Google I/O 2014 kicks off today, with the big keynote starting at 9:00 AM PDT / 12:00 PM EDT, and you can join in and watch the presentation in the player above. What are we expecting to hear about during the Google I/O 2014 keynote? Well, the biggest piece of news will likely be the reveal of the next version of Android, likely Android 5.0. We'll get a look at the future of Android smartphones and tablets, in addition to set-top boxes. Google will be showing off a new Android TV set-top box, which is interesting since Google TV hardware failed so miserably over the last few years. Wearables should also be big today, with Google Glass and Android Wear devices getting some stage time. Google also typically releases Google+ updates during the I/O keynote as well.
What are you hoping to hear about from Google this morning?
If you live in the world of video gaming, you probably know about Twitch. It's a sound concept. Watch other people play video games. I know I did it when I was nine, there was always a group of us kids around the the guy with the Gameboy playing Mario as we cheered him on.
Now it comes down to watching strangers play over the internet in real time and instead of five guys looking at a handheld console over their friend’s shoulder, it's 43 million people watching a sum total of 6 billion hours of video game coverage every single month.
Those are some big numbers, and if there is one company that has a good nose for big numbers and the internet, it's Google. Now sources connected to Google have let it slip that the internet giant YouTube, owned by Google, is looking to acquire Twitch for $1 billion.
Should the deal go through, Twitch would gain access to Google's nigh-unlimited resources to expand. It also could run afoul of United States monopoly laws, granting Google a majority share of internet video game streaming services.
Twitch alone accounted for 1.35% of all downstream bandwidth in North America in March, with Youtube raking in 18.67%.
It's still in the rumor stage unfortunately, with Youtube and Twitch refusing to confirm talks, naturally. We'll see what banner I'm streaming under when July rolls around.
Google wants you to get them while they are hot. Google Glass has made its public premiere, but the company warns that its inventory is limited. When it opened a preliminary sale last month Google burned through the overwhelming majority of its Glass inventory in a single day and were forced to close up shop.
Since then Google has been building up its supply of the long-anticipated gadget. And as of Wednesday morning, they have announced open season on the Google Glass Explorer edition. It's still in the beta, but Google wants this to be its open test, as they announced via company blog this morning.
The Explorer carries a pretty heavy price tag: $1,500 in its current form. It's certainly outside of my range, so it looks like I won't be getting one just yet. Google says it plans a more widespread release of the Glass later this year. If that's the case, we're curious if the price will stay the same, and if not, how the company will handle the unhappiness of those who may have paid much more.
Want your own pair right now? Hit the link below!
Read More | Google Glass
As expected, Samsung introduced the Galaxy S5 at its Unpacked event on Monday. This time around, the company focused more on the practical hardware features of the smartphone, as opposed to the bell-and-whistle show we got with the Galaxy S4--we're talking about faster connectivity, a great display, durable build, and camera features that anyone can appreciate.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 packs in a 5.1-inch Super AMOLED display with 1080p resolution, with a 2.5GHz quad-core CPU, and running Android 4.4.2 KitKat. The battery in the device hold 2800mAh of power, and it's paired alongside a "Super Power Save" mode that'll turn off battery-draining features and turn the display black-and-white in instances where you absolutely want to stretch out your battery life for as long as you can.
It looks like Samsung is set to announce its new Galaxy S5 smartphone at the Samsung Unpacked 5 event on February 24th. It was previously expected that the Galaxy S5 would be announced at Mobile World Congress, similar to the S4 last year, but perhaps Samsung wants to churn out a new model a bit quicker this year.
Recent reports suggest that Samsung will align its Android devices a bit more closely with Google's vision, rather than in the grandiose fashion they've used in the past, focusing on superfluous features that weren't that exciting or usable in the real world. Of course, Samsung isn't saying anything, keeping the cat in the bag until February 24th.
Now that the Moto X has landed on Verizon and AT&T, Sprint is up next to launch the customizable smartphone from Motorola. Sprint will have the Moto X for $199.99 with the typical two-year contract, but for a limited time, customers switching over a number from a competing carrier will get $100 off the price instantly, making the phone just $99.99. Sprint will offer the Moto X in woven black and white, with support for the highly-customizable Moto Maker versions coming later.
At today's Unpacked event, Samsung announced its new S Pen-powered Galaxy Note 3, a bigger version of the large smartphone, with much improved internals. Aiming to end the talk of people complaining about the cheap plastic feel of Samsung devices, the company has given the Note 3 a faux-leather backing. You get a 5.7-inch 1080p display (up from 5.5 on the Note 2,) and the device will support the new LTE Category 4 as well as the new Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch. You get a 13 megapixel camera on back, with a 2 megapixel version up front, and the rear camera can record in up to 4K resolution at 30fps, a first for a smartphone. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 will start shipping on September 25th rocking Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, available in black, white, and pink.
If you're rocking a Samsung Galaxy S III or Galaxy S 4 and are wondering when you'll be able to get in on the Android 4.3 Jelly Bean update, today's Unpacked event made it clear that the software is coming to your handheld sometime during the month of October, around the same time as the update that will enable Galaxy Gear functionality. No word on when Android 4.4 KitKat will be made available.
Google Android (and Chrome) head Sundar Pichai has announced the next version of Android: KitKat. Yep - Android 4.4 will be known as KitKat, a name Google got the rights to use in partnership with Nestle, and continues the tradition of Android versions being named after sweet confections. While Google had been using the name "Key Lime Pie" internally for Android 4.4, "very few people actually know the taste of key lime pie," according to Android director of partnerships John Lagerling. Not sure why that matters, but obviously KitKat is a bigger marketing play.
No new features of KitKat have been announced just yet, but at least we know the name, and have a new Android icon with integrated chocolatey KitKat goodness integrated in.
Google is currently running a promotion that lets buyers of specially-marked KitKat packs to have a chance to win a free Nexus 7 or some Google Play credit.
Read More | Google Android KitKat 4.4
With Apple expected to release the lower-cost iPhone 5C next month, Google has just cut the price of the Nexus 4, dropping it to $199 for the 8GB model without contract--that's $100 less than it cost just a day ago. If you prefer the 16GB version, you can get that one for $249. These prices are a steal for the Nexus 4, which is widely seen as the best current Android smartphone, even thought it lacks LTE. This is a much more inexpensive way to get the pure Google experience in a smartphone than it would be to buy the Google Play editions of the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S 4. The price cut is now live in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, Korea, the United States, and the UK.
Read More | Google Nexus 4