Every year the battle between the titans of the mobile industry is fought with rigour. There is a buzz and excitement in the industry and the pundits are busy predicting the outcome till the final D day. This year is no different, Apple has already sharpen their sword at WWDC and now it’s the turn of Google with their I/O 2014. I was disappointed with WWDC this year as it was nothing like Apple. Google on the other hand stuck to its core business value of reaching out to the masses. This year they covered a lot, from design to new software launches, new OS etc. There were no hardware launches though as they probably want to communicate that this event is especially held for software and its developers. Alike Apple they plan to keep two events separate. So let’s get down to business now and see what Google has to offer this year.
Arguably the most important mobile OS launches for Google to-date as this will allow them to break the dominance of feature phones and dated software platforms like Symbian. This platform will also compete with the newly launched Firefox OS. Android One is a more standardized version of vanilla Android with standardized hardware specifications and vendors suggested by Google. It will allow low cost mobile manufactures to churn out good quality smartphones under 100 dollars in lesser time with continues Google software update support.
This also means that Google now will run two distinct Android categories and will concentrate on new releases with focus on mid to higher range devices. This should reduce the OS fragmentation to some extent. Sunder will test launch it in India and has partnered with manufacturers like Micromax, Karbonn & Spice.
Android L (Lolipop, Laddu, Lassi?)
Google also previewed the Android L OS which will be overhauled to their new material design UI. This design language is all about depth, shadows ad transitional uniformity. Notifications on lock screen is a copy from Apple. The OS will be also able to support 64 bit architecture. There is a focus on making the battery more efficient with project Volta and also security. Including all there are about 5000 new changes in this iteration.
Android Automation (Wear, Auto & TV, Cromecast, Fit)
Android will now power different devices sync with each together. Google partners with Samsung, LG & Motorola to bring watches with smart capabilities to your wrist. They will be used for different activities and app can be developed to utilize the canvas. Till now cars had integrated systems provided by 3rd party vendors having navigation, media and voice capabilities. Some of them were proprietary & some also used customized Android, but now Google wants to do it on their own and provide much better integration and sync capabilities.
TV is another area where the fragmentation will be reduced as leading manufactures can use the Android platform to give smart TV experience in a much uniformed way. Google is already partnered with some of the leading TV manufactures to introduce Android integrated TV. Unlike Apple where you have a separate box this will be entire TV powered by Android. Apple TV will still have its challenger in Cromecast which will have an update.
In the lines of Apple’s HealthKit, Google is also introducing its fitness and health app services, ‘Android Fit’.
Google Crome, Cloud & Play
Crome will now be synced with your watch and smartphone for better integration. Android apps will run on Crome. Along with this Crome update and Google cloud capabilities Google wants to create a smooth sync between various devices and applications which was very much Apples focus in WWDC and Microsoft with their Windows Mobile 8 release. Apple though is a lot more refined experience as their ecosystem is controlled and products are standardized. Google on the other hand does not have this luxury but will try to facilitate to the maximum. Google has also enhanced its cloud & Store capabilities and will be puching many of its services and software enhancements through Play.
In the end I am happy with what Google has to offer. It has stayed true to its core values. It is trying to reach masses and at the same time building capabilities to compete with the likes of Apple. There are areas where it has borrowed from Apple and Microsoft but then Google was never a huge innovator but Apple on the other hand is supposed to be one.
I will love to buy an iphone when I know it has something different from what Android or Windows has to offer as I am paying a premium for that phone. What is the fun if I pay 50K for an iphone and the same features are there one a 15K Android or Windows phone?
It will be an exciting year ahead when Apple launches the iphone 6 in September running the new IOS 8 and Google announces the Nexus 5 or its new flagship. Windows is also catching up and has some great surprises up its sleeve. Consumer is the king here and his kingdom is his Mobile phone.