Google I/O 2014 keynote unveils Android 5.0 L

June 26, 2014 // 10:41 a.m.

Tags: #android #android-50 #android-50-l #android-auto #android-tv #android-wear #google-io #linux #microconsole #protest #protestors

Advertising giant Google kicked off its annual Google I/O conference last night with a mammoth three-hour keynote presentation, previewing Android 5.0 L, Chrome enhancements, its previously-announced Android Wear and Android Auto platforms along with a set-top box and microconsole oriented variant of the OS dubbed Android TV.

Kicked off by Google's Sundar Pichai, last night's keynote presentation was undeniably Android-heavy. The headline of the event was a preview of Android 5.0, currently known only under the codename of L but likely to receive a dessert-themed title starting with that letter when it launches later this year. As well as the promise of significantly boosted performance over previous editions, Android 5.0 will bring a new user interface design which looks to add depth to user elements with real-time shadows and ripple effects being demonstrated. The upgraded OS also includes a revised lock-screen notification system, seemingly inspired by similar changes to Apple's rival iOS platform, and the ability to use multiple external factors including proximity to Bluetooth devices, physical location and voice authentication to secure the device.

Google also, unsurprisingly, used the event to push its recently-announced Android Wear platform, promising tight integration between Android 5.0 L and smartphones based on the software. The event also saw pre-orders open for the LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live, both based on Android Wear, although the Moto 360 and its innovative circular display won't be available until late summer - a delay that elicited groans from attendees. The company also spoke about Android Auto, an automotive variant of the platform which extends on Google's previous work within the industry.

The final major announcement from the event was Android TV, the logical follow-up to its Chromecast technology. Designed for set-top boxes and smart TVs, the software will operate standalone or in conjunction with an Android tablet, smartphone or even Android Wear device for media sharing and control. The Google Now voice-activated search system will also feature heavily, as will support for games - which is expected to shake up the low-cost microconsole market considerably.

Other announcements made during the keynote include unlimited Google Drive storage for business users at a cost of $10 per user per month, better Google Docs software, the ability to segregate personal and business data on one device, native Android app support on Chrome OS, and new APIs for developers. A pall was cast over the event, however, by multiple interruptions from protesters under the Occupy Google banner, who are pushing the company to work harder on net neutrality, others complaining about evictions carried out by Google staffers who have bought properties in San Francisco, and even a lone protester who interrupted the keynote towards the end with the complaint that Google is building 'robots that kill people' as part of its drone programme.

If you've got three hours to kill, the full keynote presentation is embedded below - although you might want to skip the first 28 minutes to get to the speeches.


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