Friday, June 27, 2014

Google I/O, what does this mean for 2014?

Google's plans for the future

Google's I/O conference in 2014 rather had a hidden message that was hinted on several times. Google revealed many pleasing OS updates, so let's get to them first.

First, Google started with new changes and additional new software on cars, TV, and wearable devices. Only wearable devices sync directly with the smartphone OS.

 from TechRadar

Android L, or 4.5, is the new operating system from Google, said to be the first to support 64 bit, has much enhanced performance and another great addition is the unified UI that optimizes speed. Google also stressed again on speed of apps, and assured that the new UI has shorter lines of code to use but easier and gives a good result. (That's good because I'm secretly and lazily making an android app and wouldn't bother with the UI)

 really looking like a good watch OS even if not square.

Another OS announced is the Android Wear, the OS for your watch. This OS will, like Google Glass, rely heavily on voice recognition, and prioritizes speed of loading text over complicated swiping techniques. Android Wear so far makes every wearable device before it seem like a slight disappointment, as notifications are not to be seen twice on Wear. Overall, it's simple and looks good, also the defaults don’t look too plain so hopefully developers will use them since they do require much processing from the smartphone side. This would also allow low powered and lower priced smart watches to gain an advantage. As I wrote before, wearable devices market shouldn’t get too shiny, fancy, or expensive.

Google really thought this OS through. There is room for customisation but the defaults are not bad.

From these two paragraphs, there is a lot to be implied on Google's future plans. An operating system optimizing performance and speed left gap for heating, heavy battery usage, and overpowered background processes. Google countered that by having a battery safe mode similar to the one the Samsung innovated to limit the number of apps with high system requirements. But what's the point of having a good processor and not using it?

Clearly, Google no longer wants you to make such an investment in a smartphone. Google plans that you use a tablet instead, so you would never take it outside and worry about the battery. This is a step up for smartphone gaming, but not for smartphones. Google does have a plan that tablets advance faster than phones and get more priority in marketing.

Bitstrip about when gaming catches on to wearable devices

Your phone, on the other hand, will not be ignored. It will turn into a peripheral Bluetooth device to connect to Wear and/or Glass. Google may not be expecting much from Glass, but it is certain of watches and fitness bands to go into style. Then at the end of the day, you go home and sync all your notifications with your tablet again for no reason, and then you charge your phone for another day to use with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth in the street, but you won’t be using your phone for actual applications, just notifications and sync, and call of course. Your tablet will be the real android device to host the heavy applications and games, and with the introduction of phablets thanks to Samsung, why not even call through it? Although that won't be a necessity.

This prediction is backed up by Google's I/O itself, and also by some of their videos on Google developers. Samsung really paved the way for them on Wear, and their unique UI shares some history with windows phones but without looking plain, dull, or ugly. Material Design and Google Now look really good, and I hope they allow older phones to get the OS minus the hardware. Google is aware of performance = gaming math and even introduced a DIY virtual reality kit for your smartphone, making it appear like they do not plan to let go of smartphones yet.

Overall this is good news and also rather peculiar. I am curious to what the future may hold. However, they aren’t fascinatingly positive. In the end, developers will just make their own UI to be considered innovative and waste a lot of processing power on background processes, and no matter how all the regulations that google does on their Bluetooth connection, battery consumption, etc., all the apps will ignore all that and attempt to suck the life and mobile data of your phone. A better processor gives more room for that too.

This is not the first time I make predictions, and they've also not been wrong before, and this one isn't apparent but backed up by what Google said itself. Do you believe that Google will focus on tablets in the near future? Let us know in the comments. And Play More Zelda!

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