The annual Google I/O developer's conference kicked off today, Wednesday, May 18th. There have been some big reveals so far, and we're covering a few of them here, including some new messaging apps, the Android N platform, and a new Virtual Reality for smartphones called "Daydream." Here's what was revealed:
The New Messaging Apps
Allo is a smart messaging app coming this summer to Android and iOS phones. It's Google's answer to FaceBook Instant Messenger. With this app, users can ask Google questions without leaving the conversation. This messaging app is ahead of other similar apps, in that it suggests replies with a feature called Smart Reply. Allo will attempt to recognize conversation and pictures. So if someone sends a picture of a cute kid holding a daisy, it will identify the contents of the picture and will give some suggested replies, like, "Aww so cute," or " love the daisy!"
Other features include sharing photos directly from the phone's camera, sticker packs, and the ability to change font size quickly by dragging an arrow up or down, so you can "whisper" or "shout" at your friends.
Duo is another new chat app, this one is for video. Google product manager, Amit Fulay says, "The goal is to make the person on the other end of the call more likely to pick up." The receiver of the call is able to see the person calling, and they can decide whether or not to answer the call.
Here's a video that previews the features:
Both will be available this summer on Android and iOS
What's new in the N platform?
David Burke, Android's VP of engineering introduced the new features coming out for Android N- which doesn't have a dessert name yet. They are inviting the public to help name this platform.
Here are some of the things Burke talked about:
A new JIT (Just in Time) Compiler makes apps install 75% faster , and reduces storage needed by 50%.
File-based encryption, media framework hardening, and seamless updates were the main things touted by Burke.
The N platform will automatically remove apps you haven't used in a while, and there is an option to "close-all" at the top. Split screen views for tablets and phones will allow more than one app to work simultaneously. From notifications, users can reply directly to texts without having to stop what they're doing to go to the texting app. There will be 72 new emojis better-representing women in the professional role, and the ability to change the skin color.
The next version of Android is due to be released on smartphones and tablets later this summer. Those with Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6, Nexus 9 and Pixel C tablets will be able to test the beta version later today.
Daydream- the next VR headset
While everyone was expecting Google to introduce a piece of VR headgear with its own built-in computer like other VR headsets, the company instead announced that they are launching Daydream, a hardware and software platform that any Android smartphone manufacturer can use to create their own VR headset.
Similar to Google Cardboard, users will be able to stick their smartphone inside the headset. There will be a strap added so you don't have to hold it up to your face like the Cardboard version. The bigges change will be addressing "motion-to-photon latency" which is the delay that keeps VR images from properly lining up with head motions.
There will be a controller that will be sold along with the headsets. The controllers won't allow users to reach out and grab things, but will merely be a pointer, a fishing rod, or a wand.
Producers of Daydream-ready phones include Samsung, HTC, LG, Huawei, Alcatel, ZTE, Xiaomi and Asus. There has also been a release of some software partners, including Netflix, Hulu, HBO and Imax. Also, the MLB, NBA, CNN, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal will participate. Ubisoft and Electronic Arts are two of the big names in the 10 game developers.
What are you looking forward to from Google? Let us know!