From its debut at Google I/O, Daydream seemed like a much more ambitious smartphone-based VR software platform than the earlier Cardboard system. The countdown clock for the former’s public release began after a Bloomberg article back in August hinted at its imminent launch. While we’re still waiting for the first Daydream phones to come out in fall, Google’s VR SDK version 1.0 supporting it has officially left beta and is available to download on their developer site.
If you want to get your app out on launch day, you’ll want to apply for the Daydream Access Program: It seems Google is carefully controlling what will be available when the platform goes live. The VR SDK supports both the Cardboard API and the more complex Daydream one, which includes the platform’s proprietary controller. Google partnered with Unity and Unreal to get native integration, with all the binaries and plugins available through their developer blog post.
But how, you ask, will prospective programmers be able to tinker with their apps before “Daydream-ready” phones are released in the next few months? The only one approved to handle the SDK is the Nexus 6P, but it’s not a perfect fix. Expect the device to run very hot and “thermally throttle CPU and GPU performance after a short period of use, depending on workload,” according to Google’s developer kit setup.
Source: Google VR developers blog
Google hosted its annual I/O developers keynote at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California today, announcing multiple new products and services related to Android, search, messaging, home automation, and more.
Google Assistant is described as a “conversational assistant” that builds upon Google Now based on two-way dialog. The tool can be used, for example, to ask who directed the movie Avatar, and to ask which other movies he has directed, and Google should be able to isolate the questions from the conversation and provide answers.
The new Siri and Alexa rival, compatible with both voice and chat, will be widely available on Android, iOS, in the home, and elsewhere later this year.
Google Home is a new Wi-Fi-enabled personal assistant device for the home that enables people to ask Google search queries, manage everyday tasks, enjoy music and entertainment, and more using hands-free “OK Google” voice commands.
The Amazon Echo rival features a clean, color-changing design with no buttons, a speaker on the bottom, multiple room support, remote control of Chromecast and other speakers, compatibility with Nest and other popular home automation platforms, and more.
Google Home can be used to make general searches, check flight statuses, track shipments, set dinner reservations, turn on lights or play music in certain rooms, receive real-time traffic and routing information, check your appointments, and more.
Google Home will be available later this year. Pricing was not disclosed.
Allo is a new intelligent messaging app for Android and iOS, based on machine learning, computer visioning, and assistive technologies.
The app integrates with your phone number and features resizable message bubbles, emojis and stickers, smart reply suggestions for messages and photos, mini games, and more. There is also an Incognito Mode with end-to-end encryption, Snapchat-like expiring messages, and private notifications.
Allo also features Google Assistant built in, which can provide proactive suggestions such as nearby restaurants and sports results based on Knowledge Graph results. The suggestions will appear automatically based on the context of the conversation. OpenTable and YouTube will be two of many linked services.
Allo will be available this summer.
Duo is a standalone FaceTime-like HD video calling app for Android and iOS with a “Knock Knock” feature that shows live video of the other caller before answering.
The app features a clean user interface, encrypted video transmission, and proactive network quality monitoring with seamless switching between Wi-Fi and cellular data.
Duo will be available this summer.
Android N was announced prior to Google I/O, so today’s keynote mainly provided a recap of new features and security enhancements.
One all-new feature Google announced today is a new VR platform called Daydream, allowing for high-quality VR experiences on smartphones this fall.
“Daydream-ready” smartphones from Samsung, HTC, LG, Huawei, and others running Android N will feature a new VR mode that is optimized for VR viewers.
Google is also accepting submissions for what to call Android N. Past versions have been based on desserts such as Marshmallow, Lollipop, KitKat, Jelly Bean, and Ice Cream Sandwich, and it appears likely that trend will continue.
The name unsurprisingly must start with the letter N. Google will accept submissions until June 8, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time.
Android Wear 2.0
Google unveiled a major new version of its wearable software platform today. Android Wear 2.0 will feature standalone apps, smart reply suggestions, improved handwriting recognition, a miniature swipe-based keyboard, customizable watch faces, Google Fit integration, and more.
Android Wear 2.0 launches in developer beta today, followed by a public release this fall.
Tags: Google, Google I/O, Android N, Allo, Duo, Google Assistant, Google Home
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Google is working on a standalone hardware device that will integrate the company’s search and voice assistant technology, reports Recode.
According to sources, the product is said to be similar to Google’s smart home enabled OnHub wireless router and is set to compete against the likes of Amazon’s Echo.
OnHub wireless router (Image: Google)
Google declined to comment on the rumor, but the project, said to be known internally as ‘Chirp’, is expected to be officially announced at next week’s Google I/O developer conference, where voice search and intelligent personal assistance are to take center stage alongside the company’s latest forays into virtual reality.
In 2014, Google acquired connected device company Nest, which reportedly had its own designs for an Echo competitor running Google’s search technology, but scrapped the plans because of concerns over consumer privacy.
After launching the Echo over a year ago, Amazon announced in March two new additions to its lineup of voice-controlled smart hubs that house the company’s personal assistant, Alexa.
Tags: Google I/O, Amazon Echo
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There have been quite a few rumours floating around the past few weeks that relate to Google working on a VR headset that would rival the Samsung Gear VR in the marketplace. While that VR headset would require a surrogate smartphone to work, a new report has suggested that a standalone Google VR headset is also being worked on within the walls at Google’s HQ.
While this means that Google is working on two separate VR headsets at the same time, the two couldn’t be on more different timelines. While the headset that uses smartphones is said to be releasing in 2016, with a possible cameo at Google I/O possible, the standalone headset has a less defined timeline, with some sources saying 2016 is a possibility, with another saying that the standalone project is still very much in its early development days.
If true, that is pretty big news for the virtual reality industry as Google’s significant global presence could really push VR into the mainstream, particularly if its VR headsets are built with the Nexus device mentality. Still, it sounds like we’ll have to wait until Google I/O to at least get a better idea of what’s going on, but something tells us we could be in for a treat.
What do you think about a standalone Google VR headset? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
The post Standalone Google VR headset is also being worked on behind the scenes appeared first on AndroidSPIN.
Last week, we saw Google slash the pricing of the Nexus Player from the original price of $99 to $79, when purchased through the Google Play Store. There were speculations to whether Google was gearing up to release a new version of the streaming device at Google I/O 2015. Well that rumor never came to fruition, so we were left just assuming that Google was just trying to give a little sales boost.
Today, the Nexus Player has taken another price cut, but not from Google directly. This time the price cut is from $99 down to $69.99 on Amazon. $10 may not be much of a price cut, but this may be the next step on the road map for clearing out stock ahead of an updated product.
With free shipping through Prime, this really is a great deal on a product that was just released last year. Especially with the update to Google Play Store, which makes it easier for users to find Android TV compatible apps, there’s no better time than now to spring for the Nexus Player. Now with over 600 compatible apps, Google is closing the gap between the Nexus Player and the competition to rule your living room.
These last few weeks have been great for those looking to score some deals on great products across the board, and this latest price slashing, is just another notch in the belt. With pricing cuts on the Moto X 2014, Moto 360, and other devices, there are plenty of deals to be had. We would like to take note of the fact that the Nexus Player and Game Pad bundle is currently sold out on Amazon, but you can sign up to be emailed when the bundle becomes available for purchase again.
Have you jumped on any of these deals over the last month or so? Let us know what new devices or toys you have gotten your hands on.
The post Amazon drops pricing of the Nexus Player from $99 to $69 appeared first on AndroidGuys.
[Price: Free with in-app purchases]
Blood Brothers 2 is a strategy RPG game that has you recruiting commanders and using their armies to do battle against opponents. Each one has a class such as archer, cavalry, or infantry and you use those to gain the advantage. The game also includes free daily commander recruiting, a PvP arena where you can do battle against live opponents, and guilds that allow you to grow your skills, get bonuses, and play as a team. It’s free to play so there’s no harm in trying it out and you’d be showing your support for Android Apps Weekly. Who knows, you might even like it.
Welcome back to a special edition of the Android Apps Weekly show! This week we’re going to run down a bunch of app-related stuff from Google I/O 2015 and talk about some other news! Let’s get started:
- Google I/O was a huge deal in the world of apps. Let’s talk about that first. One of the first announcements was of Chrome Custom Tabs which will allow developers to add Chrome Browser directly into their apps to help get rid of those terrible built-in web browsers in apps like Twitter or Facebook.
- A new app permission system will allow you to grant access or deny application permissions when the app asks for it and you’ll be able to turn off app permissions in the Settings. Of course, this will all be in Android M.
- Starting in Android M, developers will be able to use native Android fingerprint scanner support in apps. This will allow you to do things like log in with your finger or, in conjunction with Android Pay, let you pay for stuff in apps and in the Google Play Store. Oh by the way, Android Pay is totally happening.
- Also included in Android M is a new way to backup applications that will backup everything so you’ll be able to just download the app and have your data already on your device for it.
- Inbox by Gmail no longer requires an invite. Hooray! It will also be getting new features including undo sent emails, swipe to delete, and more!
- Google Now on Tap is a new implementation of Google Now that’ll gauge what’s going on with your screen and give you suggestions on what to do with that information. It will also allow for app indexing soon to work better with other Android apps.
- Google Maps will finally be getting improved offline maps support by the end of the year.
- Google announced the Google Family Star which will show up on G-rated content in the Google Play Store to help families find content that is suitable for their children. The Play Store also has ESRB, PEGI, and other ratings for games.
- HBO Now will be hitting the Play Store this summer.
- Lastly, the Chromecast will be getting an update soon that will give it auto-play capabilities, second screen support, and multiplayer gaming. No word yet on when that’s coming.
You can read up on all of the Google I/O stuff from this master list we compiled. Here are some non-Google I/O headlines from this week:
- Microsoft purchased the popular to-do list app Wunderlist this week. We have no idea what they’ll do with it but it is the latest in a string of purchases that Microsoft has been making that has also included Sunshine Calendar and Accompli which actually turned into the new Microsoft Outlook.
- In some rare Android TV news, a few new applications will be making their way to the platform in the coming months. They include HBO Go, Vimeo, Twitch, and many, many others. This is great news for Android TV because it really needed more apps.
- In our last headline, Android is getting its first full Harvest Moon game this winter. No, friends, this is not a port of a pre-existing game, this is a brand new game. It’s very exciting and we really hope it’s not Freemium. .
For all of this week’s headlines, updates, and new releases, don’t forget to check out this week’s newsletter. It’s packed full of the latest Android apps and games news including all the stuff we didn’t have time for here. If you’re so inclined, you can sign up with your email address and have the newsletter sent straight to your inbox every single Friday.
First up this week is Imgur. No, this isn’t a new application but it did receive a huge update this last week. Included is a Material Design overhaul, better uploading capabilities, and the boilerplate bug fixes and performance improvements. It has always been one of the better online photo sharing apps out there and now it’s gotten a whole lot better. It’s also totally free.
[Price: $4.99 with in-app purchases]
Hitman: Sniper is the latest game in the Hitman series from Square Enix. In this one, you’ll play once again as Agent 47 as you complete assignments using your sniper and assassination skills. It features some beautifully rendered cut scenes and some pretty impressive graphics. You’ll also be able to replay missions to get a higher score. It’s available right now but beware of those release day bugs.
Kamcord is a new screen capturing application that is aimed at helping you secure footage of the Android games you might be playing. It’s simple to use and has already seen some success on iOS. It uses Android’s native screen capturing capabilities which means you won’t need root but you will need Android Lollipop or better to use it. It’s currently free with no in-app purchases.
Chaos Rings III is the latest member of the Chaos Rings franchise also by Square Enix. This one features really good, Kingdom Hearts-style graphics, game play that was built for mobile, and a long story line full of lore and large weapons. It clocks in at $19.99 but there are no in-app purchases and let’s face it, that’s about how much this game would cost if it came out for the Nintendo 3DS or the PS Vita. If you like jRPGs, this is worth a shot.
Google Photos was released at Google I/O 2015 and is already highly acclaimed thanks to its unlimited storage and slick interface. You can get unlimited photo backup as long as you don’t mind Google compressing it a little bit or you can use your Google Drive space to save the full photos without any modification. It’s been out a week and it’s already heralded as a must-have applications. Just go get it.
If we missed any great Android apps or games news, tell us all about it in the comments. See you next week!
Google, as part of its keynote speech, showed off a more rich Maps client for Android. Due later this year, the new mobile app will offer a full offline experience that includes all of the normal features we take for granted.
Once rolled out users will be able to search for businesses and locations, review hours, and even auto-complete results. In perhaps one of the coolest demonstrations of the day, Google showed off a complete turn-by-turn navigation.
For a quick glimpse, check out the video below at around the 2:11:45 mark.
Although we’ve been able to save maps offline and cache details for some time, it’s nowhere near as fleshed out as the upcoming stuff. Unfortunately, there’s no indication as to when we’ll see the new Maps. The best Google would offer up is “later this year”.
One of the reasons we’re looking forward to the new Maps experience is that it breathes new life into otherwise old and useless devices. You’ll soon be able to take your deactivated or WiFi-only models and repurpose them into working turn-by-turn navigation tools.
The post Full offline Google Maps experience coming this year appeared first on AndroidGuys.
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In case you didn’t know, Google I/O 2015 has kicked off today and there have been a whole number of announcements, not least of which has been the announcement of Android M, the next version of Android to be made available later this year. As part of their plan to give their loyal followers a taste of what’s to come, the Android M Developer Preview has been made available to a select number of Nexus devices (Nexus 5, 6 and 9 in particular). If you don’t currently own one of these devices, and still want to have your taste of Android M, you’re in luck because the very first Android M wallpaper has been dug up from the Developer Preview – you can check it out below (don’t forget to click through to the full resolution image):
As you can probably tell, it’s a spruced up satellite photo that Google has no doubt captured while gathering Google Maps data, and we have to say it looks breathtaking. The resolution of the image is 2334×1920, which is kind of weird, but should still make it perfect for 1080p devices. Hopefully the rest of the Android M wallpapers are more of the same – we’ll let you know if and when more are made available.
What do you think about the first Android M wallpaper? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
The post Enjoy your first taste of the new version of Android with this Android M wallpaper appeared first on AndroidSPIN.
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If you’re an Android user and Game of Thrones fan, you’re probably going to like this news. HBO has today announced at Google I/O 2015 that their subscription, on-demand streaming service HBO Now is coming to Android, and it’s going to be available, not in Winter, but in Summer this year (obligatory Game of Thrones joke *tick*).
With the subscription, you’ll have access to a plethora of HBO content which includes TV shows Silicon Valley and, of course, Game of Thrones, which makes the service a viable option for those who don’t have cable. The price of admission is going to be $14.99 USD per month, which is probably on the pricey side for a streaming service, but for many Game of Thrones fans, that kind of access is priceless.
What do you think about HBO Now coming to Android? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
The post Coming sooner than Winter: HBO Now is coming to Android this Summer appeared first on AndroidSPIN.
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Well it’s like Christmas morning for every Android fan out there today as we have just got through Google’s keynote at their annual Google I/O developers conference. One of the big ones that won’t be available until later this year is offline navigation for Google Maps. This has been a very requested feature and if you’ve ever been on a road trip while using GPS on your phone you know the tortures of losing signal and not being able to navigate until you get one again. Thankfully Google has heard our pleas from between the mountains and will be giving us the ability to have turn-by-turn navigation without the need for a data connection.
Not only do you get turn-by-turn, but you can also search maps that are saved offline and navigate directly to said location all while being completely offline, or in the case of the demo, Airplane mode. This will definitely come in handy when traveling abroad or just driving through the mountains while on your way to San Francisco from Los Angeles. Whatever the use case, this is definitely one feature that I have been anxiously waiting for.