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From Android L to Google Fit: All the new products and features from Google I/O

Brad Chacos | June 26, 2014
Google unleashed a torrent of fresh features and products and its annual I/O keynote. Here's a round-up of all the news and new platforms.

This year's Google I/O wasn't as dramatic as the I/Os of yesteryear. Nobody jumped from a blimp with a radical new face computer strapped to his face, and Larry Page neglected to step foot on stage, much less wax poetic about the infinite sadness in the world. But despite the lack of theatrics, this year's I/O was still pretty exciting, thanks to the glimpse Google offered us into its future. The tech giant unleashed a slew of updates, synergies, and even whole new platforms designed to weave computing into our everyday lives in--Google hopes--a seamless way.

Here's a look back at everything announced Wednesday at Google I/O; hit those links in each respective announcements for even more information about the news that interests you the most.

Upgrades for Android
 
google io android l

First up was Android L, the successor to Android Kit-Kat. The most blatant thing about Android L hits you square in the face right away: It looks awful pretty. Google's introducing a new aesthetic dubbed Material Design in Android L, with a focus on object depth and animation. The beauty is more than skin deep, though: Android L's bringing handy-looking improvements to the way the system handles notifications, along with an intriguing "personal unlock" feature that does away with the lockscreen if you're already carrying another device that can provide authentication wirelessly.

Android L also boosts the OS's graphical and battery performance, ditches the stodgy old Dalvik runtime powering Android for the new and improved ART (Android Run Time), and adds more than 5,000 new APIs for developers. Whew. While the launch of Android L is still months away--maybe that's why the mobile operating system wasn't given a proper candilicious name yet?--a developer preview is now available with the new features.

google io android l work

Sundar Pichai, the boss of Android, Apps, and Chrome for Google, also revealed a new initiative dubbed Android for Work, which aims to bolster Android's security and business chops. As part of that, Pichai announced native Microsoft Office integration for Google Drive in Android. Previously, editing traditional Office files in Google Drive required a messy conversion process that was far from seamless. Android L will let you open spreadsheets, documents, and presentations files without all the muss and fuss. Proper mobile support for Google Slides is also incoming. (It's about time.)

Pichai also announced an endeavor called Android One, designed to bring low-end phones to emerging markets such as India--and boost Android's share of the smartphone market in the process.

Android all around

 

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