Couldn’t make it to the Google I/O 2016 conference? Not everyone I able to go there, even though they are interested in Google and Android news. We have checked through all the announcements and present you with the highlights from this year’s event.
Not exactly news but still relevant and wished for. Project Ara is a development project with the objective to offer a modular smartphone to Android OS users. The prototype devices of the Project Ara have been cutely nicknamed the “Chocolate Smartphone” due to its resemblance of a chocolate bar with little block to break off.
The advantage of modular smartphones will be for the users to upgrade particular hardware aspects of their phone whenever they want to, rather than just buying an entirely new phone at some point. Considering the environment this will ultimately also lead to less electronic waste in the future if the project is successful.
This one might be Google’s response to VR solutions like the ones from Facebook’s Oculus. Daydream is a platform for virtual reality and might include not only VR headsets but also other controllers and might even turn devices into a “Daydream-Ready” state. Maybe the Google Cardboard wasn’t a bad pilot for something like that. The solution is built on Android N, which will feature a mode to tap deeper into virtual reality.
Not your new dance companion app, but a project focused on augmented reality. It uses computer-vision technology in in order to detect a device’s position relative to the world around them, without tapping into a GPS signal or anything similar. A possible solution that could be offered with such a technology is indoor navigation and measuring physical spaces. The project is led by computer scientist Johnny Lee, who was also a core contributor to Microsoft’s Kinect.
Android Wear 2.0
If you’re an Android Wear user, you might enjoy this fresh can of update for your wearable. It has been about two years now since Android Wear was released and even though there were some updates on the way, we are looking forward to see what version two will bring. The updates will bring new features such as allowing you to use the device better in stand-alone mode and there will be a tiny soft-keyboard to enter rudimentary replies to messages. Currently it is not clear whether or not this will require new hardware to run or not.
This is not entirely new space for Google, but it’s a new approach. The Amazon smart assistant was the first of its kind to combine a Bluetooth speaker and an artificial assistant. Now Google tries to attack and releases the Google Home solution, which tries to tie smart home features together with what you already know from your Google app on mobile devices. I’m interested in seeing where this goes but we are also yet to see such a movement from IBM’s Watson and Microsoft’s Cortana. Let’s see who will push it next.
Labelled as a “smart messaging app” I personally fail to see the relevance in this product. In a time when people are more and more concerned about their digital (and real) privacy, it might be not the best move to go all-in on a solution, like Allo, that tries to assess your communication and try to help you achieve a better user experience. Other than that, there are some improvements on using emojis. Feel free to check into this, but better / bigger emojis don’t do it for me.
If you don’t like Skype, you can have a look at new video conferencing solution Duo. It’s basically a solution to enable endpoints to establish video connections to each other and not only talk over voice but also see each other. The one feature that was innovative here was the Knock Knock, which lets you see a little snippet of video from the caller even before you pick up. It’s not a must-have feature but it might turn out to be a new standard.
Check out the video below to watch the whole keynote presented by Sundar Pichai:
YouTube: Google I/O 2016 – Keynote
Photo credit: Bruce Washburn / Google