Part of the 5000 new APIs and many small enhancements to be introduced with Android L that were revealed in a heavily packed slide at Google I/O is rotation lock on phones. That nifty Quick Setting toggle is currently only available on tablets in KitKat. On our stock Android phones, we have had to suffer the annoyance of delving into settings or using some third-party widget to lock the screen's orientation.
Google I/O is only two days this year, but Google definitely crammed plenty of news into the first day. Today's keynote contained all the latest and greatest from Android on your phone, wrist, dashboard, and TV. Seriously, it was Android everywhere. Let's take a quick look at the high points of the day.
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.
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.
Google announced Play Games at last year's I/O conference (hard to believe it's already been a year), and this year the company stepped it up a notch. They're integrating new features into the app, which includes a new Game Profile feature that exists and a sort of unified leaderboard with achievements and the like. Naturally, this lets users compare how they play with their friends. Nothing like a little competition, right?
The Android L release is so new it doesn't even have a name yet, but HTC wants to make sure you know it will be ready when it comes out. Or at least, shortly thereafter. Before the Google I/O 2014 keynote had even finished, HTC released the following statement on its software update page:
HTC Customers and Enthusiasts,
HTC is excited about the new features in Android L release and we can’t wait to share them with you.
Google's just brought the official Android "L" preview site online, and while there's not much there yet, you know this is the place to check for info about the latest version of Android.
The site gives a quick overview of what's new in "L" (with a focus on what's relevant for developers), Android Wear, Android TV, and Android Auto. Hit up the link below to check it out - you can probably expect more information to be added here as I/O goes on.
Android's L release is going to bring about a ton of new changes and improvements, and they took time to talk about a few of the most important today. That includes a new default runtime, improved graphics, and improved battery life.
ART is now the default runtime
We actually saw this coming, but it's now confirmed. ART brings twice the performance over the current runtime, Dalvik. It has been available as a preview for KitKat, but is becoming the default (and from what I can tell, only) runtime in the L release.
We've known about Project Hera for quite a while, and at Google I/O today, it was confirmed by Google's Director of Product Management for Chrome, Avni Shah. Hera is a new way for the web and apps to interact with each other on Android via an API, allowing apps like Chrome and Docs to use multiple scrolling items in the Recents menu at one time. Combined with the visual overhaul in the L release, this may drastically change the way that users interact with content.