Google’s annual I/O keynote event in San Francisco yesterday had a lot of big announcements – including the next major version of Android, codename “L”. Expected to be available this fall, L features a freshly revised interface heavily featuring the ‘card’ type UI used by Google Now. There’s also a new notification UI for the lock screen, improved search function, improvements to battery life and updated stock apps featuring the updated UI.
Also unveiled were Android Auto – for hands-free operation in car, Android TV – a new OS and set top box, Android Fit – a new way to interact with fitness trackers, Android One – a hardware platform for building inexpensive devices for developing markets and Android Wear – the first smartwatches were announced from Motorola, Samsung and LG.
We were particularly interested in Android Auto, a new way for users to interact with their Android devices while driving. As you know it’s illegal to operate phones with your hands while driving in many countries so Google’s new Android Auto interface is voice-operated and features text-to-speech feedback. It will be available as part of Android L with maps, communication and music as key voice-operated enhanced apps with third party app support available.
Audi, Bentley, Chevrolet, Chrysler and Dodge have already announced support for Android Auto.
The new Android SDKs (for phone, tablet, car, tv and wearables) will be available later today, and we’re really looking forward to looking at the options available to third-party developers and to see what exciting new technologies CoPilot could potentially take advantage of.