Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 25th Jun 2014 19:50 UTC
Google

So, the Google I/O keynote just finished, so I guess it's time to start summarising the most important announcements so we can go on to discuss them to death. Google announced a lot today - and most of it focused on Android. They detailed the next version of Android, dubbed the L release, which brings biggest visual overhaul of the platform since Honeycomb.

Google calls it Material Design, and it covers every aspect from Google - from Android to web. Material Design covers both how the user interface looks and how it behaves - with entirely new animations, dynamic shadows, and Z-depth. It is accompanied by loads of new APIs - both on Android and for the web - to make all these new transitions and Z-depth as easy as possible to code, and to ensure it always runs at 60 FPS (both on Android and on the web). Material Design covers all screen sizes - from round watches to big televisions.

There's a stylised video and a website laden with designer talk, and The Verge has the Android screenshots to show it off. Still images don't do the subtle animations and transitions any justice, but as you can see, if you've used Google Now you already have a very basic idea of where Google is going with this. The transitions, Z-depth, and dynamic shadows counter the lifelessness and coldness that are inherent to modern 'flat' design, making it feel livelier and warmer. It feels like it sits somewhere between the neon garishness of iOS 7/8 and the starkness of Metro.

While the focus was on the visual redesign, Android L will bring more to the table. One personal favourite of mine is a completely redesigned application switcher, which now resembles the card stack already in use by Chrome for Android, and displays Chrome tabs as individual applications. I've always found the current application switcher in Android to be cumbersome, and often very slow and choppy. This one looks very, very smooth on a Nexus 5.

Another huge change for Android is the definitive switch from Dalvik to ART, Android's new runtime. You've been able to use it for a while now, and I'm sure some of you already were, but Android L will run exclusively on ARt. It'll improve performance and all that, but it's also ready for 64bit, and supports ARM, x86, and MIPS. For developers - literally nothing changes. They won't have to change a single line of code to be ART-compatible.

Google showed off more features, such as battery life improvements and better notifications, but these were definitely the most prominent. The Android L SDK and developer images for the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 (2013) will be available tomorrow, and the final release will take place in autumn. As for when you can get it on your phone - this is Android, so all bets are off, of course. Nexus devices will het it first, custom ROMs will follow shortly after that, and those of you running stock Samsung, HTC, etc. ROMs are at the OEM's mercy. HTC has promised to begin rolling out Android L to the HTC One flagships within 90 days after Google drops the code, but OEMs have broken these kinds of promises before.

Google also shed much more light on Android Wear, but there was little here we didn't already know. The LG and Samsung Android Wear devices will be available in Google Play starting today, but the much more awesome Moto 360 will only become available later this summer. Google also unveiled Android Auto (whatever) and Android TV (I'm sure it will take off this time). While the Moto 360 is quite interesting because of its round display and just how awesome it looks, the rest of these devices and platforms aren't particularly exciting to me. The good thing for developers is that all these platforms have SDKs available starting today, and a single APK can cover all of them.

Moving on to Chrome, Google dropped the inevitable bombshell: Android applications can now run in windows on Chrome OS. On top of that, there will be a lot of integration between Android and Chrome OS to bridge the gap between the two. The latter looks very similar to what Apple is doing with Yosemite and iOS 8, and is a very welcome addition to the Chrome OS platform. In fact, these two additions - especially Android applications on Chrome OS - actually make me interested in trying out Chrome OS.

The last announcement I want to touch upon is the first major announcement during the keynote: Android One. This is a new initiative in which Google creates a reference platform for entry-level devices that smaller OEMs in developing countries can use to build devices and sell them at prices below $100. These devices will ship with stock Android, but carriers can install localised applications. Luckily, though, users will be able to uninstall those. The cherry on top: Google will be solely responsible for updating these devices, meaning they will always be running the latest Android release.

This was a very interesting keynote, and especially the Android stuff consisted of solid, welcome improvements to the platform. I'm very excited about the new design, since we're not just looking at a coat of paint, but also new behaviour and the APIs and developer tools to back it up.

In 2012, Patrick Gibson wrote down a remark by one of his friends: "Google is getting better at design faster than Apple is getting better at web services". Now that we know what iOS 8 and Android L will look like - it sure looks like this remark has come full circle.

Order by: Score:
Support for 68k
by Kochise on Wed 25th Jun 2014 21:23 UTC
Kochise
Member since:
2006-03-03

"It'll improve performance and all that, but it's also ready for 64bit, and supports ARM, x68, and MIPS."

x68, I'm wondering, is there really a port for the X68000 ? Anyway, nice typo ;)

Kochise

Reply Score: 4

RE: Support for 68k
by p13. on Thu 26th Jun 2014 09:37 UTC in reply to "Support for 68k"
p13. Member since:
2005-07-10

Human68K android!

Reply Score: 2

RE: Support for 68k
by ricegf on Thu 26th Jun 2014 11:55 UTC in reply to "Support for 68k"
ricegf Member since:
2007-04-25

Which is a shame, because the 68K CPU architecture was my favorite of all time. Moving to x86 was truly painful, to the extent I stopped writing assembly and moved to higher level software. *sigh*

Of course, I was also fond of the 6502 - but now I'm just showing my age. :-D

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Troels
by Troels on Wed 25th Jun 2014 21:38 UTC
Troels
Member since:
2005-07-11

Wow, a lot to take in. I am mildly optimistic about the new design language for Android. I am not a big flat fan, but if they can manage to keep it obvious what is clickable and what is not then i won't complain too much (main reason i don't like metro and ios7)

I checked out the design website and noticed a new app, google web designer (beta of course) that seems pretty interesting, seems like they want to engage the flash crowd to get this to take off. I find this interesting because my first reaction to the web part of the news was to put it into the big bin with interesting google technology that won't really succeed. But they seem to be really pushing it so maybe it can take off. (If the browser support is good enough, die old IE, die)

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by Troels
by WorknMan on Wed 25th Jun 2014 22:52 UTC in reply to "Comment by Troels"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

I am mildly optimistic about the new design language for Android.


Eh, I couldn't care less about the design, as even Jellybean looked fine to me. If all this fancy new eye candy hampers performance or battery life in any way, that'll be the first thing that gets turned off by me. (Assuming they give users the option.)

But the other stuff I liked... such as notifications on the lock screen, do not disturb, usb audio, etc. in the stock rom. IMO, THESE are the best parts of the new OS; not the fact that UI elements can do jumping jacks when you move them around.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Comment by Troels
by leos on Thu 26th Jun 2014 02:26 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Troels"
leos Member since:
2005-09-21

More individually animated items and more complex animations at high frame rates. You can be guaranteed that it will require more resources

Reply Score: 2

Update by google
by unoengborg on Wed 25th Jun 2014 22:14 UTC
unoengborg
Member since:
2005-07-06

I really liked to hear about these new inexpensive phones that will get updates from google. I hope this will put some pressure on Samsung and other large high end phone manufacturers to provide timely updates, and perhaps even convince them to stop put so much bloat on their devices

Reply Score: 3

The key to good design
by kwan_e on Wed 25th Jun 2014 23:38 UTC
kwan_e
Member since:
2007-02-18

The key to good design is to talk about design endlessly. You see, what you actually do doesn't matter. It's all about justifying whatever it is you're doing as a Good Thing.

Reply Score: 9

RE: The key to good design
by stabbyjones on Wed 25th Jun 2014 23:47 UTC in reply to "The key to good design"
stabbyjones Member since:
2008-04-15

that couldn't be more right.

Reply Score: 2

RE: The key to good design
by dsmogor on Fri 27th Jun 2014 14:00 UTC in reply to "The key to good design"
dsmogor Member since:
2005-09-01

[BAD PARENT THREAD]

Edited 2014-06-27 14:02 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: The key to good design
by dsmogor on Fri 27th Jun 2014 14:02 UTC in reply to "The key to good design"
dsmogor Member since:
2005-09-01

Look Google tries to emulate WP model on the low end where it succeed the most.
Having basic HW and driver adaptation delivered from competent company combining it with cost saving magic only Chineese white labels can do everywhere else looks like a smart move that will benefit customers.
I wouldn't count it would change practices of Samsungs of the world.

Reply Score: 2

One
by bram on Thu 26th Jun 2014 05:58 UTC
bram
Member since:
2009-04-03

Google one sounds like a blessing, not just for developing countries.
Engineering wise android lags miles behind apple.
Take a samsung device and do a 'adb logcat' and behold the piles and piles of crap that is dumped onto the console.
The output of an ios device is much cleaner.
As a dev, I cant see the information through all the noise,
There is simply too much stuff running on a samsung device, and you cannot switch it off.

Reply Score: 2

RE: One
by przemo_li on Thu 26th Jun 2014 13:13 UTC in reply to "One"
przemo_li Member since:
2010-06-01

tee, pipelines, awk, grep & company of other bad asses

Are Your Firends TM

;)

There is no "too much" logs.
There may be logs that say nothing or fuzzy things (or are indistinguishable between themselfs).
But lack of good tooling condemn nobody but Y...

Reply Score: 5

moondevil
Member since:
2005-07-08

...is that Android apps are coming to ChromeOS.

Thus making ChromeOS nothing more than what we can already do today with Asus Transformer and similar.

Reply Score: 1

avgalen Member since:
2010-09-23

Maybe I am missing your point, but are you:
a) Saying that an Asus Transformer that can run Android Apps is also just a toy?
b) Saying that a Browser OS is NOT just a toy anymore?

So far I have thought of an OS that is just a browser as just a toy.
Now that it can run apps I think of it as phone/tablet level (consumption)
So although it is still a level below a true productivity device, it is now offering something that I would consider worth to buy (less functional, but also less complex than a laptop)

Reply Score: 2

moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

I am saying that it just confirms what I have been saying all along, there is no value in a browser as OS, other than being a toy.

Tablets with pluggable keyboards provide a higher user experience by providing full native applications, where the browser is just one more among many.

Still, what all tablets lack, except for the Surface, is a laptop like productivity experience.

Reply Score: 3

p13. Member since:
2005-07-10

Too bad i already commented. I'd +1 you.

Although this means that chromebooks will finally be worth something.

Reply Score: 1

ricegf Member since:
2007-04-25

It's not about the apps. Think of the effect on sales of that big, beautiful, very well-known Android logo on all the Chromebook ads.

I think Microsoft just got Scroogled! ;-)

Reply Score: 1

latest greatest
by zdzichu on Thu 26th Jun 2014 11:00 UTC
zdzichu
Member since:
2006-11-07

Google will be solely responsible for updating these devices, meaning they will always be running the latest Android release.

Are you sure about that? I would rather expect 2-3 updates for given device, and then statement like "this device has not enough CPU/memory/whatever to receive latest version". This justification happens all the time from traditional vendors. It's quite opaque and hard to discuss, perfect opportunity to stop caring about older phones.

I.e. "always" is very powerful word.

Reply Score: 2

RE: latest greatest
by unoengborg on Thu 26th Jun 2014 13:16 UTC in reply to "latest greatest"
unoengborg Member since:
2005-07-06

My guess is that they will get the usual 18 months of updates, but that is much better than what you usually get on the less than $100 devices we see on the market today.

Reply Score: 3

I hate flat design
by biffuz on Thu 26th Jun 2014 12:46 UTC
biffuz
Member since:
2006-03-27

I hate all these "modern" flat and colorful designs.
And I already know I'm going to hate this one even more - what's with those round buttons flapping around? It is completely incoherent with the rest of the design, it disturbs your mental reading of the content and generates confusion. They just needed something distinctive from the competition.

Reply Score: 3

RE: I hate flat design
by snip3rm00n on Fri 27th Jun 2014 15:13 UTC in reply to "I hate flat design"
snip3rm00n Member since:
2011-06-08

I hate all these "modern" flat and colorful designs.


It seems like everyone is on the flat bandwagon these days. I remember Metro being announced and every one saying it looked horrible and yet all the major companies since then have been replicating it. Apple flattened iOS and eventually they flattened Mac OS. Google flattened Android and I'm sure Chrome OS isn't far behind. All of the major apps I use on a daily basis are flattened too; everything from Facebook to Netflix to even my auto-insurance app.

Can someone explain why is it that when most of everyone (including other tech companies) have said the Metro UI of Windows 8 looked like shite did the other companies down the road decided they're going to emulate it? I seriously want to know, especially from the tech companies. Copying one bad idea seems like an overall bad idea to me. I mean Apple is kind of understandable because their current policy since Tim Cook took over is that anything that's not like Steve Jobs' original vision of a skeuomorphic UI is too much like Steve Jobs' original vision of a skeuomorphic UI.

All of these companies seem to want to push for a unified UI experience but none of them seem to know or care what the others are doing or what they want out of a unified UI experience so what we are left with is some really ugly and flat UIs with no consistency; except for the concept black text on white background. Christ, I may as well do all my computing on a Kindle Paperwhite, I'll get the same UI experience with none of the over driven brightness. At least Microsoft has unified the UI consistently on all of their devices, even their new Android phone, but even they are beginning to realize it was a bad idea since they're bringing back the Start Menu come August.

I honestly was hoping for this whole "flat is where its at" campaign would be short lived and the tech companies would realize that beauty and elegance in the UI can coexist with productivity, flexibility, and speed. Instead all the tech companies are jumping on the bandwagon like it'll solve all of their problems. However, all of them are in their own corner of the wagon doing it their own way instead of collaborating and figuring out whats the best way to unify things. Maybe the other companies are afraid to collaborate because they'll end up doing all the work and then Apple will swoop in, steal it, copyright it and sue them for creating it.

Reply Score: 0

RE: I hate flat design
by abraxas on Sun 29th Jun 2014 15:41 UTC in reply to "I hate flat design"
abraxas Member since:
2005-07-07

I hate all these "modern" flat and colorful designs


I seem to be the only person who likes the flat design rage these days. I always hated the unnecessary and gaudy design of the old apple applications that looked like they were made of wood or metal but it seems I am in the minority. The beauty of an application to me isn't the rounded corners and shiny interfaces but with the way it works. The rest of it just gets in my way.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: I hate flat design
by biffuz on Mon 30th Jun 2014 13:07 UTC in reply to "RE: I hate flat design"
biffuz Member since:
2006-03-27

I always hated the unnecessary and gaudy design of the old apple applications that looked like they were made of wood or metal but it seems I am in the minority.


Oh no, I'm in that league too. But it doesn't mean I like the total opposite.

The problem is that you don't have a real choice. The big guys decided this is "the" new look and we all have to accept it, because the alternatives are unpractical. And given that it's only a matter of fashion, wait two or three years and they'll reverse again.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: I hate flat design
by snip3rm00n on Mon 30th Jun 2014 15:06 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: I hate flat design"
snip3rm00n Member since:
2011-06-08

The problem is that you don't have a real choice. The big guys decided this is "the" new look and we all have to accept it, because the alternatives are unpractical.


I totally agree to your point that we don't have a choice because the big guys choose for us and we just have to accept. However, one of the reasons I prefer the Android platform is even if they do say that this is "The" new look, I at least don't have to keep it. Android, even if its not in the OS initially, always has a way to change the theme and/or skin of your UI and most of the time it doesn't require rooting to do it. If there isn't then I can find a Launcher or a ROM that looks and acts the way I want it to. At least Android gives you the ability to change if you want to. iOS on the other hand is locked down so tight that you can't do anything they don't want you to.

I feel as though technology companies should always give you the choice to use the designs they previously implemented. Heck, even up until Windows 8 we always had the opportunity to go back to "Windows Classic" UI. I never used it because personally I love the gloss, polish, and minimalist look of Windows Aero. Its beautiful without being over bearing, elegance meets function and Aero does it well. If Microsoft would have left an Aero theme in Windows 8 it would have been good, like wise if Apple would have either opened up iOS and Mac OS to change the theme or reskin the UI and/or left in an "Classic" theme to bring back skeuomorphic elements it would have been perfect.

Reply Score: 1

Very nice but...
by torp on Thu 26th Jun 2014 14:15 UTC
torp
Member since:
2010-08-10

... i still don't want to display my real name on YouTube. Or enter my home address in Google Maps. Or join Google+. Or be indefinitely nagged about those and more.
These days Google tries to remind me every minute that I'm the merchandise.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Very nice but...
by Kochise on Thu 26th Jun 2014 15:10 UTC in reply to "Very nice but..."
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

Would you like to buy my 0.02 € about this ?

Kochise

Reply Score: 3

Very flat
by Verenkeitin on Thu 26th Jun 2014 17:01 UTC
Verenkeitin
Member since:
2007-07-01

Well I'm certainly delighted.

The back, home and app switch buttons got a facelifted to abstract shapes in accordance of the flat design to make sure they communicate and contribute absolutely nothing. I fully expect them to be reduced to single line segments in the next iteration, or perhaps into single pixel dots to make them artistically as pure as possible.

I hoped to see the menu button moved to a new place again, but they were even more innovative than that. Now you can have three on the same screen. One with three dots on the upper right, one with three lines on the upper left and one embedded into a context menu (sub menu perhaps).

Mocking aside, it appears that Google is slowly and painfully working itself up to admitting that the ubiquitous back button is a stupid design. Now they have an arrow to the left button (swiped from N9) and a x button that is hopefully for closing views.

What isn't so delightful is that pretty soon I'll have to do some app development using these pretty new things and they are going to suck out of the box. You see, in android, anything more complicated than a button needs hundreds of lines of boiler plate code for crude basic functionality. If you want something fancier, like the tabs in PlayStore, you'll need thousands of lines of code tinkered just so.

Reply Score: 3

well... still old crap
by vjanicek on Thu 26th Jun 2014 21:35 UTC
vjanicek
Member since:
2009-07-09

So many "new features" yet the main programming language still Java...

Reply Score: 3

ThomasFuhringer
Member since:
2007-01-25

So flat design is getting animations to make it less boring?
How about making it less 'flat' and more curvy?

Reply Score: 2

Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

Rounded stuffs are copyrighted by Apple...

Kochise

Reply Score: 3