Yesterday Google held their annual I/O conference and there were some pretty interesting and new things announced at the keynote. Here’s my top 5 list of things that for me was the most interesting and the most important.
1. A new version of Android.
Hooray! I love getting my hands on new software. A new version of Android (5.0) is due in the fall which currently Google are simply referring to it as “Android L”. It has many significant improvements over the previous version of Android including a smoother and more cohesive user experience, a new UI, notification enhancements, 64-bit processor support, less resource hungry, the ability to use a smartwatch to authenticate oneself, Android auto and a ton of other improvements. I’m most excited to see this new, more refined UI in Android and the performance improvements that’ll be coming in this new version. Android Auto also looks to be interesting, same sort of idea as iOS car play, it’ll be interesting to see how both of these platforms will play out once more manufacturers integrate these systems in to more of their vehicles. Android Auto looks to be a step ahead at this point however as it was revealed during the demonstration, Android Auto seems to be more integrated with other systems in the car, giving you diagnostic information etc at a tap of the screen.
2. New UI design language.
Google announced that they’ve created a new universal UI design language that they are calling “material” and they’ll be rolling out across many Google products and it’ll be cross platform. A few of the new features of this new design language is the update of the already fairly widely used and well accepted “Roboto” font, vivid colours and new subtle animations. This framework that Google is pushing for UI design should prevent many apps on Android from looking sloppy and incohesive from the rest of the Android platform, bringing Google that one step closer to more uniformity on the currently fragmented platform that is Android.
3. Entry-level pure Android devices for developing markets.
An excellent move to bring more Android devices (and mobile connectivity in general) to more places, obviously one can only guess that they likely aren’t the fastest devices in the world or have particularly amazing build quality, but I think this was an excellent decision by Google.
4. Android TV.
The successor of Google TV and again a much more cohesive user experience by the looks of it. Nice, clean looking UI and many of the same features and entertainment services you’d likely find on the average Smart TV. Good integration with mobile Android devices too.
5. The Moto 360.
A smartwatch that isn’t “in your face” it retains that classic simple element of “it’s a watch, you use it to tell the time” with a bit of seamless “almost in the background” smartwatch capabilities. And a round face! I think it’s the sign that technology is working for you when a user experience becomes transparent and I think that is what Google are trying to achieve here with the Moto 360 and it looks like it’ll do well.
What were your favourite highlights from the Google I/O keynote 2014? Feel free to drop them in the comments below.