The Moto 360 is the Only Android Wear Device I Want

Tim and I were seated in the press section during Google I/O’s keynote last week as director of Android engineering David Singleton announced to all attendees that the first Android Wear smartwatches would be available later in the day. He started with the LG G Watch. A small golf clap followed. He then thought he was surprising us all by announcing that Samsung had created the Gear Live, which would also be available within a few hours. Another small golf clap followed. You could then feel the building about to explode with joy as he moved on to the Moto 360, a watch that is without a doubt the most anticipated smartwatch of all time on Android. And then came the news – it wouldn’t be available until “later this summer.” The entire crowd of around 6,000 booed and moaned and sighed simultaneously. While I’m a member of the press and technically not allowed to join in on that outcry, deep inside, I did. The Moto 360 is the only Android Wear smartwatch I want.

Why is it the only smartwatch I want, you ask? For one major reason – it doesn’t look like a smartwatch. When I wear a watch, I do so because it’s a fashion item that is also useful. Actually, to tell you the truth, at this point, it is really all about the fashion. I have a phone that can tell me the time if I really need it to. A watch has become an accessory first that also happens to tell the time. And since the Moto 360 has been beautifully crafted with stainless steel and leather to look like a watch first, smartwatch second, it wins in my book. (more…)

Here are Android “L” App Design Screenshots for Maps, Settings, Music, Keyboard, and More

Everyone is waiting patiently for Google to release the Android L preview build tomorrow, but hopefully these screenshots can help ease the impatience.

Android L, from what we can see so far, is a major redesign for the OS. App color schemes and various layouts are changing considerably inside of system applications, which might have Android L as one of the most distinguishable updates the OS has ever received. For example, colors for system volumes are now going to be a bright yellow instead of Holo Blue, and many other apps and lists seem to be much more vibrant.  (more…)

Google Search 3.5.14 Adds “OK, Google” Hotword Everywhere, Plus Audio History

Google Search 3.5.14 is beginning to rollout with a couple of major enhancements. First, Google is allowing users to enable the “OK, Google” hotword to be said from anywhere on the phone to prompt a voice search. So rather than having to be on your home screen, you can now be in Chrome or looking at photos and quickly kick off a voice search. The update even allows you to trigger an “OK, Google” from the lock screen. It works quite well so far in our testing.  (more…)

What’s New in Google Play Services 5.0?

Not only did announce the new version of Android that is currently dubbed “Android L” (list of features) but they also gave us a massive Google Play Services update to 5.0.

The Play Services update allows apps to “more easily communicate” with wearables, which makes sense since Android Wear was a big part of today’s festivities. It lets developers build in game saving, Quests, and new game profiles to Play Games. There are new Wallet, Drive, Google Cast, Analytics, and Mobile Ads features as well.

The full list can be seen below.  (more…)

Google Runs Through Initial List of Android L Features Before Tomorrow’s Launch

Google may have announced the Android L Developer Preview today, but they aren’t letting any of us get our hands on it until tomorrow morning. Until then, they have put together a list of most of the features announced during this morning’s keynote, along with a couple that didn’t have a chance to shine on stage.

Things like the new advanced camera API that were confirmed to be in the works back in November are a part of Android L. There is also a mention of multi-networking, mixed into recaps on Material Design, Project Volta, BLE Peripheral Mode, and enhanced notifications.

To make sure you are ready for tomorrow morning, be sure to read up. We have included their whole list below.  (more…)