Like every year a lot of action took place at this year’s Google I/O too. We’re providing you a quick roundup of major product announcements made at company’s annual conference. And since we’ve a lot to cover, let’s get started right now:
Android N Naming Poll:
As we told you already in our previous posts, Google has left the naming of its upcoming Android version over users. In fact, some Indian food items like Nankhatai and Neyappam have already made it to the suggestion list, thanks to Android’s large userbase in India. You too can submit the name of any food item starting with the letter “N” from here.
Android N Developer Preview:
As expected, the biggest show stealer at Google I/O was Android N. Google had already released the developer preview of OS sometime ago, but the fresh preview that it showed at I/O has got some changes. This is the third version of preview dubbed Developer Preview 3 (DP 3 in short) and the major changes made into it are given below:
- Compatibility with Android Pay: Apps that didn’t work in earlier versions due to additional security requirements (like Android Pay) will work with this preview.
- Themes for Google Keyboard: This feature has been available in Swiftkey and other third-party keyboards from a long time, but now Google has also decided to provide it with its own stock keyboard. Now you can customize the appearance of your stock Google Keyboard by choosing several themes made of different colors. There’re 14 different theme options to choose form. Moreover, you can also use your own image as a background for your keyboard!
- Removal of Night Mode: To be frank, this seems a bit absurd. The night mode theme that was found in System UI tuner of earlier Developer Previews has strangely been removed. Many developers had already added night mode to their apps based on earlier previews. Now why Google decided to drop it from this version is unclear.
- Vulcan: This is a new 3D graphics API that’ll allow app developers to directly access and control the GPU of device. Needless to say that it’ll result in more optimized consumption of your phone’s resources.
Other minor changes include new wallpapers, a more eye-candy update animation and return of Manual Exposure controls in Camera.
Android Apps and Play Store Coming to Chrome OS:
We had reported about this last month, and now it’s official. Google announced at I/O that Play Store is coming to Chrome OS.
Allo: The New Messaging App With In-Built Assistant:
This is Google’s response to our increasing tryst with messengers. And this is also the answer to Facebook M. The new messaging app that it released Android and iOS is a messenger with in-built personal assistant. The affectionately named “Google Assistant” in this app can provide tips, suggestions, information and much more during any conversation thread. For example, if you’re planning a dinner with your friends while chatting with them at Allo, it can pop up restaurant cards as suggestions. The Google Assistant built into Allo can be woken up at anytime by typing @Google in the space where you type your message.
Aside from that, Allo also has Smart Replies feature that Google introduced with Inbox. However, it’s not yet available for download. Fortunately you can preregister yourself to be notified when it’s made available.
Android Wear 2.0:
Google also released version 2.0 of Android Wear at Google I/O. With this version now Google is aiming at customization, fitness and messaging. This is unarguably the biggest update ever done to Android Wear. It brings customizable watch faces that can display some information from any of your desired apps, artificial intelligence powered smart replies for messaging and the ability to run some apps (especially those related to fitness and music) independently without having to have your phone in your pocket. These useful features can make Android Wear more useful in normal life.