I/O 2015: Google unveils Android M, Project Brillo, Android Pay and more!

Google I/O 2015 is just getting started and Google kicked off the conference with an announcement about its highly anticipated Android M. As expected, Google has added new app permissions controls for Android so users have more control over what data they share with developers. The biggest change here is that Android apps will ask for permissions whenever you use specific features within the app instead of before you install the app.

Google also took the wraps off Android Pay for the first time, which is Google’s attempt to breathe new life into its old Google Wallet mobile payments platform. Google says Android Pay will work at over 700,000 stores that accept contactless payments in the United States. Like with Google Wallet and Apple Pay, Android Pay will be based on NFC technology, which has become the standard tech for mobile payments.

Another important new feature is native support for fingerprint scanners, which will go hand-in-hand with Android Pay to help users securely authorize payments with their phones. Although many Android OEMs have released phones with fingerprint sensors before, this is the first time it will become a part of the Android platform itself.

Google is also going to address users’ battery power concerns with a new feature called Doze that will turn off all your device’s background activity when it detects it’s not being used. Google says this feature doubles the standby time on Android devices.

Like Apple, Google is also embracing USB Type-C ports for its devices that offer faster charging and that can be used for multiple functions. Google has already started using USB Type-C ports on its Chromebook laptops and Apple unveiled its first USB Type-C-equipped laptop earlier this year with its new 2015 MacBook.

Android M will be available as a developer preview today and Google’s goal is to have the final version released in the third quarter this year.

Project Brillo

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Google isn’t just putting its software on phones anymore. The company on Thursday unveiled a new platform called Project Brillo that will be its operating system for the so-called “Internet of things,” which is an industry buzzword for having several different household devices that are connected to the Internet and can communicate with one another.

“We hope we can connect devices in a seamless and intuitive way to make them work better for users,” Google Android boss Sundar Pichai said of Project Brillo’s mission.

Android Pay

It’s that time of year, folks. Google I/O is upon us and the search giant, per usual, has a number of big announcements on hand. Just a few moments ago, Google announced a new payment platform dubbed Android Pay that will be coming to Android M.

As one would expect, Android Pay will seemingly operate much like Apple Pay, with fingerprint authentication as well if desired. As for how it works, it’s rather simple. Simply unlock any NFC enabled Android device and hold it in front of a NFC terminal. Notably, your actual credit card number will not be shared with any store.

Notably, Android Pay will reportedly work with devices running KitKat as well.

In keeping with Google’s bread and butter, Android Pay is slated to be an open platform, which is to say that users will be able to add and activate their credit card into Android Pay either via Google’s built-in method or via each individual bank’s own application.

What’s more, Android Pay will also allow app developers to integrate such payment functionality into their own apps. For instance, apps like Lyft will now include an Android Pay payment option that will save users from having to tediously enter in their credit card information.

Android Wear

Android M Android Wear Features

Google has already added support for GPS, Wi-Fi, wrist gestures to Android Wear, the company revealed, but also support for other interesting features such as always-on apps, screen lock and a new launcher. Android Wear devices will even be able to recognize emojis, the company revealed.

Android Wear will offer users an always on screen to show the time – unlike Apple’s Watch which doesn’t have such a feature – and will feature always on apps that’ll let users enjoy various interesting new features. The company said it currently has more than 4,000 apps built specifically for Apple Wear watches, with some apps ready to bring even more features to its smartwatch platform, including Uber, Foursquare and CityMapper.

However, Google did not announce any new Android Wear device during the event, but hinted that more devices are launching later this year. “Ultimately, Android Wear is about choice,” Google said, insisting on the wide variety of Android Wear models already available to buyers. “By the end of the year, there will be many more Android Wear watches.”

Now on Tap

Google Now Update

Google a few moments ago introduced that amazing new changes are coming to Google Now with a new software feature Google is calling ‘Now on Tap’. Now on Tap brings Google Now functionality to the next level by leveraging context awareness to bring you even more information super quickly.

Meet Google Photos, a brand new home for all your digital memories

Android M Google Photos Application

The new photos application isn’t necessarily a surprise, considering that a recent leak from Android Police offered a sneak preview to Google’s new photo management solution.

Just as Google explained on stage, the new app photos app will be smart enough to organize your photos automatically and privately, to give you easier control on photo collections and albums. The Photos app also backs up automatically all your pictures, from a variety of devices, making them all available in a single place.

The app uses machine learning to automatically organize photos by people, things and places, which should definitely come in handy when looking for specific memories. Interestingly, the app is able to recognize the same person regardless of age, which is definitely a handy feature.

Obviously, users will be able to organize photos in their own albums and collections if they so desire.

At the same time, the Photos app also lets you easily share with friends and family (via Twitter) and save photos.

Available TODAY for iOS, Android and Web with FREE UNLIMITED Storage with HD Photos and Videos Storage!

Watch Google I/O Keynote Live on ECB!

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Here’s what to expect from Google I/O 2015 tomorrow!

Another year, another Google I/O event. It seems that only days ago, we were waiting impatiently to finally learn what the ‘L’ in Android 5.0 stands for and how it is going to change mobile tech. Now, with the next event set for tomorrow, May 28 at 9:30AM PDT (4:30PM GMT – 7:30PM Beirut Time), we are only hours away from another exciting keynote, to fill us in on everything Google has been working on and plans for the future.

And as tradition dictates before such events it’s now time to wrap-up some of the rumors and see what we can expect to see onstage. First things first, after a brief cameo on the official I/O schedule, we are now fairly certain that Google is going to discuss, at least in some shape or form, the next major Android update, currently referred to as Android M.

We can’t really say for sure is the new OS is going to be officially announced, but, we are fairly certain that it is going to have a big focus on Android for business and multiple workspaces. Also, rumors hint at major optimizations in terms of RAM and battery performance. The finalized version of Android M is said to arrive at some point in August, though this timeframe is subject to change.

Past rumor suggest that the OS will offer native support for fingerprint scanners. As for the name, ‘M’ does leave quite a lot of possibilities open. Google could go with a partnership once again, like with KitKat, which puts things like M&Ms, Milky Way and Mars on the table. More conventional guesses are along the lines of Marshmallow or Muffin.

As for new handsets, we have been hearing a lot about Huawei making the next Nexus device. Recently, however, new rumors have suggested that the Chinese manufacturer might be joined by LG, for a total of two new Google devices.

Codenamed Angler, then upcoming LG-made Nexus Smartphone is said to have a 5.2” display. The device’s battery is said to have a capacity around 2,700mAh. LG has reportedly not decided on the chipset for the Angler. However, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 found in the LG G4 is said to be under consideration.

Huawei’s first Nexus device on the other hand, is codenamed Bullhead. Its specs include 5.7” display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 chipset, and 3,500mAh battery – right in line with a previous rumor. The handset will reportedly feature a “more manageable” form factor than the Motorola Nexus 6. Google will reportedly not unveil a new Nexus tablet this year. The search giant will stick with the Nexus 9 through one more product cycle.

There is also the possibility of a few other phones seeing the light of day, or, at least, being discussed at the conference. For one, we have Project ARA. The ambitious modular phone platform has been in development for quite some time and we can only hope that Google has made enough progress on it to be able to showcase some working prototypes. If not, an update on availability dates would be greatly appreciated as well.

Project Fi – Google’s recent move to offer competitive data plans, as a virtual carrier in the US, definitely stirred things up, but, as ambitious as it is, it has one huge drawback – it’s limited to Nexus 6 devices only. This caused a lot of controversy and a lot of people have speculated that launching an essentially budget service on a high-end device can only be a soak test of sorts. So now we can expect that Google will bring more devices to the table sooner or later, the only question is what tech should we expect. There is the possibility of a new budget-friendly Google Fi phone being announced at this year’s I/O to bring the service to the masses. But, this seems a lot less-likely than the aforementioned two Nexus handsets.

The rest of the device rumors we have heard are all pretty low in terms of probability. These include Fit Clip – a new fitness tracker, a new version of Google Glass and Chromecast 2. Also mentioned are things like a home automation speaker and a new version of Google Cardboard, made of plastic, Google Plastic, if you will.

As for the rest of the subjects we can expect Google to touch upon during I/O 2015, we should hear about the impressive growth of the Android user base, just like last year, also, perhaps some talks on home automation and the internet of things (IoT). Android’s specialized siblings – Auto, Wear and TV should also be discussed at length. A special kid-friendly version of the Google Play store could be unveiled at the venue. And we might learn more about the future on Google Wallet, as well.

Google I/O officially kicks off tomorrow at 9:30AM PDT with the all-important keynote presentation. We will be covering the event live, so, be sure to check back with us when the time comes. You can also actively participate in the conference remotely. Google.com/io hosts schedules, resources and tools to participate in lectures and workshops online, so, you can take part in the action .

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Samsung launches Galaxy S6 edge Iron Man Limited Edition

Marvel’s second movie about the Avengers titled Age of Ultron is out in the theatres and the company shook hands with Samsung for some special projects. After teasing the Iron Man-themed Samsung Galaxy S6 edge last week, the Korean giant has formally launched it for select markets.

Samsung officially announces the Galaxy S6 edge Iron Man Limited EditionThis limited edition Galaxy S6 edge bears the same internals as the regular variant with 64GB of storage. It has been given the Iron Man look with red colored front and back, and gold colored metal frame. The phone will have a custom Avengers theme pre-installed and will be packaged in a limited edition Avengers box.

Samsung has packed an arc reactor-themed wireless charger in the retail package. The latter will also contain a clear protective cover.

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Google to announce Android M later this month!

android-m-6-update

android_mmThe latest iteration of Google’s mobile operating system, currently codenamed Android M, will be announced this month. It will be be unveiled at the company’s annual I/O developer conference, which kicks off May 28.

The info is based on the description of an I/O session in the conference agenda, mentioning the word “Android M”. That session has since been removed from from Google’s I/O website.

Although the details are scarce, it was revealed that the mobile OS will be enterprise-focused, and will provide a service – dubbed Voice Access – that Google claims “gives anyone access to their Android device through voice alone.”

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