For two days in June (June 25-26, 2014), San Francisco hosts Google’s (GOOG) largest developer conference of the year, Google I/O. This is where Google unveils its newest technology and developer tools. Today, Google started the festivities with a 2.5-hour keynote address. Here are the highlights and possible game-changing technologies that Google plans to release in the coming months.
Google began by addressing a trend that has gained traction over the past year: wearable technology. Google entered this market last year when it began public testing for Google Glass. Today, Google expanded its wearable focus by introducing a new software platform known as Android Wear – an operating system that companies such as LG and Samsung can use to program their smart watches. During the keynote, presenters used an LG watch to demo tasks such as sending texts, ordering pizza, and even controlling television. Which brings me to Google’s next announcement: Android TV.
Android TV will automatically sync your TV and Android devices. Android TV will be pre-installed on TVs from producers such as Sony, Sharp, and Phillips. The Android TV operating system will allow users to issue voice commands to search for movies by title, actors, and awards. The service will also include gaming integration, which will enable customers to use their Android tablets as video game controllers. This system, when paired with Chromecast, will provide a coordinated experience between computers, smartphones, tablets, and televisions.
The last consumer-oriented service announced by Google was Android Auto. Many people constantly endanger themselves, and others, by using their phones while driving. Google aims to solve this problem via Android Auto, which will display any Android phone interface on the navigation screens of supported cars. Operated by steering wheel controls, this Android Auto system will allow drivers to access their contacts, messages, and maps without removing their hands from the steering wheel; hopefully, this improves overall road safety.
Given Google’s expansive new product portfolio, investors ought to be impressed. However, out of all the outlined products and services, the most promising development is Android Wear. Wearable technology is clearly the next big trend for the B2C tech market. Google’s Android Wear streamlines the programming process for wearable technology and improves the underlying capabilities of wearable Android devices. Not having to design an operating system means that companies like Samsung, LG, and Motorola can focus on R&D and hardware improvements. Already, designs like the LG G and Moto 360 appear far superior to the Samsung Gear line (Samsung’s original smart watch device).
In short, Google released different hardware and software advancements, all focused on transforming the IoE concept into reality. Android Wear, Android TV, and Android Auto all reflect the tech industry’s strategy to further intertwine humans and infrastructure (hopefully to make our lives easier and safer). From a business perspective, today’s conference further cements Google’s position as the world’s leading software developer and service provider.