The conference season continued last week and, not to be out done by Apple, Google outlayed their upcoming plans with their I/O conference.
Along the lines of Apples WWDC, this conference lets developers and the Media know what the company plans to release in the upcoming months. Again, like Apple, Google didn’t disappoint with some pretty great and typically innovative ideas.
Here are five things that I personally am looking forward to:
1. Google Cardboard
Google always seems to innovate with Chrome Experiments, and Cardboard is no different.
Cardboard is partly what it says it is – cardboard. But its goal is to turn your smartphone into a virtual reality headset. You can basically construct a VR headset, with Google’s own instructions, and turn your smartphone into a VR headset using some specially written apps.
This will no doubt lead to some pretty innovative web apps, and probably some very weird looking people!
2. Android wear
As covered by MCA a few months back, wearable tech is going to come more mainstream within the next couple of years.
Google pioneered this with Google Glass a couple of years back, but now they have moved into a more affordable, but more competitive market with their Android watch.
This will compete with the Samsung Galaxy Gear, Pebble and the rumoured iWatch from Apple, but with the history of innovation that Google has, this will no doubt be one to watch.
3. Google Fit
Again, the tech industry appears to have been listening a lot to MCA recently!
After we recommended five sport and fitness apps for your smartphone, Apple announced that they would be integrating fitness tracking into iOS8.
Now, Google look to be doing the same with Android, and are introducing Google Fit. With Google Fit, the emphasis isn’t so much on integrating fitness tracking into your phones operating system, but its more about allowing your current fitness apps talk to eachother.
With the developer API that Google is creating, your calorie counter app could talk to your exercise app and adjust your workout routine based on the calories you’ve consumed. It could even be possible for results of your workout to be published to a Google doc for your own records. Again, there are huge possibilities here, and with companies such as Nike and Adidas already signed up, the future looks promising
4. Android TV
One thing that is apparent from this years keynote is that Google is no longer confined to a desktop search engine.
Along with Google Glass, Google Wear, Nest and other physical products, Google announced Android TV at the conference.
Google already moved into the TV market over the last 12 months by introducing the Chromecast, and had previously failed with Google TV, but with Android TV Google is making a real push into home entertainment.
The system offers everything you would expect from a current TV entertainment center – catch-up TV, online streaming etc., but with the power of Android behind it, users can download apps from Google Play.
Integration with current Android devices means that media can be streamed from device to tv, and voice search can bring up recommendations for movies simply by asking your TV a question.
As with other Google platforms, a developer API has been created, so we could see some pretty innovative stuff coming to a TV screen near you
5. Android L
Finally, the I/O conference could not be complete without a mention of the next iteration of the Android operating system.
Currently nicknamed Android L, this has been claimed to be one of the biggest Android updates yet. One major change is in the look and feel of the platform.
Using ‘material design’, Google has unified the way the OS will look all the way from smartphone to TV, with a flat design, but utilising real-world effects such as ripples etc. Locking your phone can be location aware (so if you’re home your phone will auto-unlock), notifications will be prioritised based on what you use the most, and integration between apps and devices will be a pivotal part of the new platform.
So, over the last couple of weeks, with I/O and WWDC, we have seen some really innovative ideas from the two major smartphone companies, some similar, some not. The question is, this time next year, who will have come out on top?