Google shows off Android L, Wear, and Auto at I/O

|By:, SA News Editor

The next version of Android (its developer preview is simply called "L") will feature major UI changes linked to Google's (GOOG +1.4%) new Material Design language. Buttons, icons, colors, and animations and much else has been tweaked. (live blog)

Feature updates (mostly incremental) include: 1) Interactive lockscreen notifications. 2) A battery saver mode. 3) Voice and location-based device unlocking. 4) A new runtime (called ART) and graphics extension pack that improve performance. ~5K new APIs are provided for developers.

Android Wear, first announced in March, is getting shown off in detail. The wearables platform tightly integrates with Android phones: Notifications are synced, and when an app is installed on the latter, the wearables version automatically installs on the former. Two Android Wear watches - Samsung's Gear Live and LG's G Watch - are launching today. Motorola's Moto 360 will arrive this summer.

Android Auto (previous) places a strong emphasis on navigation, communications, and entertainment apps, supports Google Now, and comes with a developer SDK. Initial app partners include Pandora, Spotify, the MLB, and iHeartRadio. Automotive partners include Ford, Honda, Audi, Chevrolet, Kia, and Chrysler.

Google shares have ticked higher amid the flurry of announcements.

Earlier: Android MAUs top 1B