If you look at the worldwide smartphone sales by operating system in 2014, you’ll see that 4 out of 5 smartphones sold were running on Android. This also means that new Android services and functionalities are constantly being rolled out making it challenging to stay up to date on the latest advancements.
To help, we’ve compiled a list covering the biggest, most interesting, and most useful Android technologies you should know about right now and how they will shape the world of mobile:
Project Brillo and Weave
In the nascent years of the Internet of Things, developing common and flexible standards is crucial to achieve the goal of connecting all the devices around us. That’s the aim of Project Brillo – the IoT-focused lightweight OS based on lower layers on Android, that will allow adding the ‘smart’ to all the things we use daily. Along with the protocol called Weave, this can set the foundations for the connected future that’s gotten so much hype recently.
Having all the devices connected using a common standard, it would be nice to give developers a way to use the power of physical proximity in a straightforward manner. That’s where the Nearby API comes in. Available for Android and iOS, it will serve as a façade, to do the heavy lifting of using all the available sensors (Bluetooth, GPS, even inaudible sounds) to tell the app which devices are in the immediate surroundings.
Where could this be useful? Think dating apps, gym gamification challenges, collaboration tools, fairs and events… And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Eddystone: an open BLE beacon format
Eddystone is yet another piece in the puzzle of the hyperconnected world. An extension and alternative to Apple’s proprietary iBeacon standard, it aims to resolve some of the issues with compatibility, security and remote beacon management. Eddystone might just be what companies need to jump-start their location-aware services. Context is king, again!
Some of the new Android devices will include a fingerprint sensor and the upcoming OS version, codenamed Android M, will include APIs that allow developers to use the biosensor for authentication purposes. This will make creating solutions that require a high security profile easier, safer and more user friendly. Add Brillo into the equation, and you get a digital identity within your physical world. This could be leveraged for building access control, instant digital signature, secure payments and beyond.
Google’s predictive assistant is getting new features faster than ever. Right now you can already add custom commands that the user will be able to invoke to run your app directly from their home screen, leading to increased user (re-)engagement. Now Taps, coming up along with Android M, is already being called a game changer – it will allow analyzing and searching for the information contained in the currently displayed screen. Contextual information at its best!
A competitor to Apple Pay and complementary to Samsung Pay, Android Pay aims at digital payments, by fixing what Google Wallet failed. Some think that the new service is even stronger than its Apple counterpart and with more than one billion active Android users, it will help boost the use of mobile payments overall. Will we finally live in a world without checkout queues?
New Google Glass
Google Glass was shut down abruptly a few months ago. Does it mean Google retreated from the idea of having an always-on screen presenting contextual information? Some sources suggest otherwise. The new, enterprise-focused Glass device could finally be the breakthrough in many professional areas where access to relevant information, especially in the field, is crucial in performing tasks.
First Android Auto car
The 2016 model of Honda Accord will be the first car equipped with Google’s smart car system, Android Auto. Along with Apple’s CarPlay and Honda’s own software called Honda Sensing, this can serve as a litmus test for the idea of having a smartphone glued inside a car.
Cool new devices
Google aside, there’s a lot of manufacturers that build their solutions on top of Android. Self-healing back covers, curved or e-ink screens, front flash for better selfies – time will tell what the next big thing in the world of consumer technology is.
Do you want to further explore any of these technologies? Are you interested in how they can be leveraged in your mobile solution? We’re here to help. Contact us for more information.