Friday, May 29, 2015

Google IO 2015 - All things related to Android M

A few hours ago , Google announced its new developer preview of Android M - A system that is said to bring refinement to the already gorgeous material design . Unveiled at Google IO 2015 in San Francisco , the entire show as usual was broadcasted live via youtube , although i was never able to attend any of the Google IO events , i managed to secure a seat at our national GDG Sri Lanka Google IO Extended event held in Colombo where i was able to use the slow and crowded Wifi connection to type this blog entry . 

*Android M 
*Google Photos 
*Android wear 
*Android TV
*Android auto
*Google cardboard 
*JUMP (with GoPro)
*Project Brillo and WEAVE

Android in numbers 
Did you know that 8/10 smartphones shipped last year were Android devices ? and did you know that there are over 4000 specific Android devices launched at date ..well these were some of the specs Google put out last night , and here is the remainder

*600 million new Android users added last year ( Android crossed the 1 billion mark a year before that so Android is going for the next billion as well )
*900 million Gmail users to date 
*1 billion Chrome , Youtube , maps users on Android 
*400 Android OEM's 300 mobile carriers 
* 17 million Chromecast users 
*1.5 billion Chromecast presses 
*20,000 Chromecast supported apps
*1000 Android Pay supported apps , 700,000 registered payment points 
*4000 Android wear apps , 1500 watch faces 
*10 million students use Chromebooks 
*7 Android wear models 
*35 car manufacturers support Android wear 

Android M

Milkshake? Muffin? Marsh mellow ? Milky way? who knows , but whatever it is , its (The developer preview) going to be good to test out first -hand if you have a Nexus 5, 6 or Nexus 9 at your disposal .The developer preview of Android M features many of the core material design elements from Android 5.0 with some subtle additions such as a volume control slider to the notification tray and the new feature that will make App permissions simpler

- The new card displays only what the component the app requires eg- contacts ,and you can allow it if you want ,this break down of permissions applies across all the usual permissions available on Android - Location, Camera, Microphone, Contacts, Phone, SMS, Calendar, and Sensor , and you can visit each permission under settings or visit the app's permission chart and then select or de-select the one you want .This feature is only available for Apps designed using the new M SDK and previous legacy apps will continue to follow the traditional method .

Google also unveiled a new web view feature for Android Apps , previously , clicking any link on a app will bring about a toggle which asks you whether you want to open it on a browser or the app itself , the new control on M gives the operating system the task of assigning whether to open it on chrome or to open it on the app itself after it verifies the link after communicating with the server that hosts the particular link .

Google chrome is further enhanced and displays smooth transitions and gallery ui effects , Chrome can now be set to run on top of your app .Chrome Custom Tabs manages  the behavior of each app when links are clicked . 

The next feature of Android M is native support for Fingerprint scanners , This move enhances security of devices and can be used in conjunction with Android Pay - a NFC payment system . Although Android pay is nothing new as it technically existed from the days of KitKat , the new addition of Fingerprint scanner support means the payment can be confirmed by just a swipe of your finger . The finger print scanner is also said to support App purchases which can be confirmed in just the same way  .Android pay is said to support all major US credit card companies as well as all three major phone service carriers to set up Android Pay when a new device is purchased .

Android M also focuses on power management , Android being a true mutitasking OS keeps many apps at  throttle until needed , but this in turn decreases battery life in turn and for devices like tablets -which are used rarely - this feature is a bad reputation . Android M fixes that with Android Doze - a system that detects whether a device is on idle or not by checking vibration levels via the acclerometer . If the device is on idle , the system will scale down ensuring power saving . According to tests , the Nexus 9 running Android M scored 2x more battery life than a model running Lollipop

Android Family star is Android's much needed kids mode , here parents can select apps for their children by filtering content that it only approved with the family star , content listed under the feature will be set with clear notices stating whether it supports in app purchases right up front and age ranges including below 5 , 6-8 years and 9-12 years .Content from major cartoon companies , science apps and other related books and movies can be viewed under the family star logo and special password locks can be set for apps with In app purchases so kids wont mistakenly run your credit card account dry .

Standardization of new hardware protocols are also set with Android M , USB Type C  - a new generation of MicroUSB allows fast charging and reverse charging for smartphones and tablets and the whole Android ecosystem .Although devices like the Nokia N1 were first to sport this new standard , its not going to be alone as OEM's are already working on launching devices with the Type C soon .

Smarter Google Now

Google now is smart , but it hit a whole new level with Android M , now Google now lives as "Now On Tap" , she can be activated with a tap on the home button on any screen , and when you are ready , you can ask any related question  - for example , if your friend sends you a IM about a new movie , you can ask google now for tickets reviews or any other details like ratings or IMDB information without even mentioning the movie , this natural voice recognition software runs by analyzing the content of the message or app and then search for relevant info  , it works well so far , if you ask for details about a particular artist on your music collection when it is playing , Google now will answer by taking the songs name , artist  or album as priority , this also works with any other task like shopping info and restaurants where you can book reservations and even get directions at a glance . Google now also supports Google's new multi layer image detection algorythms which can distinguish the correct image for search results

Google Photos - The app 

Google photos have taken a evolutionary step forward by giving free unlimited storage for pictures , and video .The service saves pictures in 16MP and videos in 1080p .The app features a unique image recognition system which means you can search for a climate  or any types of geography of the picture - ex - search beach and you will be met with all photos containing a beach taken since the day you started using Android and Google drive . The same way works for people as well , you can create a special header with you or your loved ones and all pictures uploaded or taken in the future (and uploaded) will display under their respective header . you can also zoom in and out of pictures to make the album display in days - months-years  ,kind of like the Xperia album ui .

Google photos also has a collage creator which lets you create a insta photo collage with the ones you selected , there is also a feature that lets you combine individual video clips into a single movie edit

Android Wear

Android Wear is also set to get a few upgrades of its own ,apart from the always on display - a feature which means the clock will now stay on like any other watch so you dont have to twist your hand to see the time , you can also keep  watch apps always on as well . Although no Android wear devices were unveiled , Sundar did mention that new watches will arrive by the end of the year .

As of now , there are 4000 Android wear apps with 1500 Android watch faces , Android wear now supports emoji in which you can reply IM's with a hand written gesture which will bring up the relevant emoji from the app list , there is also better maps and a newer launcher which you can scroll through by twisting your hand as well .

Chromecast /Android TV

With 17 million Chromecast devices sold , the Chromecast platform is here to stay , Chromecast of the future will support multi user/multiplayer games with the smartphone or tablet taking center stage . New games , video sharing apps and even HBO now and HBO Go are coming to the platform

Android Auto 

Android auto - Google's Android based in car entertainment system is now said to go into mass production vehicles with Hyundai taking the lead with the all new Hyundai Sonata  , Chevrolet is said to bring Android auto to its entire 2016 lineup with The Volkswagen group planning to release it on upcoming Volkswagen and Audi models for next year ,Overall Android Auto has a 35 car brand following .

Google Cardboard 

Google's fun and easy to build Cardboard VR headset has got even better , to compensate for the increase in screen sizes , the new VR headset will feature a even larger flap to accommodate larger phones upto 6" and now it supports iOS devices as well . Along with the new photos app , the new Google cardboard initiative hopes to give users a stereoscopic VR experience with classrooms being the main focus where childern can experience a true to life VR tour of famous places around the world .Google cardboard has so far shipped 1 million cardboard VR headsets


Jump is Google's new initiative to launch stereoscopic content for its VR division , the JUMP system - in collaboration with GoPro hopes to launch a 360 degree camera rig complete with 16 GoPro cameras for stereoscopic 360' 3D video and image processing . Google is said to unveil a special system that will "do the polishing" of the recorded footage by clearing seams and compressing for cloud storage , but thats for the future

Google project Brillo and project weave 

Project Brillo is basically a system designed for IOT - internet of things , the system , which runs a basic scaled down version of Android is mostly Linux at heart , but Android features such as ARM soc support are added so manufactures can import their own stacks which were already available for Android devices . The Brillo platform is set work on embedded systems and connected devices (IoT) such as Thermostats (nest) and smart electric appliances

Project weave on the other hand is a API set for device communication between Brillo devices and mobile devices

Written by Rakitha for MasHD

Sources- Google IO / Anandtech

Sources - anandtech

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