On June 25th, Google invited the world to its keynote conference, Google IO, to lift the lid on a number of things it's been working on for the past year. We were all excited at the prospect of a new OS among other news, but Google gave us far more than we could have ever asked for at the event. So what did we learn at IO?
A new OS
Google's worst-kept secret ahead of IO was that it was going to be revealing its new operating system Android L, with key people from within the company having revealed ahead of the event that it was going to be looking at ways to make the release of the software on other devices not made by Google more smooth.
At the show, we learned that Android L will be released in the next few months, with a number of new features to come from it. The company has said that it will come with a brand new interface which looks vastly different to what we've seen before.
The 'material' update will also have a number of other feature changes, including a notification system which looks tiled and pretty slick against its rather tired list form notifications in current versions. Pop-up notifications will also be a possibility moving forward – allowing users to see what is happening when they are playing games or using other apps.
Other exciting features include the rumoured Project Volta, modifications to the code which may increase battery life by up to 90 minutes, and a new personal locking mechanism that bypasses the need for a PIN if the phone is sure the owner is using it – sounds futuristic!
And another one!
Ok, so we were somewhat spoiled at IO – we got not one new operating system, but two, as Google unveiled Android One, a new OS that is specifically built for the lower end of the smartphone market and budget phones.
It allows for apps and codes to be created in a way that they are optimised for cheaper phones, which will be a big plus for manufacturers, given that they have all started to roll out a lower priced range in the last few months.
The move, Google said, will allow it to target the billions of people still not using smartphones by looking specifically to release handsets for the emerging markets worldwide.
Another big change from Google has been the move from just standard smartphones into wearable technology. This is a particularly well timed announcement because it comes ahead of the predicted release of Apple's iWatch later this year.
At IO, Google showed off LG’s G Watch, Samsung Gear Live, and Moto 360 models, which are all running its software. These devices are all for sale already on the Google Play store, giving the company a near three-month head start on Apple.
It's all part of what Google calls the shift to a multiscreen world.
“Users increasingly are living in a multiscreen world. You are using the TV, wearing things on your body and when you get in your car, you expect the same experience,” he told the 6,000-strong audience,” said Sundar Pichai, Google's senior vice president.
“We want to know where you are, and we want to be voice enabled. It shouldn't matter which device you are using, we should pick up where you left off.”