This years Google I/O was a hit and as always, a full house. Each year, Google holds a 2-3 day conference for developers where it focuses on highly technical, in-depth emerging
Currently Android has 1 billion monthly active users and it is Google's goal, to double that number.
1 Billion Monthly Active Users
So what was new at Google I/O 2014?
An exciting glimpse of the wave of the near future...on Android. The new upgrade of Android doesn't even have a name yet, they are currently calling it "L".
I call it Android on steroids. Prepare to be amazed over the coming year as Google is in the process of out doing even itself by taking personal computing and raising the bar to new levels.
Android L will have over 5000 new API's under the hood along with a new UI design.
With Android L, Google intends to change the way we use our smart phones as well as all of our other Android devices. Their belief is that with all of our different devices, phones, tablets, pc's or tv's, switching between devices should be seamless and simple. Google intends to make a common platform to allow for one connected experience, no matter what device we are using, so that we have the right information at the right time.
Google will also be the one who pushes out the new updates to all Android devices versus each manufacturer pushing the updates out at various times. Just for an example of what they would like to avoid, I own a Samsung phone and tablet and just one week ago, I received the update to KitKat. This is due to Samsung having built their own UI (TouchWhiz) then put it together with Android. This causes them to have to do customizations at the level of the manufacturer.
Is Android leaving Apple and the iPhone in the dust? I'll let you decide.
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Google's goal using Material Design:
Develop a single underlying system that allows for a unified experience across platforms and device sizes. Mobile precepts are fundamental, but touch, voice, mouse, and keyboard are all first-class input methods.
With the new UI design, Material, the look and feel of Android L will be kept consistent on all devices. This same design will be incorporated into Chrome as well to keep things consistent across mobile and web platforms alike. Material boasts a clean, realistic look and keeps it simple yet colorful and pleasing to the eye.
Material Design is based on the same design as real life paper. Google worked hard in developing a specific color palette for tints and shades as well as creating realistic shadows and interaction. For example, when you press an icon, it will seem to lift up instead of pushing down on the screen, casting life-like shadows as it does so. Transitions within the apps will be very smooth, similar to a piece of paper being pushed across a table.
Colors and animations in Android's new Material design were designed to draw the user's eye to what is important on the screen. They have also made it easier for developers to add more vibrant colors to their apps so be ready to see much bolder, brighter colors.
With this new design interface, comes nested scrolling. This will allow for example, recent calls to "fade away" as you move through your contacts app. Notifications will scroll with what is most pertinent to you at that time on the screen, similar to a "to do" list that you can swipe away when you are done with them.
I don't know how many of you reading this are Trekkies but if you are, you already know where I'm going with this. Welcome, Android Wear.
With Android Wear, users will be able to seamlessly interact with their phone via bluetooth, through their smart watches, in a whole new exciting way. Voice Control will be front and center, creating an easy, quick way to get access to the information you need. With just a tap or a swipe of the smart watch, and by using your voice, you can create and send an email or text, dial a number, do an online search, and even pay for something online.
Google has created a whole new playing field with Android Wear and by making this a part of their seamless flow of information across platforms and devices, they are truly connecting us in ways we never thought possible.
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Google also unveiled the new Android Auto. Android Auto is completely voice enabled and will allow your phone to work with your car's steering wheel buttons and in dash displays. They announced a new partnership that will bring Android into your car.
Google has teamed up with Audi, GM, Honda, Hyundai and Nvidia to form the Open Automotive Alliance (OAA). This will be "a global alliance for accelerating auto innovation with an approach that offers openness, customization and scale."
The OAA shares the vision of making Android in your car seamless and more intuitive, with safety their top priority.
Android Auto brings many of the apps drivers know and love, like Google Maps and Spotify, to an interface that’s built for driving. After connecting an Android phone to a compatible car, drivers will be able to use Android apps and services specially designed for use in a car and accessible through in-dash display and controls.
So whether you are at home, in your car, at work, online or offline, Google has you covered!
Let's not forget Android TV. The the average American watches more than 30 hours of television per week and 120 million smart TV's are shipped each year. The problem is that there is no standard platform for developers to build apps for. Each TV is different so custom apps must be developed for them. Have you ever had an awesome app on your phone or tablet and gone to the Playstore to download it to your TV and you couldn't find it? You couldn't find it because the Playstore will not show apps that are not compatible with your device. Up until now, apps had to be custom-made for television sets.
With one standard platform, can you imagine how this would open up the developement for smart TV's? Google intends to provide the solution to consolidating the platform for smart TV's.
Starting with "L" version of Android, TV's will now be supported along with smart phones and tablets and wearables. Android TV will also standardize remote controls, game controllers and microphones for input.
It remains to be seen how well Android TV will take off, much depends on developers. To some a TV is still just a TV and let's remember, there are a few competitors out there, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV to name a couple. If Roku and Amazon up the ante, that remains to be seen.
Even with the 1 billion monthly active users, only 10% of the world's population uses smartphones. Google is planning to change that with Android One. They are working on hardware and software as well as partnering with service providers with one goal in
mind...Google wants to see another 1 billion users. There are many countries that do not have the technology due to costs being too high for phones as well as service provider packages are too costly.
This is where Google comes in with Android One. Android One will be a smart phone that will be under $100 in cost, and providers partnering with Google will be putting out more affordable service packages. Google will be launching this initiative first in India, in the fall of this year.
Are You Ready For The Future?
Google has always been an exciting, innovative company with some of the best, most intelligent minds on the planet working with and for them and they continue to amaze us as they take us further and further, soaring into the future.