There’s no denying that the switch to Broadcom’s Bluetooth stack in Android 4.2 has created some stressful situations for frequent users of the short range networking technology. The added attention also raised awareness for some features that are woefully lacking in the OS, something that other OEMs have been working to resolve independently. To a round of applause during the Best Practices for Bluetooth Development session, Sara Sinclair Brody announced Google will finally address two of the most popular requests.
The first and most important day of Google I/O 2013 is drawing to a close. If you've just gotten home from a long day at work and don't have time to sift through a mountain of Android Police live coverage, fear not: there's a roundup for that. Here's a concise list of everything that's new and updated in the Googleverse.
If you'd like to spend almost four hours watching Google show off all its new goodies, our Live Blog has the keynote embedded, plus Artem and David's reactions.
The Nexus Q has had a tough life so far – that goes without saying. Things just got a little worse for the handful of us that use (and enjoy) the Q though – Google has seemingly sliced streaming support from the latest Play Music update, further reducing the impact of the Q's admittedly very limited use case.
At the start of this review, I was simultaneously excited and frustrated. Now I'm just plain excited. For a bit of context, I have been bouncing between cloud music services since Lala was still a thing. I had one simple desire: I wanted to pay a monthly fee for unfettered access to a large library of content, but still wanted to be able to bring my own. I know that $10/month is not going to get me every song in existence, but if I can pay for most music, and then supply the rest, I'll be happy.
Those of you who like your games served fresh while you peruse the day's social updates might want to sit down. Google+ Games will shut down on June 30, taking users' game data with it. But social gamers aren't aren't entirely without hope. Some developers will designate new destination sites for their games, and a few games already have alternative links set up.
In-game payments inside any of the games that are set to disappear will have to be used up before June 30 arrives.
The new Google Messenger is real! It's not called Babel, or Google Talk, but "Hangouts." It also isn't the unified messenger we've all wanted - maybe it will be someday, but Hangouts is strictly a Google Talk replacement - there's no SMS or Google Voice integration.
What Hangouts does have going for it is that it is really pretty. It supports group messaging, pictures, video chat, and even has read receipts!
Google made a big deal out of its improvements to the Play Store in the massive keynote that kicked off I/O, and at least some of them are live right now. Probably the most important for tablet owners is the ability to highlight apps specifically designed for tablets, or at least, the ones that have given some thought to layout and interface on larger screens. The updated tablet view is being rolled out right now, and on at least some devices (read:mine) it includes the option to filter out the smartphone chaff from the tablet wheat.
Google officially announced the not-so-secretly-kept Play Games this morning, which brings game sync, leaderboards, achievements, and more to Android. Naturally, the first question on many users' minds is do any games already support it? In fact, several developers have already updated their games to add this new feature. Here's a look at what we've found so far:
- World of Goo by 2D BOY
- Osmos HD from Hemisphere Games
- Eufloria HD from Omni Systems
- Riptide GP from Vector Unit
- Beach Buggy Blitz from Vector Unit
- Shine Runner from Vector Unit
- Modern Combat 4 from Gameloft
- Dungeon Hunter 4 from Gameloft (update coming soon)
- Asphalt 7 from Gameloft (update coming soon)
- Eternity Warriors 2 by Glu
- PBA Bowling Challenge from Concrete Software
- Townsmen from HandyGames
- Save the Puppies from HandyGames
- Farm Invasion USA from HandyGames
- Rocket Island from HandyGames
- Triple Town by Spry Fox LLC (temporarily pulled due to crashes)
- Chip Chain by AppAbove Games LLC
- Super Stickman Golf 2 by Noodlecake
- Wind-up Knight by Robot Invader
- Plague Inc.
Between Hangouts, the gorgeous new Maps, Play Music All Access, and everything else discussed in I/O's opening keynote this morning, several revisions to the Play Store developer's console were announced.
Perhaps the most interesting addition to the console will be an organized method for alpha and beta testing, and staged rollouts. Basically, developers can select alpha and beta testers, receiving all feedback directly (instead of through reviews) and, when the time comes, roll out the app to certain percentages of the user base.
Heads up, Google, Glass is about to get some serious competition. Recon Instruments, a Canadian technology company known for athlete-focused heads-up display products, is looking to expand into general-purpose HUD technology. The company's prototype device - dubbed Jet - was officially unveiled today, and Recon Instruments hopes to release a retail product by the end of this year.
At first glance, the Jet looks like little more than a pair of sunglasses with an attached LCD screen; you won't be mistaking Recon Instrument's HUD for Google's anytime soon.