Today has been quite long, but also incredibly exciting! We kicked off the morning with our HOA I/O pre-show hangout on the HOA Youtube channel. Special thanks goes out to everyone who stopped by and chatted with us or submitted a question, I had tons of fun this morning! Looking back at my I/O preview from last night, some of my predictions were spot on, others were…predictions! There was a huge amount of information to soak in throughout the day, and we’ve already detailed some of the important stuff in Max’s Android M Preview Posts. Lets now take a quick look at everything that went down, how awesome it is on a scale of 1 to amazeballs, and what it means to us as Android users!
- Android M- We got our hands on the expected Android M developer preview. Max already ran down a nice list of features and put together a video detailing the changes. Some of my favorite additions to M include the new battery saving doze feature, more control over app permissions, native fingerprint support, and a better Chrome browser experience inside apps. There was also a conspiracy theory floating around that because Dave Burke had a Milkshake on his Android Wear watch face that M=Milkshake. Unfortunately, Dave took to Twitter to further tease all of us with a photo showing his favorite ‘M’ desserts. Apparently malt liquor is a dessert, or Dave Burke is an alcoholic, or both…
- App Permissions in Android M- This is still part of M, but deserves some special attention for being particularly important. Google took a pretty awesome approach to additional user control of app permissions, allowing users to now approve permissions when they are needed by an app-instead of at install. This not only removes my previous concerns over ,”breaking features of an app”, but also educates users on exactly how their favorite apps use these permissions. I think this implementation will lead to more satisfied users and ultimately more educated users as well.
- Cardboard Update and Jump- I mentioned this morning in the HOA Hangout preview that I expected some news on Cardboard, and we got just that. Instead of a sweeping design overhaul of the casing, Google is giving us better support across all Android devices. This will allow more devices to use cardboard, and also make the experience more fluid. Google also talked about how they plan to capture more experiences that look nice in a VR setting, using their new platform called Jump. If you have enough tiny cameras, you can turn your actual world into virtual reality.
- Project Brillo- We talked a lot about the IOT-“Internet of Things”, this morning in the hangout. Google indeed spent a significant amount of time talking about how they will connect all the things inside your home. The majority of the focus was on Project Brillo, Google’s answer to streamline the Internet of Things, and make it work for you. The main issue with current smart light bulbs or door locks is that they don’t work together, hopefully Project Brillo will change all that. Other than some nice words and pictures, Google didn’t have any concrete demos for Brillo at I/O, but it is a very exciting future prospect.
- Google Now on Tap- This was one of my favorite features introduced for M. Google Now is being integrated into most Google apps on your phone, using contextual information to take action you already want. The feature also has some third party app support, it appears that this is the next logical step for Google in the search space. I am a huge fan of Google Now so this is an automatic win in my book.
- Android Pay- Android Pay is coming, but apparently it isn’t fully replacing Google Wallet. Theoretically, in 6 months you could run Google Wallet, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay, all on the same phone! The good news is that Android Pay, unlike Wallet, has several bank and retail partners out of the gate. Hopefully Android Pay gains some traction, but I still think mobile payments are so fragmented that “normal” people find it confusing. Yes, I’m saying everyone that reads our site is special, not “normal”, and isn’t that better anyway?
- New Photos App- The new Photos app went live today and brings some sweet new features. You now get curated collections of your photos, and can view them across days, months, and even years with a simple pinch gesture. Auto-awesome gets some improvements with more user control. You also now have the ability to send a link to your photos when sharing, the links can be later deleted for added privacy. Go grab the new Photos app now!
- NVIDIA Shield is on sale now- Shane already told us that the NVIDIA Shield and Shield Pro are on sale at NVIDIA’s site and Amazon. This wasn’t really a big part of the keynote, but was low-key one of the best announcements of the day! You also get some free goodies ($30 Play Credit, and 3 months of Play Music Unlimited) if you buy the Shield, and an additional Borderlands game download with the Shield Pro.
Thats my list of top announcements from Google I/O 2015 Day 1. There was a lot to get excited about. I’m still waiting on a new Android Wear watch to pop up tomorrow, and ATAP has their presentation that will “knock our socks off.” Tomorrow should be a lot of fun. Stay tuned here to HOA for more news on the M preview, great video walk-throughs, and more news roundups like this. What was your favorite announcement today?
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