What impressed you the most about Google I/O 2014? Any disappointments?

by: Andrew GrushJune 27, 2014

google io 2014 keynote (2 of 41)
It’s been a crazy week for Android. Not only was Android L announced and released as developer preview, Google also formally unveiled its plans for Android Wear, Android Auto and Android TV. Not to mention the developer sessions which gave us a closer look at what Google ATAP is doing, and so much more.

Honestly, there’s a lot to take in, and plenty to be excited about. For this week’s Friday Debate we discuss what announcements excited and impressed us the most. Conversely, we also discuss what, if anything, disappointed us about this year’s developer conference.

As always, be sure to join in the discussion below and answer in our poll!

Joseph Hindy

I am extremely excited about two things and that’s Android TV and Material Design. I never hated Holo but it seemed utilitarian and functional and not beautiful. I think Material Design is beautiful and I can’t wait to see it implemented more in applications. With Android TV, well, I just hate using my Xbox 360 for Netflix, Hulu, and NHL Gamecenter. I’d like a more dedicated TV interface and Google TV was nice until they stopped supporting it.

I was disappointed in one thing and that’s PC/Mac integration in that there was none. You look at Android and you see a mobile operating system that has a billion active users. The only other operating system that comes even close to that is Windows. As a long time Windows-Android user, it would be nice to see some legitimate integration between the two operating systems. I’m not buying a $300 Chromebook just so I can answer texts and phone calls on an OS level without third party support. That functionality is obnoxious not to have but it’s not something I’m willing spend that much money (and desk space) to achieve. I’ve had people tell me to use Bluestacks and AirDroid and they are fairly functional but it’s not the same as having it done by Google. It’s disappointing that I have to use a third party apps (many of which are in a permanent state of beta) to get what iOS and Apple users will get.

I’m also disappointed that they did literally nothing to address the pitfalls of Chrome OS. Yes the majority of people browse the web a majority of the time but for people like me who spent a year eating Ramen Noodles so I could buy a $600 copy of Adobe’s software suite, I want more than just a web browser in a box with a keyboard. I’ve been waiting for a couple of years now for Google to announce something that actually makes Chrome OS functional enough for me to use and this year came and went without any such announcement. I can’t edit videos in Premiere Pro on a Chromebook without forking out way too much money to use Creative Cloud every month. Cloud monthly subscriptions may work for storage but they sure as hell don’t work for complex video editing solutions especially after a poor (not figuratively poor like “aww poor guy”…literally poor like “I rob the take-a-penny dish) person like me shovels out the down payment on a used car to get software so I don’t have to pay every month.

TL;DR – Yay for Material Design and Android TV. Boo ChromeOS, you’re a disappointment.

Jonathan Feist

I am going to share my insights in the most boring way possible: I took notes of the keynote presentation – yes, the entire presentation, start to finish. Every time I had an excited reaction to something, I punctuated it with an “!” Here is what I !’d:

Android L is exclusively ART!
With 64 bit support!

Sure, I am excited about Android L, but really, who isn’t?!? I won’t even bother rambling on, gushing like a school-girl over it. It is announced, it rocks, I can’t wait to use it. But what new Nexus device will I get to run it on?

  • Android Wear full SDK available!
  • LG G Watch available today! (Well, Wednesday, obviously.)
  • Moto 360 later this summer (crowd groans, boo!)

We can get into how much we all love or hate the current round of smartwatches later, for now, let me just say that I am absolutely stoked that devs can now put Android Wear to use to create new things.

  • Android Auto!

I got caught up in the hype – remind what Google Auto does that a well docked tablet cannot? My Nexus 7 slides in, connects to my audio system…. Sure, having your phone ‘cast’ to the in-dash screen is super cool, and the interface provided is very concise and safe(?) but I think they could have better supported existing hardware. I have measured, my Nexus 7 2012 is the exact same size as the face of my car stereo, hint, hint.

  • Chromecast can cast from different networks!
  • New standby mode called Backdrop!

Seriously, that’s what I wrote. This is the clear winner for me for the entire conference, I had given up on device mirroring with Chromecast, and boom, here it is. Now to see it in action.

  • Android for work!

I will be honest, I must go back and re-watch this entire segment, but I am very interested in the idea of work vs home usage experience. We all have multiple accounts and/or separate devices running to accomplish this, what if just one account on one device could instantly swap between the profiles? I’m all for that.

  • Cardboard?!?

OK, that was more a WTF than it was an “!”, but it had to be included. Obviously, Google’s goal was to surprise us. Mission accomplished. Cheap VR gear, very cool! One word of advice folks, the Cardboard app is really hard on the eyes without the actual cardboard and lenses. Or so I’m told. [cough]

Robert Triggs

I was really pleasantly surprised by Android TV, the Google integrations look spot on, as does the layout and functionality, and the same goes for the content too. Pairing it up with other Android devices, both as a remote and to cast content, seems like a no-brainer, but I’m so glad that they included it.

Android TV gaming was a nice surprise too. As someone who’s been playing on a PC for years, even I’m excited about the prospect of getting back to multiplayer gaming on the big screen, so long as quality games actually come along to make this a reality. This will be a really interesting area to watch, especially with the new CPU and GPU hardware heading our way over the next year.

As for Android L, unifying the look and content across a range of products is certainly one of Android L’s greatest attributes. Not only will this ensure that more of our devices play nice together, but it should help developers reach the widest possible audience with their apps. Google was clearly paying a lot of attention to developers later on in the keynote, which is something we’ll be thankful for later on I’m sure. Then there’s 64-bit, support for new graphics APIs, software tweaks and the like, which are great additions too.

I’m pretty pleased with what we’ve seen of Android L, feature wise. However, I just can’t shake the feeling that the new UI might be a bit horrible on the eyes after a while. The flashy animations look cool in demos, but I don’t really want to see them every time I click something, and the color pallet seems totally off to me. Honestly, I prefer the look of Holo, but I guess that’s nit-picking. I’ll reserve judgement until I see it in person.

One software feature that I thought was particularly neat was the way that partner apps are installed for Android Wear devices. You just install the main app on your phone, and the wearable version is sent to your smartwatch. It’s a little touch, but a really helpful one, and sums up how seamless Google is trying to make the Wear platform. Overall, Android Wear looks sleek and highly optimised, which is great, but my biggest complaint with the whole market is that it doesn’t seem to be moving away from dependency on a smartphone any time soon.

On the whole, Google I/O has left us with a lot to look forward to.

[poll id=”622″]

  • MasterMuffin

    Biggest change ever to the operating system used by over 1 billion people. If that doesn’t get you excited, you’re dead inside :) Android TV was really nice also, Wear was cool (though I’ll not personally ever get any watch, smart or not) and maybe when I can drive a car legally I’ll be more excited about Auto, I think Apple’s solution was more pleasing to the eye (don’t know about its functionality though)

    • Anonymousfella

      I think many cars will pack both these solutions along with their own(car manufacturers’) implementations. They wouldn’t want to lose sales just because the customer has a different OS in his smartphone!

      • AbbyZFresh

        That’s too much to add into one car. You’re packing two completely different OSes in one package. That’s more memory wasted in the car system.

        • MasterMuffin

          It’s not like they can’t fit 10TB in a car without any trouble

        • AndroidBrian

          Haha. Its not like there trying to makes some slim device. Its a freaking car

  • JosephRBrust

    With Android TV, well, I just hate using my Xbox 360 for Netflix, Hulu, and NHL Gamecenter. I’d like a more dedicated TV interface and Google TV was nice until they stopped supporting it. http://to.ly/zX0T

  • dogulas

    Slightly disappointed that Glass hasn’t come to market just yet, at very affordable prices. While I definitely wouldn’t wear it all day, I would love to wear it while biking and other active scenic stuff, while on the go. Never while talking to people unless they were good friends who also thought it was cool, and we were actually using it in the situation.

    Also Hangouts/Voice of course. Soon hopefully.

  • Will S.

    I’m mostly impressed with this years I/O but the only thing I’m disappointed with is that they didn’t add Windows/Galaxy style multitasking features to Android.

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    Personally I wasn’t really disappointed, the fact that Google is still talking about Nexus lineup calms me. I did expect them to drop at least one new device announcement since there was a leak of Volantis just about 2-3 days prior to I/O, but I guess we’ll have to wait until July-August, or, worst case scenario, until September-November time window when Google is gonna hold another event to announce new Nexi

    • PhoenixPath

      I’m sure you’ve been looking…

      Do you know if anyone managed to get “L” working on the N7 LTE? I keep checking xda but have not seen anything promising yet.

      Still kinda miffed at Google over that one…

      • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

        IDK dude, I’m waiting on a build myself

    • Yuri Agostini

      I didn’t hear any mention of the Nexus line-up. Then again the only thing I really watched was the keynote.

      • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

        They did mention it from time to time – like when they compared Android One experience to GPE and Nexus, all the L preview demos were shown using N5, the Android TV-related stuff is being supported by N4, N5, N7 and N10, etc.

        • Yuri Agostini

          Oh okay yeah. I thought you meant new Nexus stuff. I was happy about that too. I don’t ha r a Nexus 5, I was too impatient and got an S4. Hopefully Android “L” comes out soon and I’ll get one.

      • s2weden2000

        The io us a little longer than 3 hours of shot video..it is going on for days..

    • AbbyZFresh

      The head of Nexus yesterday mentioned it isn’t leaving anytime soon. It’s fine.

  • lphankevinl

    No official announcement about new Nexus devices.

  • WantNewNexus

    Nexus 6

  • Bootleg Zani

    Seriously Ramen Noodles for a year to buy a $600 app. Are you paid by the article? WTF?

  • Anonymousfella

    Excited to see Android evolving for different form factors. Android Wear, TV and Auto was pretty cool.
    Disappointed about the little details revealed about the android L. Would have expected a new Nexus and a high end chromebook.

  • João Ricardo

    What Google I/O 2014 announcement are you most excited about?

    • mildmanneredjanitor

      Cool. Give it another 2 or 3 years and it might have caught up with Windows.

  • Stas

    nothing about project Ara
    nothing about Nest (half year passed, Google should make something)
    nothing new about Google Glass

    • renz

      isn’t that they showing “the some how working” ARA prototype on second day?

    • joser116

      Has it really been half a year? And it does not take half a year to develop a product, let alone a whole platform. Google is still probably figuring out exactly what they want to do with Nest. A connected Home platform does not take half a year to develop.

    • Android Developer

      About project Ara and project Tango, they showed it here:

  • s2weden2000

    Impressive numbers..no slowing down the ePicness

  • Mur

    I feel the same way as Joseph concerning the lack of PC integration. It felt like a slap in the face that they deliberately ignored Windows, by far and wide the most used desktop OS and who’s users are often android fans, and instead only integrated notification mirroring with a very little used OS.

  • Commanderastig

    I’m sad that there’s no announcement about Google Voice and hangout integration :(

  • Yuri Agostini

    I’m excited about the Moto 360. I like round watches better. I’m disappointed in the lack of info about project Ara and I also wanted to hear something about Android Silver or a Nexus 6. Hopefully Android “L” will clear up all the bugs of KitKat on the N5 and improve the battery like they promised. Material design looks great.

  • Android Developer

    Here are the things I really hoped for:
    1. Hoped to see Android working on PC.
    Did you know that the official Google’s emulator used by developers is still super slow, just as it has always been?
    I hoped that this would change, as they promised back on Honeycomb days that not only it will be fast, but it could play 3d games.
    The PC is always left behind :(
    Going even further, I hoped that the smartphone would act like the “brain” of every kind of platform – the PC, the TV, … something like what Ubuntu Phone and Asus tried to achieve.

    2. I also hoped for some kind of multi-window support, standard Stylus support (like S pen) and something that could end fragmentation and make Android updates last much longer for all of us.

    3. I hoped for since Honeycomb is the ability to customize the navigation keys , by both the current app and by the settings made by the user.
    This way, the most common actions on the current screen can be where it’s the easiest to reach.

    4. Looking at various devices these days that support knocking on the screen while it’s turned off, I also expected some kind of standard for this too.

  • jrop

    IDK, which announcement I’m more excited about…Android L, or Chromecast screen mirroring. Also, Android One was really cool to hear about…I’m looking forward to learning more about this one.

  • Jayfeather787

    Joseph, dual boot Chrome OS and windows on your computer. Preferably no windows though because Microsoft is evil.

  • monkey god

    I gotta agree with Hindy that one of the biggest disappointments was the lack of integration between Android and Windows. I really like Airdroid and Pushbullet but it could be more simplified. Here’s hoping that this is just one of those unannounced features.

  • AndroidBrian

    Really cool and original idea is having the phone recognize the user, and allowing you to enter ur phone without a pass code. Very clever. I don’t think you need android wear to take advantage of this feature. There’s Bluetooth key finders. Hopefully your phone will he able to recognize you with your keys being in your pocket. That would be awesome. If not someone needs to make a blue tooth keychain, stat!

  • Nick V

    I will say that after seeing this year’s WWDC, I felt like they were in a rebuilding year, and that wasn’t going to be good, but after seeing what Google put out this year, I felt as though the World Series was won. My favorite aspect was putting out the Developer’s version of Android L to the masses. I think this is one of the most important decisions Google has made going forward, and will prepare the OEs and the developers for when the final release comes out.

  • Nick V

    For everyone complaining about a new Nexus device, please stop. You are honestly sounding like babies. There will be new devices, and they will be better than last time. Right now, it’s Android, the software, that needs the attention.