What You Missed From This Year's Google I/OThousands of excited people flocked to San Francisco for Google I/O 2014, and a million more watched the live stream online. I/O 2014 came with a flurry of announcements, and though there were no Google-Glass-sized surprises dropped this year, fans still have lots to look forward to. Heres the top five most important announcements of Google I/O 2014:
1. Android One: Technology For The Developing WorldWhile smartphones have become a cornerstone of the developed world, the same isnt entirely true (yet) for whats referred to as the next billion: the population of developing countries. The Android One project is a set of guidelines that facilitate the creation of low-price smartphones that can still run Googles cutting edge software. The first of these Android One phones, which was demonstrated during I/O, is set to debut from Indian manufacturer, Micromax, this fall. The phone costs less that $100 to make, and will most likely be sold for less than $200 unlocked, allowing many more people access to smartphone technology.
2. Android L: What Android 5.0 Is Going To BringThe long-awaited Android 5.0 was finally introduced, and for many, the reveal was one of the most exciting announcements at the I/O keynote. This new version of Android has been code-named Android L, and its a significant update to Android 4.0, not only because of a radical design change, but also because it will be the unifying, global UI for all newly announced Google devices. This means that all Google devices will be able to communicate and interact seamlessly with one another. Google explained their concept of Material Design, the foundation of the UI, which focuses on dynamic motions, animations, and a 3D-depth based interface that's more intuitive than previous incarnations. The concept is promising, but the update isnt slated to drop for consumers until later this year.
Google's Material Design ConceptOn top of that, lock screen and notifications settings on mobile have been revamped, while ART (Android Run Time) promises to double phone speed and performance. Also announced was Project Volta, a battery-saving system which will feature a 'Battery Historian', which tracks usage, and a 'Battery Saving Mode' which promises up to 90 minutes of extra battery life.
3. Android Wear: The Smartphone Experience EverywhereWith the announcement of three smart watches supported by Android L, Android Wear embodies Googles focus on expanding Android's accessibility. LG, Motorola, and Samsung are all stepping up and collaborating with Google to bring notifications, apps, and features from your phone to your wrist. Android Wear is an important step up from existing smart watches, as the ability to integrate with Google hardware allows for access to Google Nows predictive learning notifications and voice command ability. Google demonstrated one of the features that accompany this interaction: when the user is wearing their Bluetooth-enabled smart watch, their phone, tablet, or laptop recognizes their identity without the need for a security passcode.
4. Android Auto: Bringing Google To The RoadGoogles competition with Apple continues to heat up with the announcement of Android Auto, a system similar to Apples Carplay. Android Auto, set to debut this year, focuses on making driving easier and safer with optimized voice commands, integrated steering wheel controls, and an interface designed with drivers in mind. Android Auto will be compatible with car screens from a variety of manufacturers, and will, once again, be running Android L in order to integrate with other devices. Incorporating Google Now notification styles, Android Auto enables voice controls which allow you to send messages, access music, and work with apps from your phone or tablet.
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