In a crowded, standing-room Google I/O 2013 kicked off with the Keynote. Google’s SVP Vic Gundotra welcomed the 6,000 in attendance as well as the 40,000+ in attendance worldwide at the viewing parties, and the 1,000,000 watching on YouTube. He then turned it over to Google’s new SVP in charge of Android, Chrome & Apps, Sundar Pichai. Sundar talked about us being at one of the most innovative phases of computing, with us seeing people around the world increasingly using different computing devices, as well as two large fast growing, scalable platforms in Android and Chrome.
He touched base on Android’s current activations, reaching the 100 million in 2011, 400 million in 2012 and now 900 million in 2013. He also spoke regarding the journey Google is undertaking to bring the remaining 4.5 billion users in the world online and how that can make a difference in their lives. After that, he turned it over to Hugo Barra, VP of Product Management for Android.
Hugo spoke to the 48 billion app installs on Google Play, with 2.5 billion in the last month alone. He gave us a teaser about adding new dev services and tools associated with Google Play with the availability of the Google Play Services API, which provides the latest APIs to all devices consistently. He gave some notes about new location APIs being added to the Google Maps API:
- Fused Location Provider provides a redesigned location system for the device, and uses less than 1% battery per hour.
- Geofencing lets you define “geo fences” that activate when a user enters a specific area while using an app, with up to 100 fences available per app
- Activity Recognition allows your application to auto sense if the user is walking, driving or biking
The next feature mentioned the Google+ Sign-In, which allows developers to utilize cross-platform single sign-on between devices, and lets a web application auto-install the app on a tablet or phone.
After Google+ Sign-In, Google Cloud Messaging was the focus. 60% of the top apps in the Play Store use GCM, with 200K messages/sec and 17 billion/day being served. GCM is also now part of Google Play services, and brings 3 new features for developers:
- Persistent Connections
- Upstream Messaging
- New api syncs notifications across all devices (acknowledge a notification on one device and it goes away across devices)
The next thing talked about was Google Play Game Services, which includes the following for game developers:
- Cloud Save, allowing for player progression and game state to be saved across all devices
- Achievements, giving developers the ability to keep track of new areas of games the player achieves
- Leaderboards, let players keep track of how they are doing on a game in comparison to their friends or the world
- Multiplayer Game Services, a feature that (even though the demo didn’t work due to network congestion) allows you to invite people from your Google+ circles to play a game together
The Google Play Services update has already begun rolling out today for all devices, and developers will be able to start taking advantage of these new features immediately.
Eclipse has always been the defacto standard tool for creating Android applications – especially if you don’t want to use a text editor and ANT. Even though it is the standard doesn’t mean that people like it. It’s kinda like that annoying wart you have on your hand that you can’t get rid of and you finally just accept. But Google has come up with the “wart killer” in Android Studio. They partnered with Jetbrains to create a new tool based on IntelliJ which has been released into the open source world. A few of the killer features built into the tool are:
- Live rendering of your code (layouts, icons, etc.), allowing you to see exactly what your code is looking like while you build as well as how it will look across any device
- Easily add any Android API immediately into your code
One of the other big things spoken about was Google’s take on Android 4.2.2 on a device that isn’t, and will not be classified as, a Nexus device. The Samsung Galaxy S4 is the hottest selling device available today, but runs TouchWiz Nature UX 2.0. Many people feel this version of TouchWiz is a massive regression to pre-Gingerbread TouchWiz, and removes any advances that TouchWiz had made with the original TouchWiz Nature found on the Galaxy S III, Note and Note II.
Google announced that the Samsung S 4 Google Edition will be available June 26, and will be unlike any other Galaxy S device from Samsung. It will ship without Samsung software. That alone, for many people, makes this about the most compelling piece of news coming out of the Keynote. The Google Edition will come with stock Android 4.2 (no word on a new version yet), dual-carrier support (ATT and T-Mobile), LTE support, 16 GB storage, prompt system updates from Google, and will ship with the bootloader unlocked. While the price tag of $649 could be a deterrent for some, it is in line with the Samsung version while note packing the same “software” features.
That ends our overview coverage of the Keynote. While there were other things announced, they don’t directly impact XDA as much as they reside in the peripheral. Feel free to go watch the rebroadcast of the Keynote below or at Google Developers YouTube page.
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