To build great apps, you need great tools. The folks at Mountain View are giving us those tools
After this morning's epic three-hour Keynote event, it was just a quick trip next door to see Xavier Ducrohet and Tor Noybe give what is always one of the most popular developer sessions of the conference -- What's New in Android Developer Tools.
If you were paying attention during the Keynote, we got a quick look at Android Studio, seeing how the new IDE can make the life of a hard working Android dev easier. Based on IntelliJ IDEA, Android Studio is a free and open source IDE specifically designed for building Android apps. Complete with templates, wizards, and some awesome WYSIWYG-style layout editing, it looks like someone at Mountain View is very serious about devs getting the tools they need.
Eclipse isn't gone, and in fact there's still plenty that has not made it's way to Android Studio just yet. But clearly, this is the future of Android app development. It's great to see the tools developers need to build the next set of great apps! If you're a developer or just want to have a look at things, visit the link below to check out an Earl Access Preview of Android Studio.
Keep up to 1,000 of your own PDF and EPUB files in the cloud for free
Caught up in all of the hullabaloo around the keynote, Google Play Books received a notable update in the Play Store to not only bring new UI elements but also a new way to view your own documents. First up is the design, which follows many of Google's latest design principles with a new left edge slide-in navigation panel and high contrast blue and white design. The interface on Play Books has always been simple, but it can't get much cleaner than it is now. You can "Read Now" (remember you can "Listen Now" in Play Music), view "My Library" or go "Shop". Very simple.
The big back-end feature that was enabled by this update is user uploads, which lets you now upload from the web (at play.google.com/books/uploads) or directly from Google Drive any PDF or EPUB document of your choice. Those documents uploaded on the web are then available for sync and download on your phone or tablet to read at any time. Users can store up to 1,000 documents at once with the service, and uploaded documents have their page position, bookmarks and notes completely synced across devices.
Play Books may not be on of the fanciest or most talked-about Google apps today, but these are huge improvements in usability that make the entire Android platform (and Google ecosystem) more compelling.
4 days ago
Sprint Galaxy S4, HTC One and Galaxy Note 2 now have Google Wallet support
Google and Sprint team up again to allow three of the most popular devices to have Wallet access
Not everything makes it into the Google I/O keynote, but that doesn't mean it's not still important. As a tweet from the official Google Wallet account, it announced that the Sprint Galaxy S4, HTC One and Galaxy Note 2 (also on U.S. Cellular) will all be given access to the Google Wallet app directly from Google Play. This is pretty big news, as those are likely three of the most high-profile and best selling devices available on Sprint today. The carrier was originally one of the few partners that has stuck with Google through the ups and downs of Wallet, so it's good to see that the two companies are still working together.
Users on any of the three aforementioned devices should be able to grab a direct download of the app from the Play Store, which can be found at the link above. Now all you have to do is find somewhere to actually use those NFC payment abilities.
Jerry and Phil catch up on the first day of news from Google I/O 2013 in San Francisco! We've got new Android features. New Google+. New Google Maps. New Chrome. New Google Music. And the one podcast to cover them all.
Clear your evening, you'll need in excess of three hours for this one!
If you missed todays mammoth keynote from Google I/O 2013, there's no need to be disheartened. You've got a couple of options. The first -- and one we recommend -- is to hit the Android Central Google I/O portal to catch up on all of the days news. Once you've done that, Google has put the whole thing online for you to watch back at your leisure.
Be warned though, you'll need to clear your evening. All of it. Or watch it in two parts. The keynote clocks in at well over 3 hours long if you count the Q&A time at the end with Larry Page. Which you should, because it's Larry Page. So, enjoy it, and drop into the comments below and let us know what your favorite part was out of everything you saw today.
5 days ago
Google TV gets updated to Android 4.2.2, swifter updates promised for the future
Google TV also now moves on to the latest version Chrome, jumps onto the six-week regular Chrome update cycle
Despite being omitted from the 3-hour Google I/Okeynote completely, there is some good news coming out of San Francisco for Google TV. Google already pushed out the update to their YouTube app for the platform, but also announced today is the bump up to Android 4.2.2. And, with the jump to the latest version of Android, the latest version of Google Chrome is also on board, with Google TV joining the regular six-week update cycle for Chrome.
Chrome for Google TV also gets support for hardware based content protection. Simply put, this means that developers have the ability to include premium high definition TV content within web apps for Google TV.
The good news doesn't end there either. Alongside the software updates Google is also announcing that they have refactored Google TV so that OEM partners can update to future versions of Android in "a matter of weeks rather than months."
The update to 4.2.2 is expected to roll out to current Google TV devices "in the coming months" with new devices expected to be seen later this year. Great news for the Google TV fans out there that Google continues to push the platform forwards.
Improvements in design highlight the latest music subscription service
At today's massive Google I/O keynote, one of the bigger announcements was centered around music. Not only did we get the rumored Google Music subscription service -- now called "All Access" -- but we also got a completely refreshed Play Music app and web interface to go along with it. Google is making a pretty compelling push with its new music service, which goes beyond just radio and just streaming to offer customizable playlists with unlimited skips as well as unfettered online and offline access to any music in the Play Store catalog. You can also now access that music through a beautifully redesigned Android app and web player that just tie the entire experience together.
Hang with us after the break for a closer look at Google's refresh of Play Music, one that is likely to be a hit well after the Moscone Center empties this week.
New home screen UI, paid subscriptions and enhanced playback controls the name of the day
While all eyes were on the 3+ hour monster keynote at Google I/O, Google quietly slipped out a decent looking update to their YouTube app for Google TV. Top of the order is a nice looking new user interface for the homescreen, that simplifies everything and makes it all a little more user friendly.
Official support for Google's new paid subscription channels is also included, with Google TV surely being a prime option to take advantage of the new content. Playback video controls are also improved, and it's easier to subscribe to that content creator's channel. Grab it now from the Google Play Store, and be sure to let us know what you think of it.
5 days ago
Google adds 'Send Money' option to Gmail and Google Wallet
Send money to anyone for free from a linked bank account; with small fees via credit cards
It wasn't a headline part of the Google I/O 2013 keynote, but the Google Commerce Blog has just dropped a pretty sweet feature on us -- the ability to send money to anyone from Gmail with Google Wallet. The option is being rolled into Gmail as just another thing that you can attach when sending a message. Right next to the paperclip for attaching files you'll see a "$" icon where you can click and send money free of charge to the recipient -- who doesn't have to have a Gmail account -- if you have a bank account connected to your Google Wallet account. Transfers sent by an attached credit or debit card are assessed a small transaction fee, and it is clearly shown when sending whether or not there will be a fee.
The ability to send money via Gmail will roll out over the coming months to U.S. residents over the age of 18, and won't be available on mobile through the Gmail app but will be possible with the Google Wallet mobile website. We would expect that once the security aspect of sending money on mobile gets figured out that the feature will hit the Gmail for Android app eventually.
Google's new cross-platform group messaging service is pushing out to devices
Hangouts, the long-rumored messaging service from Google that pulls together text, photo, video and group chat all into one service, is pushing out in the Play Store today as an update to the Google Talk app. The app is a serious departure from the old-school design found on talk, with an all new layout that focuses first on conversations and then on individual contacts. The main screen is a list of your different ongoing conversations -- "Hangouts" -- with pictures of the people involved in them. When you start a new hangout you can search people by name, email, circle or even phone number and start a chat.
Right now it looks like it's basically building on just the previous Talk system of chatting, and although it does ask to confirm your phone number and you can search contacts by their numbers, there's no SMS support here just yet. Go grab a download of the new Hangouts app from the Play Store link above.