Google I/O Keynote: Updates in Wearables, TV, and Automobiles
Google revealed today several highly-anticipated announcements around the updated Android operating system at its annual developers conference, Google I/O, in San Francisco.
The main takeaway? The new Android OS is coming to your smartwatches, your automobiles, and your big TV screens--and Google wants there to be context and seamless connection between all of it.
Director of Android User Experience Matias Duarte was one of the first speakers at the conference. He emphasized that the new Andorid update "L" is all about design, design, design. (Yes, Android sadly updated from Android KitKat to Android L--in lieu of "Lollipop" or "Lemonhead.")
The presenters spent a large portion of the keynote demonstrating Android's improved interface, which includes 3D views. A new snazzy feature includes personal unlocking of your mobile device. This means, for instance, that it can sense that you're holding it--via communication with your personal bluetooth watch--so your phone won't challenge you with a lock screen.
Speaking of watches. Samsung, LG and Motorola have developed Android powered smartwatches that can tell you your flight status, help you order a pizza and request a Lyft ride.
Another conference, another protest
At one point, Dave Burke, director of engineering at Google, was interrupted by a protestor--as is almost inevitable today at San Francisco tech events. The protestor's sign read "Develop a conscience. Stop Jack Halprin." Halprin is a Google lawyer who, himself, has been met with protests before.
Burke was showing off Android L's new Battery Historian, which allows you to correlate battery discharge with your phone use history. “Android now has a toggleable battery saver mode, which might help you through a long day at work, or maybe a long protest," he said wryly to audience laughter.
Car and TV: The grand finale
Andorid also announced the Android Auto SDK so developers can begin developing apps specifically for the car. Some Android auto features were demonstrated on stage. Users can plug their Android phones into their vehicles and being speaking commands in the same way that they command Google Now. For example, while driving, users can draft and send messages with their voice as well as command Android to navigate.
During its last big reveal, Google showed off Android TV. Android will act as the core OS of the television, and users can control their TV using a smartphone. Voice activation is also available, so that you can tell your TV, via your smartphone, to play Breaking Bad.
The key for Google is that it plans for all of these new devices to connect. That means you can also use your Android smartwatch as a remote if your smarphone isn't nearby.
Sundar Pichai, senior vice president of Android, Chrome and apps, said that Google's main big picture goal is to build on four principles that enable connection between all of these devices. These principles include making devices that are: contextually aware (meaning it knows where you are), voice-enabled, seamless, and emphasize mobile first.