We’ve seen the biggest announcements at this year’s Google I/O conference, but which ones are the best? We’ve got a rundown of the top 5 best things to come out of the event this year.
Daydream is a big deal for Google, as it represents their first real commitment to virtual reality. Pitched as a development platform that will be integrated into Android N, it has the potential to be huge if people get on board. Devices will need to have the necessary hardware in order to be compatible, meaning manufacturers will also play a big part in ensuring its success. Still, with big names like Huawei, HTC, Samsung and LG already on board, it seems quite promising.
In a move that seems to mimic Amazon Echo, Google Home is bringing a smart assistant into your living room that can connect with various devices around the house. Beginning with their acquisition of Nest, the company hopes to integrate their excellent Google assistant service into the smart-home sector. Complete with a microphone and speaker, Google Home will allow users to do things like play music or switch on/off the lights, all from the comfort of their living room.
Android Wear 2.0
Android Wear 2.0 was a bit of a surprise announcement this year, as it represented a huge jump in features versus the previous version. The interface has been tweaked to be darker and more minimal, while the carousel app launcher is far more intuitive to use. The OS definitely feels like it was made for round screens, as the arrangement of grids and icons takes advantage of the curvature, often is some very pleasing results. Google has also finally baked in widgets that allow specific actions when pressed, adding a new level of interactivity that puts them on a par with Apple. LTE support is also there, meaning it can take advantage of the newest and fastest speeds which will be embedded into future watches and wearables.
Allo and Duo
Google introduced two new applications to their ecosystem that fill in key gaps in the portfolio: Allo and Duo. The former is a text messaging application not too dissimilar to WhatsApp; it uses your phone number to generate contacts and borrows from Google’s machine learning expertise for things such as predictive messaging. Google Assistant will also come baked into the app, allowing you to pull key information from chats.
Duo on the other hand is a video messaging application that allows one-to-one calling across different operating systems. Working in a similar manner to Allo, it utilises your phone number to find contacts and shows a live video preview of the caller before you pick up. Video resolutions up to 720p are supported, while calls can seamlessly transition between WI-FI and cellular networks Both apps will be released this summer.
Android N got a lot of love at Google I/O, but possibly the best feature to be revealed about the new OS was Instant Apps. Rather than needing to download an entire application that you’ll probably never uses again, users can “stream” specific parts of the application for use without getting the entire thing. Google demonstrated this technology with a Buzzfeed video that played instantly within the app itself, despite the user not having it installed. Obviously, it doesn’t open as quick as a fully installed application, but a few seconds is much better than waiting for it to install.
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