Here's what's new at Google I/O 2014
The Google I/O keynote offered a glimpse of of what's coming from Google.
The keynote for the Google I/O 2014 developer conference wrapped up without word of a new Nexus device, a release date for the next version of Android, or any word on when we might expect to get our hands on a consumer-grade version of Google Glass. But that doesn't mean there was a veritable smorgasbord of cool new stuff to ogle.
We finally got a look at smartwatches running on Google's Android Wear OS, in the form of LG's G Watch and the Samsung Gear Live. The watches pair with a smartphone and offer direct access to handset notifications, allowing you keep tabs on your mobile apps without fumbling for your phone. And they'll do far more than that, with a slew of sensors that can monitor things like steps taken or your heart rate.
Google's upcoming "L" version of Android will double performance and offer a brand new UI
We may not have gotten a new version of Android today, but we did get a look at what's coming down the pipe later this year. The next "L" version of Android sports a new software layer called Android Runtime (ART) that Google claims will double performance. It will also be bringing an entirely new interface with it -- Google is calling the new look Material Design, and it emphasizes dynamic animations and creating depth through the use of virtual lighting and shadows. The design will also be consistent across all of Google's apps on all devices it touches, so expect to see quite a bit more of this soon.
Google Chromebooks are aimed at serving up the Internet at budget prices, and the notebooks are getting a few new tricks this year. You'll soon be able to receive calls and notifications intended for your phone right from your Chromebook, and open Android apps on the device.
Google's latest push to dominate the living room involves a new set-top box initiative, dubbed Android TV. With Android TV, smartphones, tablets, and even smartwatches can replace the humble remote control, and the entire platform is designed to give you a fresh Android experience on the biggest screen in your house.
There was no new Chromecast announced today, but Google did announce a few new updates for the streaming media stick, including the ability to cast your entire Android device directly onto your television screen. The Chromecast's biggest weakness is arguably the dearth of supporting apps, and this new feature should circumvent that handily.
Google is taking aim at Apple CarPlay with a new interface for cars that strives to bring a hands-free Android experience to your vehicle's navigation system. Plug your device into a compatible car and Android Auto takes over, feeding you Google Now-style info cards, navigation directions, and tackling things like dictating text messages or letting you answer calls, without taking your eyes off the road.
Dual SIM cards, a 4.5-inch display, expandable storage, and an FM radio -- all for under $100 USD. With AndroidOne, Google is creating a series of hardware reference platforms aimed at bringing a quality Android experience to emerging markets, at affordable prices.
Be sure to check out all of the news from Google I/O 2014 right here at CNET.