TOP FIVE AN­NOUNCE­MENTS AT GOOGLEI/O2014

That should re­ally mat­ter to you

HWM (Malaysia) - - LEARN - by James Lu

Google is a soft­ware com­pany and Google I/O is where de­vel­op­ers come to­gether to mess about with tech wiz­ardry. Of course, you don’t need to know what goes on be­hind the closed doors of geek cen­tral. What you do want to know are the ac­tual stuff that will make its way into the de­vices you use and rely on ev­ery­day.

AN­DROID L: A BRAND NEW LOOK FOR GOOGLE

Google un­veiled An­droid L at I/O, which in­cludes some 5,000 new APIs. The big­gest change in An­droid L is Ma­te­rial De­sign, a new de­sign aes­thetic that goes be­yond L and rep­re­sents a uni­fied new look and feel for all of Google’s plat­forms, ex­tend­ing from phones to tablets, to the Web and desk­top. Ma­te­rial De­sign adds shad­ows, sub­tle tex­tures and bright col­ors to An­droid, and a shift from square icons to round ones. There’s a dy­namic depth ef­fect too, with apps and in­for­ma­tion boxes slid­ing over each other and dis­ap­pear­ing when closed. Google has also made a slight tweak to its sys­tem-wide Roboto font, which is now a bit wider and rounder, mak­ing it eas­ier to read on small dis­play de­vices like a smartwatch.

BET­TER PER­FOR­MANCE AND GAM­ING ON YOUR AN­DROID DE­VICE

An­droid L will in­clude sup­port for 64-bit pro­ces­sors and will also be the first ver­sion of An­droid to run ex­clu­sively on ART, the An­droid run­time suc­ces­sor to Dalvik that was in­tro­duced with KitKat. This should mean that fu­ture apps will have bet­ter over­all per­for­mance, bet­ter mem­ory man­age­ment, and lower power draw, re­sult­ing in more bat­tery life. An­droid L also comes with a new “Ex­ten­sion Pack” that of­fers what Google claims are “PC gam­ing” ca­pa­bil­i­ties on high-end smart­phones and tablets. It does this by fa­cil­i­tat­ing higher-fi­delity graph­ics tech­niques such as tes­sel­la­tion and ge­om­e­try shad­ing in An­droid games. This should bet­ter cap­ture the po­ten­tial of pow­er­ful chips like NVIDIA’s Te­gra K1.

CHEAP SMART­PHONES FOR EMERG­ING MAR­KETS

While Google has hit some im­pres­sive stats, in­clud­ing 1 bil­lion ac­tive users, 20 bil­lion texts and 93 mil­lion self­ies a day, An­droid Chief, Sun­dar Pichai, noted that that only cov­ers a frac­tion of the world’s pop­u­la­tion. As such, Google will be ramp­ing up its ef­forts to reach peo­ple who so far haven’t been able to af­ford a smart­phone. Google’s new An­droid One ref­er­ence plat­form is de­signed specif­i­cally for de­vel­op­ing mar­kets, and uses stock An­droid and low-cost parts. Pichai showed off an ex­am­ple de­vel­oped by Mi­cro­max, which has a 4.5-inch dis­play, dual SIM card slots and an FM ra­dio, all for un­der US$100.

AN­DROID AUTO

An­droid L won’t just be avail­able on your phone, tablet, smartwatch and TV, it’s also com­ing to your car. Sim­ply sync your smart­phone with your car’s in­te­grated dis­play, and you can con­trol ev­ery­thing else via the nav­i­ga­tion but­tons on your steer­ing wheel or through voice com­mands. You can get di­rec­tions and plan routes through Google Maps, send mes­sages with a speech-to-text API, and find and play mu­sic, among other things. There’s also a Google Now-style home screen that can give you a ba­sic over­view of what’s go­ing on.

AN­DROID TV

Google’s An­droid TV is a nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion from Google TV and Chromecast. Run­ning na­tively on your TV or on a sep­a­rate set-top box, An­droid TV will stream con­tent from the Google Play Store, as well as part­ners like Net­flix and Hulu. Like the Chromecast, you can also broad­cast con­tent straight from your smart­phone, tablet or note­book. Search will also be an in­te­gral part of An­droid TV, and it will be able to pro­vide ad­di­tional con­tex­tual in­for­ma­tion about your fa­vorite shows and ac­tors. One of the fea­tures that sets An­droid TV apart from other sim­i­lar de­vices will be its cross-plat­form gam­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties. De­vices will come with a con­troller, and gamers will be able to play mul­ti­player Google Play Games on­line with friends play­ing on their own An­droid smart­phones and tablets.

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