At Google’s I/O event today, the company officially unveiled the next major version of Android, which appears to possibly ditch the dessert themed naming in favor of just going with “Android L”. L has a brand new runtime engine from Dalvik to ART, updating the oldest part of the operating system, it’s got a new design that borrows the flat, colorful elements of Google Now and Google has opened up over 5000 APIs to developers, which puts Android and its developers in line to start creating devices for wearables, smart car and smart home devices.
For Android modders, if you want to get all down and dirty inside your phone with CyanogenMod, it requires all that rooting and wiping the stock OS and so many steps. But the OnePlus One, from startup OnePlus, created from former employees of Oppo, a Chinese phone maker, comes with CM Android already built in, so you don’t have to lift a finger to get all the fun bells and whistles.
Google officially announces their leap into the wearables world with Android Wear, the new OS designed to provide contextual information in the smartwatch form factor. The article has a couple videos showing proof of concept, but regardless, it couldn’t possibly be worse than the Galaxy Gear Samsung unveiled last year.
While it’s not official, it looks likely that Amazon will be branching out its Android hardware offerings with this uninspiring OnLive-like gaming controller. The controller would connect to an Amazon game box, probably some kind of teeny thing like a Chromecast stick or an Apple TV.
Ever since day one of Apple, Steve Wozniak was very much at odds with how Steve Jobs wanted to run the company. Wozniak was all about free and open source, Jobs was about design and marketing and making money. So a couple times a year, Woz makes some comment that completely goes against what Apple is all about now, so it’s not surprising when he recently commented that Apple would be smart to make varieties of iPhone with Android. The problem with that is that Android is becoming less and less open source every day, with only the most basic OS framework as part of the current version, and that’s all mostly from 1.0 or 2.0, everything else is slowly being rolled into the Google Play powered closed-source you-gotta-pay-to-put-it-on-your-phones chunk of code. The future is quickly turning into whose ecosystem you’re buying into and Google’s not giving that away for free.
Motorola hasn’t really set the world on fire since it was acquired by Google a few years ago. Yeah, the Moto X is a pretty damn good Android phone, but it’s not a game changer. But with Ara, they haven’t just launched a single smartphone, but an entire open hardware smartphone platform that very well could set the world on fire, by opening up smartphone development in the way that Android did and on the same grand scale.
Right now when you get a new smartphone, you have to choose between the best camera, best processor, screen size and resolution, battery life, etc etc. But with the Ara platform, you’ll be able to upgrade your smartphone bit by bit cheaply and easily just like you can with a PC. Swap out the camera, swap out the battery, swap out a screen, swap out the processor just as easy as popping together pieces of Lego.
Even though a very thorough repair manual for the Nexus 5 leaked last week, so we know every bit of technical information, until a few days ago, we hadn’t seen the phone itself or the price. Thanks to some butter-fingered person behind the Google Play store, images of the Nexus 5 have hit the web, including a small home screen look at Android KitKat and a price of $349.
Oh, you didn’t think the dreams of easy entry into the game console market was going to stop with the Ouya did you? Now Mad Catz wants a piece of the action with the Mad Catz MOJO, a sleek little black and blue Android powered console that lets you play your Android games and listen to your Google Play music through your TV. You or your grandmother will be able to snag one of these December 10 for $250.
Today Google went all crazy on some product and software updates. In addition to the Chromecast, Google also announced a brand new Nexus 7 that is thinner and sports an HD screen. And they announced Android 4.3, which is already available for all Nexus devices.
There’s already a fairly popular Android based game console, the Ouya, and there are dozens of Android based smart watches, but with expectations that Apple will be releasing its own smart watch and hopefully loading up the Apple TV with games and apps, Google isn’t about to miss out on the action. Rumor has it that they’re working on their own first party Android game console and smart watch.
Now that Microsoft has established its own mobile platform, you might think they might try and leverage their strong library of first party games, but it looks like they’re first going to be converting games like Age of Empires to iOS and Android. But considering the piss poor share of Windows Mobile on mobile devices (note that the fucking Blackberry Playbook has the same number of users as the Microsoft Surface), it’s probably just good business sense to start with Apple and Android first.
Android is in your phone and in your tablet, but what about on your desktop? Taking up the market space that was supposed to have been occupied by Linux— a desktop computer at a lower cost by using an open source OS— here is the HP Slate 21, a 21 inch desktop/tablet hybrid with Android built in.
The Slate 21 was just announced this morning in Beijing, so there aren’t a whole lot of details yet available. It’s a 21.5-inch, 1920×1080 kickstand-toting all-in-one equipped with Nvidia’s Tegra 4 SoC and running Android 4.2.2, and that’s all we’ve got for now.
If you like the Samsung Galaxy S4, but you’d rather have a native Android experience, if you want all the Samsung UI stripped away, if you want a pure Android device that gets Android updates when they happen and not when the manufacturer can fit it into their schedule, Google announced yesterday that they’ll be selling a pure Android version of the S4 on Google Play.
If you want one, it’s $650, because it’s unlocked, not on contract and not tied to any carrier, but if this is what you’ve been dreaming of, it might be worth it.