Google I/O 2014 has just started and Sundar Pichai kicked off keynote. Following are some interesting announcements from 2 hours keynote session of day 1;
1. Android One - Next Affordable Smartpone
Up until now, only 10% world population has access to smartphone. Smartphone cost is the main constraint in populous countries like India. To overcome this hurdle, Google has decided to come up with a new smartphone, Android One. Android One will be realized by optimally pooling hardware resources from different vendors across the world. Android One will run on Stock Android and will support Dual Sim, 4.5 inch screen, and FM Radio. It will cost less than $100. By end of this year, it will be launched from India initially. Android One targets to capture next 1 billion people.
2. L Developer - Next Android Release
Google gave also preview of next version of Android, which is expected to be released in fall 2014. This will be biggest release in Android history with 5000 APIs focusing on factors beyond mobile. L Developer will improve user experience in terms of design, notifications and authentication (integrated with Android wearables). On performance side, L Developer will make improvements on runtime, graphics and battery life.
3. Material Design - Huge Shift in Android Design
Under L Developer release, Matias Daurat announced new design language called Material Design. Material Design is empowered with animated touch feedback and ripple effect, nested sliding etc. It seems to be a powerful design shift in Android OS and is going to give a pretty, fast and fluid user experience. It includes redesigned Recents and web mobile experience. Guidelines of new design language are available from today under www.google.com/design.
4. Android Wear
Google claims that people check their phones 125 times a day. Therefore, vision of Android Wear is to never miss a message while keep engaged with people and things around you. Android Wear watch will run a stream of cards – for instance, flight is on time, don't miss your passport message from wife etc - and wearable and smartphone will be fully synched. Couple of interesting feature demonstrated include;
- Quick voice enabled notes taking
- Call notification – if busy swipe with message "I will call you back"
- Control other devices around you, music player, thermostat etc.
- Seamless travel assistance features
- Check your heart rate before and after interview/work
Google announced release of Android Wear SDK for developers. With Android Wear, you can send notifications from tablet/phone to watch, Pinterest notification of your favorite places ( restarants, sightseeing), etc. Full Android Wear SDK will be available from today. It will enable developers to write code which runs directly on wearable. All Android APIs will be available under this Android Wear SDK. Google engineers also demonstrated couple of Wear apps like Lift app to call Taxi, ordering Pizza, etc. Google also made announcement that LG G watch and Samsung Gear Live will be available on Play store for order from today.
5. Android Auto
Under Google Open Automotive Alliance initiative, Google announced release of Android Auto. Android Auto's vision is to redesign Android platform to seamlessly use smartphones with different cars. For now Android Auto will be focusing on
Android Auto will allow users to connect Android phone to car and cast Android experience to car screen. With car controls, user would see familiar Android music, navigation and communication apps from car screen. It comes with a powerful voice enable control over music, navigation and communication (messaging and calling). Google also announced Android Auto SDK and 40 new Automotive Alliance partners. First car with Android Auto will be coming at the end of this year
Among other announcements were Android TV, Google Fit, Chromecast, Quests - Game API, Cloud Data flow.