Google announced lots of stuff on this year’s Google I/O. Android Wear was one of the most interesting for sure, considering this is Google’s shot at wearables, only smartwatches for now though. As a part of the I/O, Google briefly announced 3 smartwatches, LG G Watch, Samsung Gear Live and Motorola’s Moto 360. First 2 are already up for sale while the last one will be sometime this summer.
Different people like different things, but I’m gonna go ahead and say Moto 360 is definitely the best designed out of the bunch. That smartwatch looks just beautiful with its circular design. Well, PhoneArena’s source claims that Moto 360 will launch alongside Moto X+1, which is also one of the most expected devices this year. That would mean we’ll see Moto X+1 smartphone launch this summer as well. Oh yeah, the same source says that Moto 360 will be included in Motorola’s Moto Maker, in other words you’ll be able to customize that thing before you buy it. We don’t know how will that work, what exactly would you be able to customize, other than choosing the color of the watch and the bands included in the deal. Either way we spin it, those are some great news.
Are you going to buy one of the already available Android Wear smartwatches or are you going to wait for the Moto 360? If you’re not buying anything feel free to tell us your opinion in general of course.
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I’m a big proponent of the stock feel, in terms of the UI of any device I use. On my iPhone i jailbreak to get tweaks, and change little things here or there, but never anything major, because I just don’t like it. With the exception of a couple of manufacturers, most Android devices today have some type of OEM Skin over top of the Android OS. Samsung has TouchWiz (don’t get me started), HTC has Sense, and then you have companies like Kyocera or LG who have unnamed skin overlays. I won’t go on a random tangent about TouchWiz, but just know that I despise it, and I’m kind of loving Sense on my HTC One M8, but have been contemplating throwing a GPE ROM on there just for the stock experience on that device.
Fresh off the heels of Google I/O, where Google presented Android Wear, Android Auto, and reintroduced Android TV to the world, questions began springing up left and right. I saw the same question asked by different people all over social media. The question is, will OEM skins be used on these new platforms that Google has announced. This got me thinking a bit. Will Samsung really try and do something horrific with Android TV? What would happen to an OEM skin in any of the Android Auto participants?
Thankfully, Google has come out and stated that OEM skins will not be allowed for Android Wear, Auto, or TV. This has me, and many others rejoicing. The biggest issue that I have is the same issue that I have with TouchWiz. If I purchase an Android TV, or in the future, Android TV is built into whatever TV I’m purchasing, what is going to happen to the Android UI? How bad will it become? Yes, I know I’m being pessimistic, and someone could come out and build something great to go over the Android UI, but I don’t think it’s necessary, and I wouldn’t want to take the chance.
Google’s engineering director, David Burke, in an interview with Ars Technica, stated the following about Android TV specifically:
“The UI is more part of the product in this case. We want to just have a very consistent user experience, so if you have one TV in one room and another TV in another room and they both say Android TV, we want them to work the same and look the same… The device manufacturers can brand it, and they might have services that they want to include with it, but otherwise it should be the same.”
This right here is EXACTLY how I feel about Android as a whole. Why have two different manufacturers, with two different skins on top of the same base? Nine times out of 10, the devices will not work cohesively, and it will end having a negative impact on the consumer, which is bad for everyone. Another worry that I had was that Samsung was going to try to do too much with their Samsung Gear Live, and make it an unusable experience for someone who wants to get that watch, specifically.
Source: Ars Technica
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There was much announced at the Google I/O 2014 keynote, and one of the perhaps less glamorous announcements was for Android One, a program where even emerging markets, like India, will have access to phones with Android on them for around $100. While this isn’t going to tickle everyone’s fancy, it’s an undeniable fact that despite […]
Razer are creating a micro-console that will be powered by Android TV, allowing users to stream movies, music, and other apps for entertainment on the large-screen, the company announced today.
Android TV was announced at Google I/O and Razer have jumped straight on the ship with their Razer console. You’ll be able to navigate around the UI with a special companion app on the phone and tablet, together with the native voice control built into Android TV.
“This is a console of the future,” says Min-Liang Tan, Razer co-founder and CEO. “Built on Google’s incredible Android TV platform, the Razer micro-console incorporates not only hardcore and casual gaming, but music, movies and other entertainment and social applications, all on an affordable system.”
The Razer console is scheduled to be released in fall 2014.
There were plenty of rumors suggesting that HTC is working on a new Nexus tablet, dubbed Nexus 9. We’ve even had a detailed leak regarding the device which included not only a render of the device but its specifications as well. Well, something interesting happened on Google I/O which might suggest that the leak was true, to some extent at least.
If you look at the picture Google used at this year’s I/O, you’ll notice a weird look tablet in the middle which is not the Nexus 7 (2013) (it is not Samsung’s Nexus 10 either, you can tell that on a first glance). I’ll tell you why:
- The camera is on the middle of the tablet (from portrait perspective), while the one on the Nexus 7 is on the right side of it, not completely, but still, it’s not centered.
- You’ll notice the front facing speaker on the render, next to a front facing camera. Well, Nexus 7 doesn’t have a front facing speaker. On the other hand the leaked HTC Volantis doesn’t either, as far as we can tell by the render linked above at least.
- The tablet on this render is in landscape while the Nexus 5 (on the right) is in portrait. You can see that the tablet is taller in landscape than Nexus 5 is in portrait, which also doesn’t match up to Nexus 7′s proportions. Nexus 5 is 137.9mm tall while the Nexus 7 (2013) is 114mm wide.
This really doesn’t have to mean anything, maybe Google is playing with us. Be it as it may, we do think this is for real and that Google wanted to tease us a bit, in other words we don’t think it’s their way of trolling us or that it was an accident. What do you think?
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Google released a promo video showing off Android “L” on various devices and situation as a part of Google I/O
Google really had lots to say at this year’s Google I/O. We definitely expected a promo video for it and Google delivered.
Video runtime is around 2 minutes and it shows most of what Google has been talking about, or better, presenting at Google I/O this year. This promo video is tracking a guy and his dog in different situations, from waking up and running to a dog show and chillin’ in the living room. Throughout the video you can see Google’s new Android Wear in action on a LG G Watch and Android “L” on a Nexus 5 and Nexus 7, they even included Android TV and Android Auto in the story. Oh well, see it for yourself:
Source: Google (YouTube)
While we all wish we could go to Google I/O in San Francisco to see it in person and score some awesome swag, it’s not possible with the limited number of tickets and high cost.
In past years, I was joining just about everyone that couldn’t make it to the event while streaming it from home, but this year I had the opportunity to attend two Google I/O Extended events, one in Denver and one in Boulder. The events were just two of the hundreds all around the world and were essentially a streaming event with food, prizes and more.
The first that I went to was the Denver event, where I watched the keynote from and it was setup by a group of people, including Mark Scheel, a Denver-based developer who founded and is the president of Digital Construction, a software consultancy. Scheel is also the Android Platform Lead at a successful Denver area app company, whose primary product is a medical consumer app that will pass 5 million Android downloads from the Google Play store in 2014 and he wrote the book “Software Development for Google Glass.”
Scheel said Tuesday that about 70 people registered for Google I/O Extended Denver. Tickets were sold for between $10 and $20, depending on when you bought them.
“Last year I went to the I/O Extended event in San Francisco and saw what a cool event it was. I was really surprised with the excitement for it. We sold out way ahead of time.”
Separating itself from the others, the Denver event also had a semi-working Android Wear device. Scheel said they were “pretty confident” they were the only I/O Extended event in the country with an actual Wear device. The device was a smartwatch imported from China that was hacked to run the SDK.preview.
Google I/O Extended Denver included two guest speakers, Dan Ambrisco who talked about the Android Wear SDK and Therese Pocrnick, who presented “Confessions of an Agile Coach.” Ambrisco not only talked about how to get the SDK up and running, but also about how apps should be designed for Android Wear devices and showed off a Wearable Speedometer smartwatch app.
With the hacked Android Wear device, Ambrisco was able to show off how to navigate around the IU, but said it couldn’t do much else.
Along with live streaming of the I/O and the presentations, there was also breakfast and lunch for all attendees, including local soda and craft beer, and a raffle to chance off a Chromebook, Sphero robotic balls, Chromecasts, $500 Google Cloud credit, t-shirts, water bottles, signed Google Glass books and more.
Among the many sponsors for the event were iTriage, GDG Northern Colorado and Google.
In the afternoon, I headed back to Boulder (where I live) and was able to check out Google I/O Extended Boulder. This free event, which required a ticket through Eventbrite, was held at the Google Boulder office and kicked off around 9 a.m. While it was primarily a streaming event as well, there were also tours of the office given and some quizzes that attendees could take to win prizes. The prizes were similar to those seen at the Denver event and included a Chromebook, Chromecast, Nexus 7 and a Google messenger bag filled with other goodies. Breakfast and lunch were provided as well as some appetizers and drinks at an evening reception where attendees could meet some Googlers.
All attendees at Google I/O Extended Boulder received swag before leaving – a t-shirt, Google Play credit and a 5,200mAh power bank.
Overall, it was an enjoyable day and if you ever get the chance to attend an I/O Extended event if you can’t make it to San Francisco, it’s definitely a worthwhile experience.
Check out video below of the speakers. I apologize that it’s not the best quality and part of the second speaker got cut off.
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If you have a Nexus 5 or 7 you can install the Android L Developer Preview, but if you don’t have either of those devices or want to stay on a more stable ROM, you can still experience some of the future of Android now.
Bejunk over at XDA ported the keyboard and shared a flashable .zip that will give you the new keyboard with the Material Design theme.
The keyboard is said to work on “probably all ROM’s based on 4.4.x.”
If you have the Google Keyboard installed, you should uninstall it or delete it from /system/app, then download the zip and flash it in either ClockworkMod or TWRP recovery.
Once it’s installed, go to Keyboard Settings, Advanced (Expert) Settings and select “Material” in color scheme.
If you have any issues flashing the .zip, there are also manual instructions at the source link below.
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Motorola did confirm that they’re working on a Moto X successor, but they didn’t give us any details regarding its name or anything else for that matter. We’ve seen an alleged Moto X+1 render leak recently, though it was placed inside a case so we didn’t see the entire phone. This image isn’t exactly better, but at least it doesn’t have a case on it.
According to a TK Tech News this photo has been taken at Google I/O and it shows Moto X+1 next to a Moto 360 smartwatch. There is no way we can actually confirm this is a Moto X+1, but it looks thinner and bigger than the Moto X, at least from this angle. Moto X+1 will probably be announced in the coming months, maybe even alongside Moto 360. If that turns out to be true then we’ll see it rather soon, later this summer that is considering Moto 360 will be announced by then.
What do you think? Could this be a Moto X+1 or is it just a Moto X that looks different due to the angle this photo was taken in?
Source: TK Tech News (Instagram)
As you no doubt know by now, Google’s developer conference I/O kicked off yesterday with the keynote address. While I was unable to attend the conference in person I did watch the live stream on my computer. And, as many of you understand, one of the numerous announcements that Google made was Android TV – an evolution of the less than popular Google TV. Here is a quick run down of things that you may find important in the next-gen attempt at Google play for TV.
Android TV is in an attempt to unify Smart TVs under one OS and use the same API so that it is easier to get apps onto your TV. Another important point is that there is one SDK to write apps for all Android forms factors. With Android TV, you can search through your TV shows and movies easily using your phone or smart watch. You can also control your TV using a physical controller.
Controlling a smart TV with a smart phone might not be such new news to you; you might be wondering “Is that all they got?” Well no. Google has really worked hard putting together this Android TV experience for you. In addition to standard things that are becoming the standard with smart TVs, Android TV is backed with Google’s own Play Store. With the Play Store, you get the Play Games. In the keynote, they demonstrated how you can also use your Android TV to play games with your friends. They show one guy playing with a controller hooked up to the TV against another guy playing on his tablet.
Another feature of the Android TV is that it comes with Chromecasting built in. This means that you can use your Android TV the same you would use a TV with a Chromecast plugged into it. It also has Screen Mirroring which means that whatever you see on your device screen will display on your TV! You can cast anything and everything with the push of a button.
You can learn more about the Android TV from the keynote video itself here. They start discussion about the Android TV at 1:45:10