Thoughts on Google IO 2014

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Google IO is their annual developer conference here are our thoughts.

Android wearables

The most exciting part of the night for the majority of consumers was previewing of the new Android wearables. Up until now the standardisation of wearables was not clear, with many developers and consumers trying to distinguish what the real uses for them will be.

At IO, Google lay all those doubts to rest and 3 smart watches from 3 major brands (LG, Samsung and Motorola), have all been released for pre-order. Smart watches are clearly going to be the pioneers of wearable devices and they are going to be an extension of the existing phone and Android platform.

Slick new features such as not needing to unlock the phone when the user is wearing the watch or being able to see notifications and voice controls were all features that could have been predicted. But the real value of the devices was unveiled in a demo involving the recipe app 'allthecooks' where users could load the recipe onto their smart watch. Meaning a user can have the ingredients on their watch as well as each step by step instruction.

The coolest bit was; when it comes to popping your food in the oven the watch can set a timer for you to tell you when it's done. This micro command and micro information style approach is truly exciting and a whole lot more usable than previous visions of trying to use your smart watch as a fully featured smartphone.

In bullets

  • Android L is a huge release with 5000 new APIs
  • New wearables clock face design supports both round and square faces
  • Google have acquired Appurify for better testing
  • Complete design overhaul called "Material" focus on 3d effects, "what if pixels didn't just have color but had depth"
  • New animations for seamless integration between screens
  • New z indexing features, encouraging users to animate UI movement rather than things magically appearing on the screen - the new design gives depth to the UI
  • Google will gradually be re-doing all their apps using the new designs, the dialer app is the first and example for developers
  • Real time lighting feature for UI
  • New feature called pallet which can created a color scheme from images
  • New unlocking features with android wearables (get close with your watch and it will unlock your phone for you)
  • Integrated battery saver mode (probably much like juice defender but integrated) - project called Volta
  • New Android Auto API (released in autumn)
  • 64 bit support to match Apple
  • New notifications on the lock screen - able to read and dismiss notifications on lock screen

Other Links

Link for Android wearables video:

Link to the new Google Design guides:

Link to the 'material' demo video:

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