I/O NOOOOO!!! We sat through Google's bum numbing 3-hour keynote so you didn't have to

Lick of paint for Android, car control and more


Google I/O Google has kicked off its annual developer conference with a three-hour keynote in which the search kingpin explained where it's taking Android next: namely, your wrist, your car, your living room, and beyond.

It was long enough to trouble your correspondent's laptop battery.

Sundar Pichai, Google's head of Android division, demoed the new build of the operating system – officially referred to as the L release but expected to be codenamed Lollipop – in front of 6,000 developers (and a couple of protestors) in San Francisco this morning. The developer preview released today includes more than 5,000 new APIs, including a new set of Gmail interfaces, we're told.

New user interface on Android

The most visible change in the new version of the operating system is what Googlers are calling Material Design. In practice it’s a revved up user interface with shadowing for icons to make them appear to hover over the page; brighter colors; 3D viewing support; and 60 FPS animations onscreen.

Youtube video of the keynote

Automatically unlock a phone in a known environment

The new build will also include new security settings that can remotely wipe stolen Android handsets, and Google also demoed an automatic unlock feature that's triggered when a handset detects a Wi-Fi network associated with the user, a recognized voice-print, or an authorized Bluetooth watch – such as the one worn by Google director of engineering Dave Burke.

Performance ramp

Android's performance is also being built up, with a new virtual machine called ART replacing Dalvik. ART will run processes on ARM, x86, and MIPS processors, and Google claimed it is twice as fast as its predecessor. Developers will not have to rewrite code to see the benefit.

Graphics are also being improved with the Android Extension Pack. Google has been working with graphics chipset companies to allocate specific memory for graphics, including tessellation, geometry shaders, and ASTC texture compression.

Google wants battery life to be improved and so has been working on Project Volta for Android in the new build. This aims to make functions more efficient with a battery-saving mode, and provides developers with a real-time map of how applications are using power at any given time so they can be optimized for more efficient running.

You'll be left Chrome alone

Chrome too is getting a makeover, with deeper integration with applications installed on handsets. Google showed off search results for restaurants that flagged up a review from OpenTable which could be clicked to launch the app automatically, and Google+ will be used to sign the user in.

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Google shows off immersive maps, AR-flavored search, Pixel 7, and more
    Your essential de-hyped guide to what the Chocolate Factory teased at developer shindig

    Google IO Google I/O, the ad biz's annual developer conference, returned to the Shoreline Amphitheater in California's Mountain View on Wednesday, for the first time in three years. The gathering remained largely a remote event due to the persistence of COVID-19 though there were enough Googlers, partners, and assorted software developers in attendance to fill venue seats and punctuate important points with applause.

    Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google parent Alphabet, opened the keynote by sounding familiar themes. He leaned into the implied sentiment, "We're here to help," an increasingly iffy proposition in light of the many controversies facing the company.

    He said he wanted to explain how Google is advancing its mission in two ways, "by deepening our understanding of information so that we can turn it into knowledge and advancing the state of computing so that knowledge is easier to access no matter who or where you are."

    Continue reading
  • iOS, Android stores host more than 1.5 million 'abandoned' apps
    That's more than the total that are actively maintained, study claims

    A study has found more outdated apps in Apple's App Store and Google Play than actively updated ones. 

    Analytics biz Pixalate – the outfit behind the study, titled The Abandoned Mobile Apps Report – told The Register its figures appear "to support Apple's apparent desire to 'clean up' abandoned apps," despite the unpopularity of the announcement with developers. The iGiant last month threatened to wipe away software from its store that hasn't been updated for a significant period of time.

    The report consists of data from crawls of the Android and iOS app stores to look for what Pixalate classified as abandoned apps – those that have gone two or more years without an update. Between the two stores in the first quarter of 2022, Pixalate said it found more than 1.5 million abandoned apps, amounting to 33 percent of the more than five million apps it told The Register it examined. 

    Continue reading
  • Microsoft closes Windows LSA hole under active attack
    Plus many more flaws. And Adobe, Android, SAP join the bug-squashing frenzy

    Microsoft patched 74 security flaws in its May Patch Tuesday batch of updates. That's seven critical bugs, 66 deemed important, and one ranked low severity.

    At least one of the vulnerabilities disclosed is under active attack with public exploit code, according to Redmond, while two others are listed as having public exploit code.

    After April's astonishing 100-plus vulnerabilities, May's patching event seems tame by comparison. However, "this month makes up for it in severity and infrastructure headaches," Chris Hass, director of security at Automox, told The Register. "The big news is the critical vulnerabilities that need to be highlighted for immediate action."

    Continue reading
  • Engineer gets Windows 11 working on a Surface Duo
    So those hardware requirements for Microsoft's OS really are arbitrary

    Arch tinkerer Gustave Monce has demonstrated Windows 11 running on a first-generation Surface Duo.

    The Duo is famously an Android device but, fresh from showing that Windows 11 could be coaxed into running on a Lumia Windows Phone, Monce has worked his magic on Redmond's first effort at a foldable handset.

    While Monce's work on the Lumia 950XL was more of an intellectual exercise, getting both screens working on the Duo is undeniably impressive. His adventures have been well documented on Twitter, with the engineer observing: "I think there might be a performance ~~gap~~ ocean between this and the Lumia 950 XL. Crazy what 4 years did in terms of SoC performance. Oh and thermals are very good."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022