TV platform today at I/O. Though it wasn't mentioned during this morning's 3 hour-plus keynote, the company rolled out a new version of the YouTube app for TV during the presentation.
Specifically, the updated application brings a simplified UI, enhanced video playback controls, and support for paid channels. The video discovery and subscription tabs now show playlists with blown-up video thumbnails and bolded titles for easier browsing. When playing a video, it's easier to subscribe to the content creator's respective channel, +1 the video on Google Plus, and see related videos.
One of the cooler new features of both Gmail and Google Wallet that didn't make it into today's three-hour Google I/O keynote is the new ability to send money to any Gmail contact. Just message or reply to someone, write something along the lines of "here's your money, dog," and click the Attachments paperclip icon. You'll see a new option among the expanding icons: a dollar sign. Click the dollar sign, and you can send funds straight from Google Wallet. You can literally attach money to an email. How cool is that?
Of course there are a few restrictions. At the moment you can only send money via Gmail on the desktop, and you need to have either credit in your Wallet account or a linked funding source.
Today, Google announced a new look for the Google+ stream. Gone is the weird, bubbly look that we've had for forever. The cards-centric UI that we've seen on phones and tablets is now coming to the desktop as well. You can select a one, two, or three-column layout and each individual card can flip over with a slick animation and provide more information and options.
Google's also improving its search and tagging functionality. Now, the service will analyze tags that you've provided and G+ will provide related hashtags to improve discovery. Even when you don't provide tags, Google can infer them.
Google's official Search app (aka Google Now) for Android has been updated with a few new features, though they're pretty awesome ones. First, voice reminders are finally live - you can now say, for example, "remind me to buy milk this evening" or "remind me to take out the trash when I get home." I think we can all agree that's kind of amazing.
The second new feature is suggested content, in the form of upcoming books, music, TV, and video games you might be interested in. Presumably, this is based on your email and search history. Finally, real-time public transit updates are coming for select cities.
We heard some last-minute rumors that Samsung's shiny new flagship, not even released in every market, is getting a special Google Edition. Well it's true, boys and girls: the Galaxy S4 Google Edition is real, and it's going to feature the same stock Android experience as Nexus devices. The GS4 Google Edition will be sold through the Google Play Store with the same AT&T and T-Mobile bands as the Nexus 4, plus LTE support.
Aside from the software, it's the same great GS4 hardware you're used to, complete with 1080p Super AMOLED screen, 16GB of storage and the coveted SD card slot.