Google I/O – Android Developer Conference

googlei:o

Google I/O 2014 was held last week. One week out, I think I’ve finally had a chance to parse through all the new information!

It was a pretty exciting few days for Android developers. Below are a few highlights, but I’m curious as to what all of you think about everything.

Design

The next Android release, codenamed “Android L”, will include a design overhaul named “Material Design.” This is the new design theme that is the love child of Holo (first introduced with Ice Cream Sandwich) and Cards (made popular with Google Now). There aren’t any major differences, but it’s a nice update with some cool features that already has me feeling like Holo designs are dated.

Views can now have a Z value for drawing order (think z-index from the web). Higher values mean they are higher off the screen, which results in bigger shadows or appearing over other elements with lower values.

There are new Animation and Transition APIs, and they look great! Definitely check out this page and click on all the animated GIFs to see them in action.

Development

For the first time, the next version of Android (“L”) is only available as a beta for developers. It won’t officially be rolled out until this fall. There are some interesting changes that will affect some of our apps in our Android courses here, but only when updating them to target the new platform. I’m already working on refreshes!

RecyclerView and CardView are new widgets to replace ListViews.

The Action Bar is now called the App Bar. Color is now easily set using a Material theme.

Android Studio is now a Beta! You need a clean install if you’ve been using the preview version. Though it won’t be official until Fall, I plan on using this right away. It’s stable enough now to teach from, and there shouldn’t be any major changes between now and when it gets an official release. Download it now and get the Android L preview SDK to try out some of the new features, but you can’t publish anything that targets Android L yet.

Polymer looks interesting! Still need to try it myself.

Devices

Android Wear for watches and wearables

android_wear

Android TV promises tight integration with Google Play and other apps. It will have voice search and Google Cast capabilities (like Chromecast).

android_2

Android Auto already has a bunch of auto manufacturers on board to offer an Android-based unit in car dashboards. The usual suspects of navigation and audio apps will be available, as well as some messaging and reminder stuff.

Chromebooks will soon be able to run Android apps This may not be a big deal right away, but could potentially be great to offer apps that can run wherever your users need them.

Ben teaches our Android Development course at Treehouse

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Ben Jakuben

I'm a dad to a few, husband to one, son to two, brother to one, and friend to many. I spent nine years in software development before finding my dream job with Treehouse. Lately I've been focused on mobile development (primarily Android) as well as how to be a better father/husband/son/friend. Firmly committed to the belief that the world is evolving to a better place. Find me on Twitter @benjakuben.

Comments

7 comments on “Google I/O – Android Developer Conference

  1. Important details. Fortuitous myself I came across your blog by chance, with this particular surprised why this accident would not happened beforehand! I actually added that.

  2. I put the Android L Developer Preview on my Nexus 5 last week and I’m loving it so far…works perfectly with my G Watch! I just signed up for Treehouse and have been going through your Android videos Ben, amazing instructor!

    • Thanks, Jeff! Glad to have you on board! I’m running L and loving it myself, except for occasional 3rd party crashes and problems with SMS photos. Pretty solid, though, and a great update!

  3. Android Development is just great. Since i found it very useful and easy. I use an android application cell phone . It has all the features that a ipad can have. I just love it.Since i am a softare developer just not so skilled with Android , but like the concept very much.

  4. Handy information and facts. Fortunate enough me personally I stumbled upon your website accidentally, with this particular amazed the reason that incident would not occured sooner! I actually book marked this.

  5. I am really very excited for google 360 it looks amazing in the leaked pictures and hoping to have one for myself in future. Also would be waiting to see what new updates are there for android users to enhance its experience.

  6. Hey, Ben! You’ve been a fantastic teacher, and I’m currently finishing up the Ribbit project. I’m doing a few things differently since I’m trying to use what I learn for my own app.

    Do you think there will be videos in the future regarding Android L?

    Thanks,
    Rohit Sharma