Google I/O 2016 - The Bullet Points

This past week Google announced numerous hardware and software during their annual Google I/O.  I hope to blow pass all the hype and excitement and just get to the facts of each announcement.

1. Android N 
The next update to Google's Android OS that follows Marshmallow, it'll feature:
  • Auto update - uses a separate partition (meaning your phone will have even less storage space as space will be set aside for installing the update) to install OS updates. At reboot your phone will switch over to the new partition
  • Split screen support - works very much like Samsung's implementation on phones but includes a "freeform mode" of windowing apps for tablets
  • "Clear All" added to the opened app card view 
  • Under the hood improvements: Vulcan graphics API (response to Apple's Metal), updated JIT compiler to improve app run-time and reduce app size
2. Daydream
Named exactly like Android's screensaver function that only works when the phone is charging (it's been renamed to Screensaver in Android N), this is Google's Gear VR-like approach to VR.
  • Replaces Google Cardboard - Google's existing VR platform - those free Star Wars Force Awakens Cardboard are now obsolete
  • It'll need a Daydream compatible phone (for the display and brains; Google has stated that hardware requirements will be high, think flagship+), a controller or another Android phone for control via emulator
  • A built-in VR store browsable in VR - just like Gear VR

3. Allo
  • Google's response to Facebook's WhatsApp 
  • Another chat app that you register using a phone number rather than registering a Google account
4. Duo
  • Google's response to Apple's Facetime
  • Video calling with seamless cell and WiFi hand offs
5. Google Assistant
  •  Google's inclusion of context in voice commands just like Microsoft's Cortana
  • If you don't use voice commands then this won't matter to you.  If you do then this will make voice commands use more natural language
6. Google Home
  • Google's response to Amazon's Echo
  • An always listening voice assistance
  • Ability to interact with other Google cast devices like Chromecast

7. Android Wear 2.0
  • Adds a small keyboard for tapping out messages on a very small screen - it'll also include handwriting recognition too
  • Apps that run on your watch no longer need to rely on your phone
  • Newly added API for watch faces to hook into data from the watch (Google is calling this "Complications" - better looking watch faces with information on it
  • Material Design - following updates made to Android in the Marshmallow update, Wear is getting updated notification UI with white text on colored backgrounds
8. Android Instant Apps
  • Ability to run apps without needing to download the full app
  • Will be push to some older versions of Android too
9. Chrome OS can run some Android apps
  • If your Chromebook has a touchscreen, you'll soon be able to run some Android apps on it 
10. Project Tango
  • It's giving your existing devices the ability to sense things around it.  It's been mostly used for augmented reality like Microsoft's HoloLens.  In its current form, it's not consumer ready.
So that's the rundown of the major announcements from this year's Google I/O.  Many of the announcements were in response to competitors but it will benefit consumers when companies compete.

Anything from Google I/O excite you?  Let us know in the comments
Google I/O 2016 - The Bullet Points Google I/O 2016 - The Bullet Points Reviewed by Eric on 5/20/2016 Rating: 5

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