It was a big week for Google with the announcement of new Android products that are going to enhance user experiences from typing on a touchscreen to driving and watching TV.
At the Google I/O conference, there was a lot to take in, but there were definitely four things that stood out as important changes to the Android we’ve been accustomed to until now-and we’re not just talking about the 36% longer battery life. After attending the conference in San Francisco, here’s Plastic’s recap of the key highlights we can expect from the new Android OS.
1) Android L
Two words, material design. Ok, where did that come from? Android’s new design is flat and colourful providing emotive responses when a user interacts with their Android smartphone. Material design highlights imagery and motion to provide a new (and improved) UI that will change user experiences.
The apps will also be seeing new design features, but aren’t shying too far away from the look in KitKat. With a cool new look to UI, there are also going to be enhanced notifications. The notifications feature called, “Heads Up” allows notifications pop up over an active app without disturbing the activity itself.
In addition to these features, Android L will aggregate both recently opened apps as well as chrome tabs. This way, the user does not have to open the chrome browser to revisit a previously opened page.
Lastly, the yet to be fully named “L” boasts improved battery life.
2) Android Wear
The SmartWatch available through LG and Samsung directly links to your Android device allowing auto-unlock capabilities within close proximity. In terms of battery life, the Samsung smart watch needs to be charged in cycles similar to a smartphone.
The voice commands are impressively accurate, and some of the best compared to others on the market. Android Wear is an understated piece of equipment that’s designed for on-the-go user experiences and streamline several popular use-cases.
The most used function of Android Wear will be voice-command capabilities, and it’s worth noting that Google has designed a specific OS just for wearables.
Another discernable feature will be Google Now cards, which allow you to find out the weather, news and traffic instantly. Additionally you can access sports, movies, events, and even set reminders to yourself for later in the day. Android Wear has blended this UI with its wearables letting users interact with it via voice-commands.
3) Android TV
The basic concept? Simple apps for a simple box. By creating super simple apps for the television, users won’t get lost in the static. There will be apps and games for users to interact with, and it will support voice input and notifications. It will also include channel guides that users can invoke from various Android devices including the smart watch.
4) Android Auto
No, we’re not going to have self-driving cars just yet but this is a step in the right direction. Android’s new OS will help drivers by syncing the mobile interface with dashboard displays inside a vehicle to prevent interaction with smart devices that cause distractions while driving and still allowing access to mobile utility.
It will keep drivers safe by allowing for voice exchange communication. Essentially, you can check your notifications or receive driving directions by way of auditory feedback rather than visual. This prevents a driver from averting their eyes to look down at the display or to look no further than the car’s dashboard for visual information.
Google I/O made some big announcements, but there is one overarching theme that stands out, all roads lead to mobile connecting people with places and things. Android’s new OS is going to bring some changes to everyday devices like cars and TVs by way of smartphones.