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From Android L to Google Fit: All the new products and features from Google I/O

Brad Chacos | June 26, 2014
Google unleashed a torrent of fresh features and products and its annual I/O keynote. Here's a round-up of all the news and new platforms.

Android's bursting beyond smartphones these days, though--a fact clearly evident during the Google I/O keynote, where specialized versions of Android for wrists, cars, and TVs all made appearances.

google io android wear lg g watch
The LG G Watch became available for pre-order today.

Google spent abundant stage time showing off Android Wear's capabilities, especially its contextual awareness and integration with Android phones. David Singleton, Google's director of engineering for Android, previewed the watch OS's Google Now-style cards and the gestures and voice commands used to control them, including a much-needed Do Not Disturb mode that tells your wrist to shut up and stop spitting out notifications. (If only we could get that on Android proper!) Third-party apps from Eat 24 and Allthecooks were also preened about, but the most newsworthy part of the Android Wear announcements had to do with hardware: The Wear-powered Samsung Gear Live was announced, with both it and the LG G Watch available for preorders today. (The Moto 360 will follow later in the summer.)

google io 2014 car android auto 6b

The newly unveiled Android Auto, meanwhile, aims to integrate your 'Droid with your drive in a way that's road-responsible. Android Auto connects your phone to your car (via a cable in the on-stage demo) and brings your personal apps--such as Google Calendar, Play Music, and Maps--to your car's central dashboard, clad in a familiar Android UI but optimized for the car with larger on-screen buttons and voice commands.

google io android tv interface demo

But wait, there's more! Google's also trying to resuscitate the corpse of Google TV with Android TV, yet another stab at establishing a beachhead in your living room. Android TV essentially treats your TV as a bigger screen for Android itself, rather than a whole new platform. While the interface certainly looks slick, the real secret sauce could be Android TV's search features, which draw on Google's deep knowledge repository to provide YouTube clips and information about shows. Android TV even provided accurate results to a search for "Oscar nominated movies from 2002" and a vocal query about who played Katniss in The Hunger Games. (Jennifer Lawrence, if you're wondering.)

Razer announced a new pint-sized gaming console to match Google's Android TV announcement, which will feature all of Android TV's streaming and television navigation capabilities, but focus on Android gaming--kind of like a more TV-friendly Ouya.

Chomecast and Chromebooks

It wasn't all Android, all the time at Google I/O, however. Various iterations of Chrome also stepped into the spotlight.


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