Here is a brief overview of what went down in the Moscone Centre last night at Google I/O 2015. The conference started with a massive Pong game stretching across the panoramic screen around the venue. Some guy won a giant fluffy Android toy!
Last year 8 out of 10 phones shipped were Android phones. There are over 400 unique Android devices on the market varying from low-end Android One devices to high-end tablets such as the Xperia Z4 Tablet.
But really let’s get into the meaty bits for us phone users. First up was Android M Developer preview. There were really six new aspects spoken about on this:-
- Custom tabs for Chrome. Instead of the app having to have a built-in browser like Twitter or Facebook, the app can use a Custom Chrome tab if the developer chooses to. This gives you a much better experience when using apps.
- App Permissions improved. The OS will be aware which app you’re after.
- Android Pay NFC payment system. This will be supported across all Android devices with KitKat or above provided they have NFC. Working with banks already and Visa Europe have announced compatibility. It is secure as it will use a virtual card number instead of your real one.
- Fingerprint Sensors will use Android Pay, instead of having to enter your PIN code you can use your fingerprint on a compatible device. Expect the next Nexus to have a fingerprint reader then.
- Doze. This will be introduced for better power management. It’s very much the same idea as Connected Standby on Windows Tablets or Power Nap on Macbooks. In tests the Nexus 9 lasted twice as long.
- Faster charging via USB Type C. Google is working with hardware partners to introduce USB Type C to phones for better charging and connectivity solutions.
The Developer Preview has gone live already. If you have a Nexus 5, 6, 9 or Nexus Player you can download it from the Google Developer Portal. I am going to be installing it on a newly acquired Nexus 5 when it arrives next week.
Here we were told that Wear has been a great growth platform and that Google are working to improve it even more with some cool new features.
- Always-on apps. These allow you to see the content without having to wake your screen.
- WiFi and GPS coming to Wear if hardware is compatable. We knew this one already.
- New app Launcher to make getting into your apps easier.
- Gesture control of Android Wear. By flicking your wrist you initiate actions on the watch.
- Express your emotions by drawing Emojis on the screen. Great for using instant messaging apps such as Facebook messenger.
- Wrist Gestures to control the Wear device. This will let you navigate through cards by moving your wrist (less sniggering). This is really clever and it looks like it will work well too.
This is just a taste of what was announced at I/O yesterday. There were plenty of other juicy things talked about but we will cover them in other articles. Keep it here for more news as it happens.