Google I/O 2014 – What to expect

By Channel Mobile
i_o_2014-700x250

The Google I/O 2014 is fast approaching, and we’ve been keeping a close watch on what people are expecting at this years conference. Whether you are attending the event or not, the official I/O app is your co-pilot to navigate through the conference.

Google have certainly come a very long way, they are much more than the online search giant that they used to be! They’ve got their hands in a number of businesses including; social networking, mobile, wearables, and most recently self-driving cars.

The theme at this years I/O is, “design, develop, and distribute.”

We’re going to take a brief look into a some of the things we’re likely to see at the I/O, and then move on to some thoughts from our Head of Mobile Matthew – was an iOS user, left and went to Android, following Apple’s WWDC, it looks like he’s going back to iOS. 

Expectations For Google’s I/O 2014

Lollipop 5.0

So it’s 9 months after KitKat was released, and with the shockingly low install rate of 14% we’re hopeful that Lollipop will create more of a buzz for Android users, leading to higher install rates. This is supposed to be a significant new update to the mobile OS. Why? Because it is expected to be the first major integration of the Android and Chrome operating systems.

Based on previous OS updates, it seems that the timing is right. Android updates happen every five to eight months – Ice Cream Sandwich was released eight months after Honeycomb, and Jelly Bean 4.1 was released eight months after ICS. Between Jelly Bean 4.2, 4.3 and KitKat 4.4 the average was five months.

Nexus 10

As we’ve seen before, Google like to introduce to Android updates with new hardware. If Google want to continue to compete with Apple’s redesigned 9.7 inch iPad Air, then they’re going to need to release a new tablet.

It is unlikely that this will be produced by Samsung though, as they are set to do their own thing by releasing an updated Galaxy Tab.

It’s Time

This year amongst all of the rumours, and focus on smartwatches we are expecting to see smart watches powered by Google’s Android Wear platform at the conference.

The extremely fashionable Motorola circular Moto 360 is due for its first appearing on stage at Google I/O. It’s expected the feature a wireless charging, and a price tag of around $249 (approx £146, AU$265).

Google Fit

Fitness has become a substantial market, and at WWDC Apple released their plans for HealthKit. It would only seem right for Google to be on par with Apple, and launch something in this space too.

According to Forbes, Google Fit will “collect and aggregate data from popular fitness trackers and health-related apps.”, the platform will offer developers an open API.

It’s not just Apple and Google focusing on the health and fitness space Samsung announced their platform too, the Samsung Architecture for Mutlimodal Interactions (SAMI).

Developers Insight

So, as mentioned above, from iOS to Android, and soon to be iOS again… Matthew discusses his experience with Android, and compares with iOS.

I’ve used an Android device as my personal phone for the past 18 months. What started as an experiment to really experience what Android had to offer, quickly turned me into someone extolling the benefits of a more open Operating System.

Being an iOS and Android developer gives me a great opportunity to really understand both systems. Whilst an Android 4.0+ app provides a nice looking user interface it requires a lot more work to bring the user experience up to the level of a comparable iOS app. At least a user experience which works as designed for all the different device characteristics that you will find in the top 10 best selling services of the moment.

Straight forward things, such as having an app bigger than 50MB or providing in-app purchases ask require more work than they do on iOS. Even just adding a map to your app requires more hoops to be jumped through.

What I would like from Google I/O 2014 is a rationalisation of what a developer has to do on order to put together an app. You shouldn’t be required to write significantly more code than you do on iOS.

With WWDC Apple announced the successor to Objective-C. Google should announce support for most of what makes Java 8 more concise readable and functional than Java 6/7.

Apple raised their game significantly earlier this month – can Google do the same?