For Google watchers around the world, the company’s I/O keynote is kind of a big deal. The conference brings in thousands of Android developers and Google announces a variety of cool new aspects, tools, and components available to them and, subsequently, users down the road. What developers make is ultimately what we’ll get. So what did they show off today for Android? Some pretty cool stuff. Let me show you the highlights.
First off, Google announced that to date, there have been 900 million activations and 48 billion apps downloaded, just shy of Apple’s 50 billion downloads (although no promotions have been unveiled for the milestone).
From web sites, you’ll be able to install apps. Actually, you can already do that. Now, you’ll be able to choose which Android device it’s going to and since you’re already logged into your Google account (or Facebook, or what have you), you’ll automatically be logged in. No more log-in prompts!
Swiping away notifications from one Android device will swipe the same notifications from all your other Android devices.
Google is finally bringing their version of Game Center to Android, but it looks like they’re doing it so much better. With their Game Services for developers, Android games will be able to have cloud saves, Achievements, leaderboards, and multiplayer right through the service.
Google’s new Android Editor now allows developers to see their app across a variety of form factors in real-time. The biggest challenge to Android developers is, naturally, how many bloody devices are out there. Now, developers will be able to see their app in different resolutions as well as tablets versus smartphones, etc. On top of that, developers will be able to release staged rollouts for their Alpha and Beta-stage apps and do so by a controlled percentage, meaning that developers can publicly (or semi-publicly) get feedback and build hype while still in development.
In its first I/O conference following Andy Rubin’s departure, Google is introducing a “Designed for Tablets” category in their Play Store. Yep. Rubin argued against having separate categories for tablets versus phones, which makes for some really crappy upscaled tablet apps.
Thank you, Google.