During the company’s Google I/O developer conference on Wednesday, Google announced updates to Android search that brings Siri-like functionality to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean-powered smartphones. Users with phones running Jelly Bean will be able to speak questions rather than just search terms and Android will return answers to those questions. The new functionality presents users with spoken information just as Apple’s Siri solution does, removing the need to spend time looking through Web search results and clicking through websites. More →
Google showed off some killer new features for its Android operating system at Google I/O on Wednesday with its rollout of Android 4.1 (“Jellybean”). The first feature is “Project Butter,” a project aimed at improving Android’s overall performance. Among other things, the project improves the system frame rate to make it consistent at 60 frames per second and includes a power-saving measure that dials back a device’s CPU to a lower frequency and then ramps up when a user touches the screen.
Google during its annual I/O Developer Conference in San Francisco on Wednesday unveiled that 400 million Android devices have now been activated and a total of one million new Android devices are activated each day. The number represents a rate of 12 new devices being activated every second of every day. The Mountain View-based company announced that its Play Store has expanded and will not allow users to purchase TV shows and various magazines. The Internet giant also revealed that Android users have installed 20 billion apps through the Play Store, and that more than 50% of app revenue now comes from in-app purchases.
Right on schedule, Samsung’s TouchWiz update began rolling out to Galaxy Tab 10.1 owners on Friday. The update provides a number of visual enhancements to the user interface including a live panel view, a new mini mode tray for quick access to open applications, a clipboard, an indicator quick panel and a photo editor. Samsung also added Amazon Music Player, Words with Friends, Samsung Media Hub, Social Hub, the Swype keyboard and Kindle software. To update simply go to Settings > About Tablet > Update. Unfortunately, it looks like Samsung hasn’t pushed the patch out to its Limited Edition Google I/O Galaxy Tab 10.1 or to Verizon’s 4G LTE version just yet, but we’re hoping it does soon.
During the Google I/O developer conference in San Francisco today, Google discussed the future of its “Chrome OS” platform, as well as some future products that will soon hit the market. Google has improved the performance of Adobe Flash playback within the browser, and the OS will now recognize I/O devices — such as cameras — when they’re plugged into the computer. Other new features include Google Music integration, a new photo manager that allows you to send directly to Picasa, and an option to upload files directly to Box.net. Google’s bread and butter, Gmail, Calendar, and Docs are all now accessible while offline. Hackers will also appreciate a new built-in jailbreaking feature. Samsung and Acer will both introduce “Chromebooks” on June 15th for $429 and $399, respectively. Samsung will also sell a 3G version of its Chromebook for $499. Those prices sound a bit high to us considering that you can get a full-fledged Windows 7 netbook for that price, but we’ll see if the market agrees.
Google announced on Tuesday a new feature of the Android operating system called Android @ Home. The framework and associated functions transform an Android device into a home automation controller that connects and directs all of the devices and appliances in the user’s home. Android @ Home framework can be used to control gaming consoles, lighting, appliances, irrigations systems and anything else developers can envision. Google also announced project tungsten as part of the Android @ Home product, which consists of a hub that runs the Android OS and the Android @ Home framework. Among the functions of a Tungsten hub, as shown off on stage at Google I/O 2011, is the ability to stream music directly from Music Beta by Google to any supported home audio device. Android @ Home is completely open and developing with the framework requires no fees and no registration.
We can’t say it comes as much of a surprise, but Google has just taken the wraps off of a service many of us have been waiting for years to see… or should we say, hear. Google’s freshly unveiled Music Beta service will give users a cloud-based solution for storing and streaming their digital music collections — and we mean, their entire collections; Google’s service supports the storage of up to 20,000 songs as opposed to the 1,000 tracks supported by Amazon’s Cloud Drive product, which Music Beta will compete with directly. Google’s Music Manager app supports Windows and Mac, and it allows users to upload their tracks directly to Music Beta. The Web-based music manager is a full-featured music player that supports organization, playlist creation and plenty more. The related Android app features all of the same functionality as the Web player, and playlists created on one device will instantly be available on all devices. Recently played music is always cached by the mobile player, and albums can also be downloaded and stored for playback when data connections are unavailable. Music Beta is available initially by invitation only, and it is free — at least, it’s free during the beta period. Google’s updated music app with Music Beta support is available in the Android Market beginning today.
Google is on stage and just announced that the next major Android OS, Ice Cream Sandwich, will launch in Q4 of this year. It will combine the tablet and smartphone operating systems into one joint OS that will support all devices. Google bills it as “One OS everywhere, state of the art UI, advanced app framework, open source.” The universal OS will be able to adapt to the specific form factor of the device it’s running on, and also includes new features like face-tracking and camera enhancements, among other things.
During Google’s I/O conference in San Francisco today, Google confirmed that it has activated more than 100 million Android devices worldwide across 36 OEM’s and 215 carriers. There are now more than 310 Android devices in 112 countries and Google activates 400,000 Android devices each day. Similarly, there are 450,000 Android developers and more than 200,000 applications available in the Android market. 4.5 billion apps have been installed to date.
It’s a beautiful day in San Francisco, California today — the perfect setting for the Google’s 2011 global developer conference, better known as Google I/O. The battalion of Google staffers is currently putting the finishing touches on the Moscone Center before it’s swarmed by Android enthusiasts, developers and the press, and we’re here to bring you the action live. What does Google have up its sleeves for this year? We’ll find out soon enough. The Day 1 keynote kicks off at 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time, 12:00 p.m. Eastern, and we’ll be live blogging it right here in this post. Be sure to check back then for the live coverage, and don’t forget to refresh the page for all the details as they break! More →
Google is expected to announce its long anticipated entrance into cloud-based music on Tuesday from its Google I/O conference in San Francisco. The New York Times reports that the service will initially be called Music Beta by Google, and it will allow users to store 20,000 songs in a cloud locker for free, which can then be accessed by any PC or Android device. Activity will be synced automatically between devices, so playlists created on one device will be accessible from all others, according to the report. Like Amazon’s recent Cloud Drive and Cloud Player offerings, it is expected that Google will launch its service without the support of major record labels. Also like Amazon’s offering, the service is expected to initially be very limited in functionality. In the beginning, Music Beta will reportedly be accessible by invite only. Motorola XOOM users with Verizon Wireless models will all receive invitations, and others will be able to sign up for invites at music.google.com. There is currently no timeline in terms of when the service might become available to the general public. We’ll be on hand reporting live from I/O later today, so be sure to tune in for all the latest news as it breaks.
A carefully crafted tweet has sparked rumors of a native video-chat feature coming to Android 2.3.4 in the near future. “Just had a video call using gmail on Nexus S. Impressive quality @googlenexus Gingerbread 2.3.4 #io2011,” reads the post in question. The implication is — obviously — that Google will migrate its Gmail, browser-based video chat service to Android and unveil the new offering at this year’s Google I/O conference, which is set to kick off May 10th in San Francisco. We can’t say we’d be surprised to see it… but we’re still pretty excited. More →
Combining the web and TV in an orgy of awesome, today at I/O 2010, Google announced Google TV. With the goal of mashing together the web and TV without accepting compromise, Google is hoping to let people take advantage of the biggest and best screen in their house. Check out all of the features after the jump! We promise it’s awesome. More →