Google I/O: The Future is All About the Android Mobile OS

During yesterday’s keynote event at Google I/O, the company unleashed its Android Everywhere strategy and a slew of related announcements. Google envisions us taking the more contextually aware Android mobile OS from place to place through every part of our lives, including our televisions, laptops, vehicles, bodies and workplaces. Major announcements unveiled details regarding Android L (5.0), Android Wear, Android Auto, Android TV, and integrating Android applications into Chromebooks.

Google-Android-300x225The keynote emphasized Android “flowing from place to place with you, and taking advantage of any input you throw at it — be it your voice aimed at a device on your wrist, a button on your steering wheel, your mouse on your laptop, or a gaming control on your TV,” reports Wired.

“The company also talked about bringing developers along for this ride, by giving them the power of Google’s cloud platform. This was a comfortable, mature company with a comfortable mature product that it wants to merge into every aspect of your life. The keynote was full of announcements about the future of the operating system, including Android in the home, the car, and all sorts of other devices.”

Highlights included the following:

  • Next generation Android “L” (version 5.0) featuring Material Design, meant to mimic real world design with the illusion of depth and new animation capabilities.
  • Multitasking upgrade for Chrome, enhanced app indexing for Google search, and new design elements for the mobile Web.
  • “Search results in Chrome will feature cards that take advantage of Material Design,” notes the article. “It features fast, fluid animations at 60 frames per second — scrolling through images in a Google search, for example, looks like actually flipping through an image book.”
  • Android Wear will support various screen configurations and feature voice interaction. Google demonstrated capabilities of the LG G watch, now available on the Play Store, and how Google Now helps provide relevant contextual information.
  • Google announced Android Auto, which uses connected Android apps and services in the vehicle, with a focus on navigation, communication and music. Google explained that an Android Auto SDK will be released soon so developers can create new apps for the car.
  • The top 10 highest rated laptops on Amazon are currently Chromebooks. Eight OEMs make 15 devices and more are “on the way.” The goal now is to integrate Android.
  • The company demonstrated “an Android version of Evernote running on a Chromebook,” explains Wired. “There’s a Vine app running on the desktop — and it even supports the Chomebook’s camera so you can actually create a Vine right from the desktop.”
  • Google discussed its cloud services and mentioned that it is working to help developers with offloading data, “debugging, tracing and processing functions to the cloud.”

One of the most anticipated topics involved Android TV. “The interface is extremely slick,” notes Wired. “It has a very simple UI that reacts to your usage patterns. On the home screen, shows are up top, below them are apps, and below that games. The key to this is keeping the experience seamless across devices. It’s the same API for TV, phone and tablet. You can use your Android Wear watch to navigate the options on your TV, which mirror the options on you tablet.”

Since Android TV includes full Google cast support, it is similar to a built-in Chromecast. This allows users to play their videos and music in multiple locations. Android TV also “brings Google Play games to the big screen” and “supports multiplayer games, played from various devices, so one person can play on a phone and another on a gaming pad simultaneously.”

Related Articles:
Watching Google’s Many Arms, The New York Times, 6/25/14
Google Unveils Ambitious Android Expansion at I/O Conference, The New York Times, 6/25/14
Moto 360 Smartwatch Makes an Appearance at Google I/O, Engadget, 6/25/14
The Elephants in the Google I/O Room: Glass and Plus, TechCrunch, 6/25/14