Google's I/O developer conference at Moscone Center in San Francisco kicked off off today with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, the Nexus 7 tablet, and a wild, Project Glass-infused skydiving event. Stay up to date with all the news from I/O 2012 in this handy Story Stream.
May 18, 2021
Android 12 public beta is now available: here’s how to install it
Google unveiled Android 12 at its opening I/O 2021 keynote, and now you can try the new update yourself as part of the first public beta. The Android 12 public beta is currently available for Google’s Pixel phones (Pixel 3 and up) and will also come to devices from OnePlus, Lenovo, Asus, Oppo, Realme, Sharp, Tecno, TCL, Vivo, Xiaomi, and ZTE. You can enroll your Pixel phone on Google’s Android beta site or find specific instructions for other supported phones on the Android Developers page.Read Article >
Android 12 brings a cornucopia of new features, but the most exciting are the new visuals. Along with new animations, widgets, and a modified lock screen, Android 12 also offers theming, with the ability to change the colors used across the OS just by changing your wallpaper. Not all of the dramatic visual changes will be available in this first beta, but they should roll out over time as we get closer to release.
May 17, 2021
Google is teasing a big Wear OS update for smartwatches Tuesday at I/O
A new tweet from the official Wear OS Twitter account is teasing an update tomorrow at I/O 2021 to Google’s frequently forgotten smartwatch operating system. Google has even suggested that the developer conference will feature an entirely new version of Wear OS on the I/O Adventure page, the “virtual sandbox” for trying the products Google will announce at the conference, 9to5Google writes.Read Article >
Wear OS has been on a long and bumpy journey up until this point — with new features, but not the dramatic rethinking of the platform that it may need. In the last year, Google has added a new keyboard, support for third-party Tiles (Wear OS’s answer to glanceable widget-like information), and improvements to performance. But the last major design change to Wear OS — other than the addition of Tiles — came in 2018. If anything, Google’s tease is a welcome sign of life.
Jul 12, 2012
A closer look at Google's Android Accessory Development Kit 2.0
Last year Google announced the Accessory Development Kit (ADK) for Android, a hackable Arduino box that let you hook up your phone or tablet over USB and program it to work with various apps. It was a pretty stripped-down affair, though, so the company's taken a more design-focused approach with the ADK 2.0, announced at I/O 2012 and explored in detail by Wired. As you can see above, the new ADK has a radical new form factor, and it actually works as a programmable alarm clock and audio dock straight out of the box.Read Article >
The ADK is held together by magnets, making it very easy to pop it open for modifications. On board out of the box are sensors for light, proximity, acceleration, color, humidity, and much more, and hardware engineer Eric Schlaepfer told Wired that Google put as many in as possible simply because it's impossible to predict what people might want to do with them. Some possible uses put forward, however, include "a smarter homebrew robot, picosatellite, hotel room alarm, irrigation controller, motorized remote controlled drapes, smart thermostat, egg timer with atmospheric pressure compensation, talking clock, data logging weather station, and did I mention robots?"
Jul 10, 2012
Android Developer Relations team releases 28 videos from the I/O sessionsRead Article >
Google I/O 2012 has come and gone, but the team over in Mountain View has some new goodies to share with those who couldn't make it out this year. The Android developers team has just posted a huge playlist of 28 videos known as the Android Sessions. Nearly all of these videos are a full hour long, so any Android developer wanting to catch up with all of the news from I/O should block off a lot of time on his or her calendar — and that's not even including the more consumer-focused keynote presentations. The videos touch on a wide variety of topics, including marketing, monetization, security, design, and game development. Sadly absent is any dedicated session on tablet development — with the Nexus 7 coming soon, we're hoping to see Android developers take a stronger interest in building apps for the larger screen. Nonetheless, it's quite a collection of information and you can view the entire playlist right here.
Jul 6, 2012
Google introduces new YouTube API for Android
If you were distracted by all the skydiving and BMX stunts at Google I/O, you may have missed a new YouTube API for Android, announced by Ross McIlroy and Anton Hansson. Set to be made public in the coming months, the API solves a common problem for Android developers, allowing YouTube video content to be embedded seamlessly in native apps.Read Article >
Currently, developers are limited to either embedding video as Flash content, which limits access to the API, or as an iframe in a webview, which Android Central points out is "un-supported on older versions of Android." A workaround involves redirecting users to Google's native YouTube app, but this disrupts the user experience.
Jul 3, 2012
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean review
Google's latest version of the Android operating system is here and will be rolling out to a precious few devices later this month. Unlike the last iteration, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is more about refinement than revolution, but a new feature called "Google Now" has the potential to finally achieve some of the promises we've all heard from smartphone companies for years now. Beyond that, if you're one of the (sadly small) number of people who have used stock Android 4.0, there's nothing here that will throw you off.Read Article >
Within that familiar framework, however, are changes both subtle and not-so-subtle that make Jelly Bean feel robust, grown-up, and most of all fast. Android development is beginning to look like Intel's processor development: there's a "tick" with major UI paradigm shifts that re-imagine what an Android device is and then there's a "tock" with refinements that iterate on what was done before.
Jul 2, 2012
Android manufacturers mostly mum on Jelly Bean updates as Google tries to repair a broken system
After any major OS update, the first question on everybody's mind is naturally "When can I get it?" As Android owners know all-too-well, the answer to that question inevitably involves waiting, rumors, innuendo, leaks, and often crushing disappointment. With the announcement of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean at Google I/O, there was the same hope there is for every Google I/O: that the situation would change. Sadly, it's not at all clear that it will — if the responses we've gotten from major Android OEMs is any indication.Read Article >
In case you missed it, Google only listed a few "Nexus-class" devices that will receive Jelly Bean in July: the Nexus S, Galaxy Nexus, and Motorola Xoom. To get beyond that, we reached out to several OEMs and most have given some variation on "no comment" when it comes to upgrading current devices to 4.1. Acer, Asus, and HTC all declined to comment on whether (to say nothing of when) 4.1 would arrive on their devices — though HTC did say "Watch this space for more information." LG told us it is evaluating Android 4.1 for current devices, but doesn't have anything official to announce. As of this writing, we've not yet heard back from Motorola, but will update this article if and when we do.
Jul 2, 2012
Nexus Q features Magic 8-Ball Easter eggRead Article >
As you can see from the screenshots, the Nexus Q isn't quite up to the standards of Siri or Google Now. The surly, often monosyllabic responses aren't really going to be of much use to anyone, though at least we now know that the Q reads The Verge.
Jun 30, 2012
Vizio Co-Star hands-on: take a chance on Google TV at $99?Read Article >
We showed you Vizio's tiny $99 Google TV and feature-heavy remote control back at CES, but it wasn't quite ready for primetime: here, at Google I/O in San Francisco, we sat down with Vizio CTO Matt McRae to discuss the impending July launch, and got our first real look at the Vizio Co-Star's UI.
Jun 30, 2012
Watch this: Google's I/O 2012 day two keynote video now liveRead Article >
Google's second keynote didn't contain as many hardware announcements as the first, but the company did provide a closer look at its ancillary software. The first major announcement was that Chrome would be coming to the iPhone and iPad, and we've already gotten a chance to give it a spin. Next, it was announced that Google Drive would be coming to iOS and Chrome OS, featuring optical character and image recognition, as well as real-time collaboration. Google also unveiled a totally new product — Compute Engine — which is a direct competitor with Amazon's EC2 (Elastic Cloud Compute) service. There's plenty more information where that came from, so if you didn't get a chance to watch it yesterday, all 79 minutes of Google's second I/O keynote are ready to be watched below.
Jun 29, 2012
Google Nexus Q reviewRead Article >
Six months ago former Google CEO Eric Schmidt predicted that Google TV would be embedded on the majority of new televisions by this summer. That hasn't happened, but it's not stopping Mountain View from entering the living room from a different angle — with its own branded media streamer, the Nexus Q. The Q acts exclusively as a receiver for audio and video content from Google's online media services, all controlled with your Android tablet or smartphone. At $299, it's positioned as a US-made premium product with a premium price. In a market crowded with the likes of Roku, Apple, Sonos, and others, is there room for Google's entrant, and do its features and design warrant the cost? Read on to find out.
Jun 29, 2012
Matias Duarte on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and the Nexus 7 (video)
At Google I/O, we sat down with Android's head of user experience, Matias Duarte, to talk about Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, the Nexus 7, and the premiere Google Now feature. It was a casual conversation where Duarte gave us the skinny on Google's philosophy behind its new products this week. It's Friday, come chill out on the couch with Josh and Matias for 20 minutes of design, insight, and laughs.Read Article >
Jun 29, 2012
Watch this: Google's I/O 2012 day one keynote video now live
Google's first keynote of I/O 2012 proved to be a big one earlier this week, introducing new software updates and hardware. The biggest news was the company's Nexus 7 tablet, a low-cost 7-inch Android Jelly Bean device that goes head-to-head with Amazon's Kindle Fire. Google also announced its Nexus Q device at the event, a cloud-based audio and video streaming appliance designed to pull media from Google's Play Store and YouTube.Read Article >
Asides from the hardware, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean got its official debut along with a new Google Now service that works by using your search history, calendar, and location to make search more relevant. The service includes notifications to make travel a lot easier. Chrome for Android went final during day one of I/O 2012 too, now available for Android 4.0 devices. The highlight of the keynote was undoubtedly Google's Project Glass demo. Sergey Brin set the stage for some crazy skydiving and bike jumps in a stunt to demonstrate how the company's glasses can capture and stream live video and images.
Jun 29, 2012
Google Chrome for iOS goes straight to the top of the App Store chartsRead Article >
While Chrome for iOS may not be much more than a skin on top of Mobile Safari, that doesn't seem to have put off the denizens of the App Store — they've sent Google's browser to the number 1 position in the free app charts. In our hands-on, we liked the Chrome mobile interface and appreciated the way it syncs with the desktop browser, though App Store restrictions stop it matching Mobile Safari for speed. It's definitely worth checking out, especially if you use the most popular browser in the world on other devices, and its instant popularity suggests that there could well be a demand for alternate iOS browsers.
Jun 29, 2012
Nexus 7: how a budget Asus tablet vanished — and reemerged as Google's Kindle Fire killer
I'd be willing to bet that most people believe Google's Nexus 7 tablet is a wholly new design: that Google contracted Asus to produce a $199 Kindle Fire killer in just four months, like Andy Rubin and Asus chairman Jonney Shih told AllThingsD last night.Read Article >
The truth is far more complex. The truth is that the Nexus 7 is the Asus ME370T, an Android tablet whose destiny has repeatedly changed.
Jun 28, 2012
Google Chrome for iOS hands-on
Google has just launched Chrome for iOS, the long-awaited browser replacement we've all been hoping for, just a day after Chrome for Android came out of beta. While iOS still does not offer the ability to set your own default mail client or web browser, Chrome lets you take your tabs, bookmarks, saved passwords, and settings with you. The only bummer is that while Google claims that "you can enjoy the same speedy and simple Chrome experience across your devices," Apple's rules about third party browsers ultimately cripple it. John Herrman summed it up well, for BuzzFeed:Read Article >
Google Drive for iPad and iPhone hands-onRead Article >
Google said that the iOS versions of Google Drive were "98 percent" done back in late April when the cloud storage service first launched, but the iPad and iPhone app has only just now been released on the iTunes App Store. Now that the wait is over, we've installed the apps and put them through the paces. Has Google given Drive's iOS apps feature parity with its Android offerings? Read on to find out.
Jun 28, 2012
Google's Vic Gundotra and Bradley Horowitz on the future of Google+ (video)
Google wants to revolutionize real-world social life with its new Google+ features, including pre-event "Cinemagraphs" and "party mode," which lets users automatically share pictures taken during the get-together. But how does Google plan to build engagement with the network, and what does this mean for the rest of its web tools? We sat down with Google Senior VP of Engineering (and formerly of Social) Vic Gundotra and Product Management VP Bradley Horowitz to discuss where Google+ is going.Read Article >
"Google+ is at its heart about building one seamless experience," Gundotra told us, noting that Google's overall services don't have any kind of "engagement problem." Many of the new social features introduced at I/O depend on the popularity of Google's calendar and mail tools, for example. Part of that seamlessness, Horowitz added, is curating content, partners, or comments, and it's one of the reasons Google says it's waited to integrate services like Flipboard. But while the company may be circumspect about adding outside tools, Gundotra says the various product teams at Google have come together to integrate Plus as tightly as possible. Plenty of Google services have quietly faded out in the past years, including proto-social networks Buzz and Wave, but the company's latest effort, which has been both praised and maligned for its omnipresence, apparently isn't going anywhere.
Google announces Compute EngineRead Article >
Google has just announced what appears to be a competitor to Amazon's EC2 (Elastic Cloud Compute), called Google Compute Engine. While we don't (by any means) have full details of exactly what Google Compute Engine is capable of yet, Urs Hölzle, SVP of technical infrastructure at the company said on stage that the cloud service for business "gives you Linux virtual machines at Google scale," with "high performance networking between VMs, so you can form them into a cluster." Hölzle also says that Compute Engine delivers 50% more compute per dollar than other platforms. The service will be available starting today.
Google Docs now has offline editing starting today
Now this is a pleasant surprise. Google Docs now works offline, letting you edit without a connection. Changes will be cached locally and updated when the internet returns. Clay Bavor, product manager for Google Apps, demonstrated on stage at Google I/O — after he plugged the ethernet cable back in, a prompt appears in the Docs window ("syncing offline changes") and a few moments afterward, the document was updated. Offline syncing should be available today — here's hoping it works even if the browser crashes, rather than closing properly.Read Article >
Check out our Google I/O 2012 day two keynote live blog for the latest updates!
Jun 28, 2012
Google releases Google Drive for iOS and Chrome OSRead Article >
Google has just announced that Google Drive will be coming to iOS and Chrome OS, and it's available now in the App Store. At its day 2 keynote, Google demonstrated Google Drive on the iPad, showing off the real-time collaboration and image recognition capabilities. The company launched its Drive app for PC, Mac, and Android back in April, and said at the time that the iOS version was "98 percent done." You can grab Drive for iOS from the App Store right now, and be sure to check out our giant cloud sync storage face-off to see how it compares to the competition.
Google announces Chrome for iPhone and iPad, available today
On stage at Google I/O, Brian Rakowski, Vice President of the Chrome division at Google has just announced Chrome for iPhone and iPad. It's something iOS users have been asking for for a very long time, and plenty of people will be happy about this news. The app will be for iOS 4.3 and higher devices, and will be available today. The app will also support Chrome sync, and looks like it's just as full-featured as the browser which many of us know and love.Read Article >
Google Chrome has 310 million active users, 'most popular browser in the world'
Google's Chrome browser now has 310 million active users, nearly doubling the number of active users this time last year (160 million). Sundar Pichai, SVP of Chrome and Apps, says it's now the most popular browser in the world, and in providing more fun statistics, claims that 60 billion words are typed and 1TB data downloaded via Chrome every single day. He also say that Chrome's feature of prefetching the page saves the world 13 years of time every single day — which sounds like a lot until you consider that's 13 years of time spread out among 310 million, averaging to 1.32 seconds per user. We're guessing that 310 million figure is only going to get larger, especially with both its Nexus 7 tablet being the first to use Chrome as a standard browser and with Chrome coming to iPhone and iPad.Read Article >
Check out our Google I/O 2012 day two keynote live blog for the latest updates!
Jun 28, 2012
The Nexus 7's most important price is £159, not $199
It's been evident for a good long while now that Google's big announcement at I/O 2012 was going to be an Android tablet to do battle with Amazon's Kindle Fire. Whether you were asking anonymous Asus executives, upstream component makers, or Andy Rubin himself, Google's mission over the past few months has been to reassert itself in the tablet marketplace — and the Nexus 7 shows that the strategy chosen for doing so has been to assault the low end of the pricing scale.Read Article >
This is an entirely sensible approach for Google to adopt since Android isn't yet competitive with iOS in terms of tablet user experience and application quality, but Amazon clearly beat Google to the $199 punch with its own Kindle Fire — what is Google's trump card here? The answer, as it turns out, is wider distribution. Yes, Google expanded its Play Store to include movie and TV show purchases plus magazines — to better compete with Amazon's enormous content library — but it's the fact that the Nexus 7 will be on sale in Australia, Canada and the UK that truly gives Google the edge.
Hands-on with new Google+ tablet app and events features (video)
Google certainly had plenty to show us at I/O today, but hidden in there were some major improvements to Google+, including the first-ever tablet app for the social network and an all-new Events feature. While it may have been overshadowed by an insane Project Glass demo, this is actually one of the more significant updates to Google+ that we have seen. Today's also the social network's first birthday, so join us for a look at what's changed and what's new if you're feeling a bit sentimental.Read Article >