Google I/O ’22 (streamed live from Googleplex in Mountain View, Calif. early morning Thursday, May 12, 2022, Manila time) gave us a look at how the search giant envisions a multi-device world capitalizing on Android 13.
With over a billion Android phones activated in 2021, it is now the most popular operating system in the world. And while the phone is still the most popular form of computing, people are increasingly adding connected technologies to their lives like TVs, cars, watches, and more.
“Even though these (Android) devices come from different manufacturers, people expect everything to work together without the hassle. Android has always been about people choosing the technology that’s right for them. In a multi-device world , this openness is more critical to creating the best customer experience,” according to Sameer Samat, VP of Product Management for Android and Google Play.
Telephone in the center
Android 13 is built using the Material You design language, allowing phones to adapt to the styles of their users. Application icons can now incorporate color themes as well as a new media control that adapts its appearance to the music the user is listening to. For multilingual smartphone users, this latest version of Android allows you to choose your preferred language per app.
Samat emphasized that security goes beyond the device by listing some of the new features in Android 13 related to security and privacy. He shared that there are currently around 500 million monthly active users with RCS (Rich Communication Services) – something Google is working on with carriers and OEMs around the world – and calls other systems of mobile operations to upgrade to the next-generation SMS platform. to make sure messages are private no matter what device you’re using.
Beyond the phone
“Can my phone replace my wallet? That’s the question Samat asks when he introduces the new Google Wallet, a digital wallet for Android that gives users quick and secure access to their daily essentials. More than just a financial app, Google Wallet lets you store debit/credit cards, ID cards, show tickets, and even vaccination cards on your device. In parts of the United States, Google Wallet users will soon be able to store their digital driver’s license, office badges, and even hotel keys on their smartphones, eliminating the need to physically show their ID or credit cards. NFC access; just press the NFC button or display a QR code if needed. (Personal note: I wonder when Google will finally bring Google Wallet/Pay to the Philippines.)
Later this year, Wear OS devices will have emergency SOS features so users can immediately contact a trusted friend or family member, or call emergency services directly from their watch. Google has shared that there are now more than three times as many Wear OS devices active as there were last year, thanks to the launch of their unified platform with Samsung in 2021. And for the first time ever, Google Assistant is coming on Samsung Galaxy watches (coming soon with the Watch4 series).
Expect the commercial availability of more Wear OS devices from Samsung, Fossil Group, Montblanc, Mobvoi and other brands in the coming months. The recent Google event showed how the Google Assistant experience for Wear OS has been improved with faster and more natural voice interactions, making it more useful for voice-activated navigation or setting reminders.
This year’s Google I/O revealed updates to the tablet version of popular Google apps such as YouTube Music, Google Maps, Messages and Google Play, maximizing the screen of these devices to provide a better user experience.
The whole point of adding more devices to your life is to make it easier, richer, and more convenient – as they say. I should agree, but these things are only achieved when everything is working seamlessly.
Devices with Chromecast built-in let you watch videos, listen to music, and more. Google is working to expand casting capabilities with its new partners and products (like Chromebooks and even cars) to make it easier for your connected devices to communicate and collaborate.
Soon we will be able to copy a website URL or an image from our Android phones and paste it on our Android tablets, in addition to extending Phone Hub on Chromebooks to allow access to phone messaging apps.
The announcements and products featured in this edition of Google I/O really take us to the next level of a multi-device world.
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