Google I/O review: Android L, Android One, more


The I/O conference--Google's State of the Union for its various platforms--took place in San Francisco last week, and the time since has given experts a chance to unpack and reflect on the announcements and updates the company proffered.

Matching the desire tech giants have shown to break into emerging markets, Google introduced an initiative called Android One. The effort will seek to provide manufacturers with the means to reliably produce Android systems using lower-end parts--"a set of rules to make low-cost phones," as The Verge puts it.

"For Google, it ensures that even low-end devices can run its software and run it well, providing everyone with a uniformly decent experience," states the article. "Where KitKat was Google's effort to address the software issues on low-end devices, Android One is now doing the same for hardware."

Manufacturers will produce the first Android One devices this fall in India for the production cost of $100, and Google expects commercial success considering its already ardent following in emerging markets.

Android L, the working name for the next mobile platform from Google, was announced and made available for developers. The software includes a new "material" design that ups the realism on interactions, 5,000 new application programming interfaces and a system that will enable it to be contextually aware of its surroundings.

Google provided the software to developers immediately following the announcement, but, according to the company, the average user will have to wait until the fall to get the platform.

Following the company's plans to be attached to its users' hips at all times--literally and figuratively--Google unveiled its Android Auto system and released the first iterations on its Android Wear smartwatch brand.

The smartwatches--the LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live--are, according to Computerworld, basically identical. While some stylistic differences exist on the surface, the hardware and functions are nearly the same, including event reminders, pedometer programs and other ambient processes.

With Android Auto, Google hopes to make the driving experience seamlessly attached to content and information already provided by linked platforms. Google Maps directions that were searched earlier in the day will be readily available when in the car, and songs and other audio will be linked to the car with no extra work. The company is already working with automakers to have the technology--which uses both voice and touch commands--available by the end of 2014.

As previously reported by FierceMobileIT, Google also introduced its Android Work platform, which provides a set of native mobile device management features and IT controls for the Android operating system. For the next Android iteration, Google is integrating security features from Samsung's Knox mobile security platform into the native Android OS.

For more:
- visit the official I/O conference website to watch the keynote and other announcements
- read the article on Android One from The Verge
- read the review of the smartwatches from Computerworld

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