Google I/O 2014

Android is getting more than a face-lift, and I think we're all going to love it

I love being able to go to Google I/O each year. It's a perk that shines like a diamond amongst all the headache and stress that comes with every job, and a highlight of every year. Going to I/O not only sends us home as better Android bloggers, but on a personal level it gets me excited to see and talk with all the developers — both big names and independents — that will make the future of mobile and Android in particular even better. After this year, I know we're all going to be amazed at what's in store.

The keynote (as always) was incredible and seeing the new devices was exciting, but that was just the frosting on the cake. The real delight was seen in the individual developer sessions, especially (to me, anyway) the new Material Design-focused meetings. Be sure to watch the replays on the Google Developer YouTube channel to see all the whys and hows, but I want to talk about what the videos won't show you — the passion in the audience.

Developer session

Every session I attended was pretty much a standing-room-only affair. In a room packed with hundreds of Android developers, the excitement of it all is something you can actually feel. People rush in as soon as the doors are open to get a good seat, and the happy chatter is a mix of how great the last session was, or how cool our new app will be using what we are learning. The air is alive with good vibes and positive energy. People (myself included) are delighted to be there and receptive to everything they're seeing and learning. It's deep, and if you're a fan of technology it touches you. It's hard to describe without sounding a little new-age and spiritual. Being there in the middle of it all is like a technology Nirvana where your sense of self is incorporated into something bigger. And when the lights dim and the presenters start to teach, the room turns into a giant collective sponge.

These are the people who are going to bring you the new Android. And it's going to be incredible.

Being in the middle of it all is like a technology Nirvana.

Android has always been one of the most powerful operating systems available. From the beginning, the people behind the project have treated data as data, knowing that sharing said data in a safe way makes an experience that no other mobile OS could offer. Android acts more like the operating system on your desktop or laptop than one on your old smartphone. This is where Android excels, and what allows something like Google Now to happen. I'm not sure when the idea of Google Now was born, but I do know that only Google and Android could have made it happen.

As Android matured, things became even better with the way information was used. There are valid privacy concerns with what Google is doing with all the data it collects about you (though for the most part the process seems benign and transparent) and it's understandable that some folks don't want to be a part of it all. By now, hopefully those people have realized that Android is not for them and have found something more suitable that makes them happy — there are other great options to explore. There will be new privacy concerns as new ideas come out of Mountain View, and we'll all have to deal with them as they arise. But for those of us who are OK with the way Google reads us and what they offer in return, Android keeps getting better and more powerful. Telling me how long it takes to get to my favorite watering hole simply because it's Friday night is an example. So is telling me that my flight is on time and that I need to be at the gate by 9:20. Other companies see the value in this and are working on their own ways to become part of your life, and the competition is going to get even more fierce. This is a good thing. It makes more people more satisfied, and forces all the companies to step up and do things better. And that's what Google is doing with the next version of Android — making it better.

Material Design

The "new" Android will offer all the same things the old Android does, but in more places and with a common design. This has been Android's weak point since the beginning. Froyo was a hint that the developers knew that it takes more than powerful underpinnings to make a world-class operating system. The changes under the hood to Dalvik that presented things to the user faster and smoother were game-changers for Android, and shows that someone in charge knew where we had to be in the future. With Ice Cream Sandwich, we saw that Google knew that a better designed way to present this to the user was important. With the L release, we're going to see how the new Android takes all of this and makes it beautiful.

The Material Design philosophy is the culmination of every bit of work that has went into Android design in the past. We've seen the changing previews in the last year in apps like Gmail and Google+, and as they have evolved we get closer and closer to a common design language that not only works on all the screens in your life, but works really well. Cards, and colors, and animations are coming together to build something that works on any device, with any scheme for physical controls, and at any size. And this isn't just a guess. We can see it in action on the Android Wear devices and the Android TV devices that Google handed out the the developers that soaked in all of this in the developer sessions. Things are never final, but we have the framework for the future in our hands and on our wrists. And it works.

Material Design

The Material Design philosophy is a culmination of Android's past

Google is also prepping the tools that all these developers need to make their apps fit right in to this common design with Android Studio, and it's easy to see they are serious about wanting developers to be able to get it right. The cheers that erupted at every bullet point in the sessions about the new Android development tools were because Google is providing ways to make development more about the content, and less work at the design. In the past, developers had to spend too much time drawing layouts and a user interface. This was time taken away from sorting out algorithms and brilliant ways to deliver application content, which increases development costs and commitment. The new tools not only make development easier, but also make following Google's strict guidelines easier. Not everyone will follow these guidelines, and we will always love Google's open way of allowing developers to design and distribute their apps through Google Play, but more developers will follow them now that they are easier to implement, and that means we all have more and more apps that look like they belong. It means a big design change for most app developers — ourselves included — and it won't happen overnight. But it will happen, and apps that carry the same feeling as the rest of Android will rise to the top of Google Play. Once you use an app that's the same on all of your screens you won't want to go back.

It's not just me who sees this, either. I spent a good bit of time talking to developers at Google I/O, and the feeling amongst them all was the same. These new tools and the new features are going to have a major impact on the way we use our devices and the apps that run on them. Developers from Samsung and LG were excited about how they can incorporate all of the new features and layouts into their own versions of Android and their applications. Smaller development houses and independent developers were ecstatic with the new Android Studio and how it will help development times and costs, as well as the way they can compete with the big names using a beautiful new design language. The guys hard at work behind some of the big names in mobile apps already have ideas how to use the new features in innovative ways to make the apps we all already use even better. these are the people that will make the "new" Android the best Android. Jean-Baptiste Quéru, a former Googler who's now at Yahoo!, described it to me as the third generation of Android, where the foundation can be used across multiple devices in a consistent way. He's excited about what Yahoo! and everyone else can do with everything we have seen at Google I/O this year. And so am I.

Android One

There's one more piece of the puzzle we can't forget, and that's Android One. All the above is for naught if there is no way to get devices into the hands of the people that want and need them. While Android One may be a method to get the next billion connected, it also offers a consistent experience overseen by Google themselves while doing so. Devices that run Google's software well, like the Moto G or Moto E, will no longer be an outlier. This, in turn, will help the big names in device manufacturing improve their entry-level experience and sluggish cheap phones that ran poorly will become a thing of the past as users choose the better option. Everyone deserves a top-notch experience on their smartphone, and I believe we're all about to get one — at every price point.

Everything we saw and learned at Google I/O was to build the future. A lot of it will change and iterate, and there will be snags along the way, but the new Android is going to be a wonderful thing.

 
There are 90 comments

Qbancelli says:

Amen!

FortTech101 says:

+1

NexusLogic - Working on his Nexus 7 in the Nexus Lab

STiK says:

Installed the preview and was very impressed with what they are working on.. Unfortunately it's a bit too buggy for me to use daily... Looking forward to release :)

bleached says:

Yeah, it is a little buggy and much different. Takes a bit to get used to. Hopefully they will update it regularly.

Posted via Android Central App

thatguy97 says:

This will be the new Android to carry us into the next decade I think

Posted from my Nexus 7 2013 running Android L or Samsung galaxy S5

tayswg20 says:

While I agree with you that this new version looks pretty awesome. I think "decade" is going a little too far. While innovation has slowed, we've (Android) come a long way in the last 5 years. If Android stayed the same for the next five, I'd be pretty bummed.

Posted via Android Central App

I dunno. I'd like them to mature into a design philosophy that sticks around for a long while so they can focus on making the tech do new and rad things. The L Release looks to be just that. Sure there might be small tweaks to it down the road, but I think we've seen the last of sweeping changes in design for a while. And that's a good thing.

Quasar says:

Once they get Android to a place like L where they are unified over all devices, it would be good to see fewer Android updates I think. The less they have to update the OS and the more they can update features to all phones through Google Play Services, the more people we will see on the same version of Android and the less we will hear about fragmentation. It will be interesting to see if and how companies incorporate the new look of Android L and its apps into their custom UIs.

Agreed. It would be great if we could get to place where the majority of our new feature releases came through the play store and actual OS releases were nothing but bug fixes and new APIs that allow devs to push MORE awesome features through the Play Store.

Impulses says:

Meh, when Widows got to that place innovation on the desktop stagnated big time... UIs are always gonna evolve IMO. Even if this new Material Design UX turns into something that's usable across all kinds of devices for the next 5 years, who knows where we'll be in 10 or 15. Will we be toting new VR/wearable stuff like Glass or Occulus Rift? Or maybe all those foldable/rollable displays are finally a reality and they force another UI paradigm shift. Who knows, but something will happen eventually that'll do it.

It's ludicrous to claim that the culmination of a software skin means that a system will stagnate. Windows' history of highs and lows from release to release indicate that they didn't stagnate at all. Their overall UI didn't change for years because it didn't want to alienate the billions of users. That didn't mean that they weren't always trying new things from iteration to iteration sometimes with success, sometimes with failure. Linux Distros and Mac OS found UI designs that have been in use for over 10 years and have still innovated within those systems. There's no grand difference in UI design between Glass, Android Wear, and L release. It's all card based. From one form factor to another the only difference is screen size and how things are laid out. And that's exactly what L's biggest draw is IMO. One UI that takes into account various form factors and adjusts accordingly.

Damn Jerry, excellent write up!

With your experience on both sides, not only being a passionate user and a developer, this years I/O had to be extra special for you to attend.

I know the "It's a great time to be a techie" cliche gets played out time after time, but 2014 feels so much different than years past. With everything Google has coming up and with the great things happening in Redmond, 2014 is going to be an expensive year for consumers.

Too many great devices and services to purchase.

Jacques says:

Ain't that the truth. :-) With wearables increasingly getting more press (and converts), great hardware and software on the horizon, it's an exciting time to be a developer, IMO!

droidman2177 says:

I always enjoy Jerry's insight. Thanks for the great write-up, bro!

TomRubin says:

Great article Jerry!

Posted via Android Central App

Wendy Tanner says:

Beautiful writing

Posted via Android Central App

S_C_B says:

Nice article.

Initially, I'm not in love with Android L. I'm sure I'll come to love it over time. The question is, will developers get on-board in a timely fashion? Google promised to do better with their apps, so we'll see.

Posted via Android Central App

GIkari says:

"Will developers get on-board in a timely fashion."

If they don't, someone else will. When they were transitioning to HOLO, many apps lagged to conform to the new design language. They got replaced on my phone with apps that followed the new guidelines on my device pretty quickly. I am pretty sure I was not the only one.

If you have been on the fence about diving into app creation on Android, now is the perfect time to jump in.

Posted from my Nexus 5

21plays says:

+1

Posted via Android Central App

Dizfunctions says:

I think Google had those same questions and that's why they released these tools earlier than previous years. It's a huge design overhaul and it's going to take some time for developers to incorporate of these changes into their apps.

Posted via Android Central App

TenshiNo says:

Historically, there has also always been the question of which apps were "broken" the day after a new version of Android came out. At least this way Google is letting the devs test their apps against the new version before it hits the general public, which should help a lot on that front.

wickets says:

Thanks for the great read

dsignori says:

Great job Jerry, thanks !

Dizfunctions says:

Fantastic read! Thank you for your insightful article!

Posted via Android Central App

Zedd says:

I hope L is way better than kitkat. I will never forgive all the hype for it.
Keylime pie this, Keylime pie that. Then it's a big surprise is not Keylime pie, it's kitkat, so cool... NOT!!
KitKat was to be so great and plain and simple its not, what it did was piss people off. Sure, we are all getting use to it but compared to its hype kitkat/Keylime pie sucks, and what choices were we given?
Is L another misdirection and a way to hype yet another home brewed mod that's going to suck? I guess time will tell, and we are going to have it rammed down our throats anyway so it is not going to matter if we like it or not. It may give many the push they need to drink the apple coolade I'm afraid.

Posted via Android Central App on my Galaxy S4

21plays says:

Unless you use a nexus, I doubt you'll see much change.

Posted via Android Central App

droidhead_1 says:

Go get an IPhone and stop your whining, no one is force feeding you! I like the change and choice Android gives me. Apple looks better cause of fan hype on previous release?! You make my puke...
Douche..

Posted via Android Central App

Um KitKat is a fantastic smooth experience. So idk wtf you are taking about.

ಠ益ಠ

minnow4 says:

+1

Posted via my sixth Sense HTC M8

TenshiNo says:

+1

Howard Sylve says:

Interesting.. Oh and bud it's koolaid..

Posted via Android Central App

newboyx says:

Huh? You run TouchWiz. It is not Google fault that Samsung screwed it up.

Posted via Android Central App

brendilon says:

This. TW is bloated crap, no wonder he's miserable.

Posted via Android Central App

Oh it is. It is indeed. Can't stand it.

Posted via Android Central App

law2010 says:

Hold on. You are using a Galaxy S4. Maybe if you dig real deep into that phone and move all of the TouchWiz garbage out of the way, you will find KitKat.

You should throw that phone in the trash. It is nothing like Android from a pure perspective. When I use my wife's S4 for a couple of minutes, I get hives because TouchWiz is such a cluttered mess.

Yuck.

Grab a Nexus 5 or an HTC One M8 Google Play Edition and you will probably sing a different tune.

Posted via Android Central App

Dude. Kitkat was a point release. And FYI: usually any and all improvements of variations of Android over time are lost by the time Samsung gets done with them. Ditch TW for ANYTHING else.

Signed,

A former GS3 user.

itguy14 says:

Amen!

What they need to do is work on getting the cluttered mess that KitKat is now together! The BS with SD cards is crazy. It still requires frequent reboots (at least on my S5), still lags at times, and while it is cool it's customizable by iPhones were 100x more reliable.

Android has some good features going for it but it is in many ways like Windows - lots of features and low reliability.

Sorry if I hurt some fanboi's feelings but that's the way it is now. Oh, and "Pure Android" is a sucktastic experience too so don't use that excuse.

newboyx says:

Odd, my Nexus doesn't require reboots. Ever.

My AC App signature lacks a witty comment.

Impulses says:

Mine doesn't require reboots ever but I've had it reboot spontaneously about a dozen times over the last six months. Not a huge annoyance mind you, my HTC phones all did so on occasion as well... Opening close to a hundred tabs in Chrome seems to be the easiest way to make my Nexus 5's knees shake.

TenshiNo says:

Actually, statistically, iOS crashes more often that Android. Not being a "fanboi" just stating a fact.

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2455622,00.asp
http://bgr.com/2014/03/28/apple-android-app-stability/
http://www.technobuffalo.com/2014/03/27/android-kitkat-crashes-way-less-...

I could go on, but I think you get the idea.

These things are now little pocket computers and the more complex they get, the more likely they are to "crash" or have some kind of hiccup from time to time. It is, unfortunately, the nature of computers. Especially ones this powerful and small with no active cooling.

That said, if you're phone is requiring frequent reboots, then something is wrong with it. The good news is that Android provides you the ability to track down what is causing your problems. What is happening that you're having to reboot your phone? Maybe I can help.

itguy14 says:

Actually, that's the Apps not the OS. Not what I am talking about. I've had few issues with app crashes on either platform.

I'm talking a GS5 that will decide to not wake from sleep after 10-15 days. Or it will get so slow as to be unusable. Or having a Quad Core, 2.whatever Ghz CPU and sometimes it spits and studders worse than my iPhone 3G. If Samsung can't get it "right", it doesn't bode well for the platform.

Android has some great things going for it and that's why I use it. But it needs a TON of improvement in areas such as User Experience (it's a mess with figuring out what does what), Integration (again, a mess), and reliability. It's like Windows - tries to be everything to everyone and is barely mediocre at them all.

TenshiNo says:

"If Samsung can't get it "right", it doesn't bode well for the platform."

There are several problems with your premise, here. The first is that just because Samsung sells the most Android devices doesn't mean that they have the "best" version of Android. I have a Note 3 myself, and I love it, but it took a bit of tweaking to get it to where I was happy with this. The second problem is that what you're describing is not a normal experience.

Now, I'm not at all sure what you mean about the phone not wanted to "wake from sleep after 10-15 days". Assuming the device isn't plugged in that whole time, not waking up is likely because the battery is dead. If it is plugged in in some way, there is definitely something wrong with your device that I'm probably not going to be able to diagnose in a comment section.

As for it getting so slow you can't use it, there's a couple of possibilities. It could be something you've installed that "chewing" on the CPU and preventing other apps from working correctly. I have run across some badly written apps like this over the years. Assuming you still have an Android device, I recommend downloading System Panel from the Play Store. If you turn on the monitoring feature, it will show you when your CPU is being used in contrast to when the screen is on and when the charger is plugged in, with historical data going back up to 1 week. There's also a view that shows which apps have been using the most CPU power/battery over time.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=nextapp.systempanel.r1

I've used that in the past to track down "problem apps" that were causing battery drain or my phone to run slowly. I do tend to install a lot of apps at random because they look interesting.

As for the last part, about Android being "a mess". You're really assuming that your point of view is the only one valid, here. I don't find Android to be confusing in the slightest. To say that the experience is mediocre is incorrect. It's just not what you want out of a device, and that's ok. Personally, iOS does not meet my needs for a mobile OS, so no amount of pretty animations is going to make me want an iOS based device. As for integration, I'm watching my notifications popup on my desktop screen as I type this. And the only way to get "integration" with iOS is with other Apple products which are not an option for me, since I can't do my job on an Apple OS. (besides the fact that I don't care for how limiting their PC OS is as well). And we've already discussed reliability.

If you think Android has ways it could improve, that's cool. There are ways I think it could improve, too. But don't try to invent some straw-man argument. We actually know better here.

itguy14 says:

Thanks for the app recommendation - I'll check it out. I do think I may have solved the issue though - it may have been the MDM app we use at work (Afaria; it's garbage) that may explain some of the issues. I've also got this bug after many days (and it's an Android one):
http://forums.androidcentral.com/samsung-galaxy-s5/383395-galaxy-s5-andr...

As for the "refusing to wake from sleep" - it's this bug, pretty well documented on the GS5:
http://forums.androidcentral.com/samsung-galaxy-s5/384740-galaxy-s5-blac...
http://forums.androidcentral.com/samsung-galaxy-s5/403851-i-power-off-sc...

On mine it was happening after 10-15 days of uptime. I don't power off, reboot or any other things that mask instability. It does seem to have gotten better with the latest updates from Samsung.

And the argument about Android being a Mess is not a straw man - it's a valid argument. Let's take some typical uses of a smartphone. Note that this is from the GS5 perspective...

Photos:
Why do we have Photos and Gallery? They both do the some of the same things. It confuses the user. So much so that this very blog wrote an apology piece about it and explained which to use and when. WTF. Combine the features and ditch one of them.

Then there's the backup of them To Google+? Really? WTF - the 10 people that use Google + like it, the majority of us would probably get better value out of Google Drive for backups. Or Picassa.

Music:
So I have Google Play Music and Music. Which one plays what? Yup, I get Play Music is in the cloud and Music is local. Why not be like iOS and combine them and have a tab or whatever for the local vs remote. Or even combine the 2 so it's transparent! Again combine the features and ditch one of them.

E-Mail:
Again, WTF were they thinking? Gmail and a Very Poor POP/IMAP client. Combine them and ditch the one. I get Google wants you to use Gmail but some of us like our regular mail, thanks.

Internet:
Nice try but why do I have "Internet" and "Chrome"? Why? What is different and who thought that was a good idea.

Backup:
Sucks, no matter how you slice it. Compared to iOS. You have to re-download your apps. With iOS you get a new phone, restore from backup and you're done.

Disabling/Uninstalling Bloatware:
Getting better but I should be able to remove every app on the phone. Same goes for iOS.

Annoying "Open With":
Really? Why much I decide to open links in pretty much every app? Why not a systemwide setting that if I click on a link in Email, Gmail, etc it opens with Chrome. Why must I constantly be asked per app?

Updates:
Good luck with any OS updates.

There are a lot of good things about Android - customizability, variety of hardware, etc. but in the end it tries too hard to be everything to everyone and still falls short in the most basic ways. iOS is not better - it too falls short in many ways. The best mobile OS would borrow some from iOS, some from Android, and, yes some from Blackberry. Sadly that does not exist.

TenshiNo says:

I do agree with you about the photos and Internet thing. And I would also love to see the Mail and Gmail apps merged into a single app. Some of that is because of OEM's leaving the open source apps on there next to the Google Apps. Those aren't hugely major things, but valid. And I can't argue about the "bloat ware" but that is largely the carriers (not counting the Samsung apps). It's a nuisance at worst.

As for being asked every time you open an app, there is a global default. Just tap the app (if it's not already highlighted) and press "Always". Then it won't ask you anymore.

Backups, I couldn't care less about having to re-download. I will definitely take that over having to use iTunes. Talk about bloat ware. Sorry. I have a bad history and seething hatred of iTunes.

As for updates. I'm on the latest version of Android. Got updated a while back. Admittedly, full Android updated don't happen as seamlessly as on iOS, but it's the nature of the beast with Google not owning the software and hardware from top to bottom. Neither is it *nearly* as big of a deal as it's made out to be on some websites, some Google broke the core API's out into the Play Services libraries. Your average consumer doesn't know or care what version of Android they're running. I've met numerous people who have the older version on their device just because they didn't bother to update it.

You're certainly entitled to your opinion about Android's failing attempt to be "everything to everyone". I believe it really can be, but does require more investment (effort-wise) from the user to get there. It's a more complex OS than iOS, and so requires a bit more learning curve. I always warn people of that when they tell me that they're trying to decide between the two platforms. But I also tell them that, if they're willing to invest the time, they can get a lot more out of Android.

It all comes down to what is important to you and what you want out if a device. I will agree whole heartedly that there's still a number of things that Google, and the OEM's, need to work on. But I'm still going to enjoy what I do have in the meantime.

Best Editorial Ever. Sorry Phil, yours are good too!

Posted via Android Central App

Will this be enough when Apple releases a larger screen iPhone, opens up 3rd party keyboards, adds widgets & interactive notifications & other Android features? Especially since most Android users will likely not get the L update. And who knows what future skinned phones will look like anyway? Android Wear potentially could be blown out of the water immediately if Apple releases a watch that has a lot of fitness capabilities. The Android watches right now don't seem to prioritize that. Apple has hired top fitness & design executives, and the media always gives Apple a lot more publicity. The latter is really disappointing. Even this week on the eve of I/O with all these expected big announcements, Bloomberg West led with rumors (reported for mobths) of larger iPhones. Apples announcements are largely covered even by non tech media because all the media elite use Apple and ate proud to display their Macs & iPhones on air all the time. I bet you iPhone 6 will be shown on the Today set the day its announced. No Android watches though.

21plays says:

Been an iPhone user for 3 years, that was three years ago. switched to android and never looked back. I use an iPhone for testing purposes at work and I still laugh at the pathetic iOS

Posted via Android Central App

bez54 says:

I dropped Apple years ago for Android never looked back. I have a iPhone for work and I still prefer Android. Roll on the Google overloads and Android L.

Posted via Android Central App

Howard Sylve says:

Maybe not but it's certainly a step in the right direction.

Posted via Android Central App

brendilon says:

Dude.
Line breaks are your friend.

Posted via Android Central App

ryanmtech says:

+100

Posted via Android Central App

Impulses says:

So Apple's catching up on the software features and hardware variety side (when are they not?) and they might release a smartwatch while they continue to ignore the poor Apple TV... How does that pose a threat exactly?

Sounds like healthy competition to me but nothing ground breaking. Google's doing exactly what they should do, moving Android into more markets and expanding the ecosystem, which used to be Apple's strength.

Frankly at this point I think Apple just retains market share they have as long as they don't screw up (barring huge success in an innovative new product category we haven't even imagined)... Android is probably more at risk to lose market share from a dark horse like WP in the long run.

TenshiNo says:

"Android Wear potentially could be blown out of the water immediately if Apple releases a watch that has a lot of fitness capabilities."

Umm... no. First off, I feel pretty confident in saying that the iWatch (if it ever comes out) will be limited to iOS devices, which automatically limits its market appeal right out of the gate. While fitness has been a big trend over the past year, I don't believe that that single thing alone will make 500 million people jump ship from Android to iOS.

As for all the Apple coverage, you're right. It's the "reality distortion field" joke that gets thrown around. There are still a lot of people in high-profile positions (news anchors and such) who believe the hype that anything not Apple "sucks". Personally, I don't even think that iOS devices "suck", they just don't even remotely do what I expect my device to be able to do. That, and I despise iTunes with a fiery passion, but I digress. For some people, iOS is the better choice but I think Apple is going to run into the same problem they did with the Mac vs PC campaign that they used years ago: people who are intimidated by the new tech are going to get the device that's "easier to use" and then move up to a more sophisticated OS a few devices later. We're already seeing that. A lot.

If Apple comes out with an iWatch (which, I expect they will) it will be heralded as the best thing ever by the Apple cultists, and it will be regarded as a "nice" piece of tech by the rest of us. But at the end of the day, you're not (IMO) going to see a huge number of people "abandoning" Android in favor of iOS. Especially not just for a product that 3/4 of the world is still trying to figure out *why* they would even want one.

s2weden2000 says:

ePicness...

... ( 0ppo F5) ...

I was most excited about Romain Guy coming back to present. I always learn something really cool when that guy speaks

fiverings5 says:

Android L looks interesting. ..the problem is getting it into our phones in a quick form. I have a verizon note 3 and it could take a year before they implement this update. Google should be working on a solution to this problem. I also have a Nexus 10 and yesterday it updated again...this time to kitkat 4.4.4....there were 111 separate update to 4.4.4..vastly improved my wifi..Google should be able to update quickly like they do in Nexus brands. And not leave it up to the carriers who want you to update to a new phone. I know they can do it and bloatware is getting ridiculous.
I think my next phone will be a Nexus type..because it makes more sense.
Posted via Android Central App

Howard Sylve says:

Nexus is the only way to go besides Moto, secondly, if you want timely updates.

Posted via Android Central App

romdude says:

Third is HTC. They promised a 90 day turn around for the HTC one m8 and my old m7.

katnapper421 says:

I was one of those unfortunate folks who bought into the HTC Thunderbolt nightmare. Dropped my unlimited data from Verizon and hopped onto the Nexus bandwagon and refuse to use anything else.
My wife and kids all have Nexi as well, mostly because they know I won't mess with unnecessary skins should they need me to work on their phone for whatever reason.
Call me a fan boy, but I like my updates and my mobile experience the way it was intended.

Opinion biased due to being one of those Nexus people.

Impulses says:

Everyone's had huge fumbles in this regard, Moto Atrix anyone? (first dual core phone and one of the first to get left behind on GB, or was it Froyo?) I was actually never dissatisfied with HTC's update track record (thru 3 EVOs) but I never kept any of my HTC phones more than a year and a half... If my mother's One X hadn't died I'd probably be annoyed it got left behind tho.

I'm loving stock on my N5 too and I really hope they continue the Nexus program, but i hope just as much that Moto, HTC, or ANYBODY manages to keep pace with updates in the future. Nexus isn't for everyone...

TenshiNo says:

Another big problem we have (at least in the US) is that the carriers can also be a *huge* cause of this problem. Especially when they want to further customize things. Verizon seems to be a big offender in this regard.

katnapper421 says:

It's the carrier and manufacturer's job to update your phone. That's the beauty of Nexus. You cut those 3rd parties out of the picture. GPE phones are a good second choice as the manufacturer has agreed to have the latest software released ASAP. Motorola is still in Google's hands in a way and has shown everyone else how it should be done by a non Nexus, non GPE entity.

Opinion biased due to being one of those Nexus people.

havesomejoe says:

Isn't it great? Form finally matches function for Android. The ugly duckling becomes a swan.

Posted via Android Central App

+googol

ಠ益ಠ

Evilnut says:

Excellent right up Jerry! I am so excited as a non techie, tech nerd that I will be able to have a phone, a watch, a tablet, a TV & a car that all look & act the same pretty much in their operating system and have access to all of the same content. I'm not a developer, I'm not a programmer, but I am a guy who loves technology and love to use technology. From my perspective, this is going to be the greatest Year of Android I have ever seen since I got my original Motorola Droid back in 2009. Google is going to get some money from me with android L, Android wear, Android TV and Android auto!

Posted via a beautiful Ebony backed Moto X or the amazing Nexus 10 using the totally awesome Android Central App

John Grabb says:

Not enough in "L" with security, Google's biggest need for change. Android one is a very very small start.

brendilon says:

I think you're a little confused. Android One isn't about security.

Posted via Android Central App

chris r3 says:

Not a fan of the unintuitive plus "+" button as found in the Google+ app. It moves up and down in un-natural ways. I've a bad feeling we'll see this in a lot of apps. But then eventually it'll be replaced by something better and more intuitive.

thegrants82 says:

This is what android needs to really put the screws to apple.

xlDeMoNiClx says:

Android has been putting the screws to iOS for years now.

Posted via Android Central App

axllebeer says:

Good read Jerry. You do a good "from the editors desk" . Always enjoy reading your articles.

Posted via AC App from my S4 mini WITH an LED CrackLight ;-)

brian1269 says:

Like others have said, the main problem is fragmentation and getting the new OS on phones in a timely manner. THIS is Google's biggest issue. Of course having a choice of so many devices is one of the advantages, and disadvantages, to Android.

--Captain Obvious

gvndeb60 says:

Great read, thanks Jerry.

Posted via Android Central App

Is it just me or does Material Design resemble HTC's Sense 6? Just asking if anyone else sees it

Posted via Android Central App

Ummmm not really seeing it...

Posted via Android Central App

iknownothing says:

I see it too. The font reminds me of webos as well.

Posted via Android Central App

law2010 says:

I am happy with what Google has done with trying to design a more consistent UI experience among apps this year at I/O. However, after seeing some of the "new" things Apple did this year at their developer conference, I left wanting more from Google.

The tight integration between OS X Yosemite and the iPhone and iPad was a real treat. The new way to send pictures and videos and voice recordings in iMessage was astonishing. I know that some of these functions have been in Android for years, but Apple simplified it and polished it.

I wish Google required Hangouts to be on all Android phones and that it acted a lot like iMessage. SMS and MMS are very archaic and I wish Google would pump deeper development into Hangouts and really take it to the next level (the video Hangouts are top notch, though, and I wish more people had Hangouts so I could use it more frequently.

I really want a more polished UI and hope that Materials and stricter guidelines leads to a better experience.

I love my HTC One M8 and don't plan to switch to an iPhone, but I am still jealous of some of the new features Apple introduced this year that were extremely well polished and a delight to look at.

I hope developers can pick up on Materials and make Android even better. Otherwise, I will be left wanting some of the cool features that Apple took from Android and polished the bejesus out of and really took them to the next level.

Posted via Android Central App

Impulses says:

Yeah I wish they had a stronger push behind Hangouts too, since it's a great way to push the platform overall and SMS really is archaic at this point... The beauty of Android is that those who want nothing to do with it can still avoid it (unlike iMessage, which I have to deal with even as an Android user, fractured group SMS/iMessage convos suck).

K White1 says:

It's nice to read how excited and passionate developers are about Android L. I think I'll need time to get use to the design changes, though. Some of the images of L are a bit jarring.

Posted via AC App on HTC One

jerrod6 says:

Jerry I am so glad to read your review of I/O. Glad to hear how the developers --the ones who will really make the difference - are excited about the future of Android. Yes the look is one thing, but it is what's under the hood that really counts. This is what can make an OS the best it can be for everyone. I have developed systems and individual systems modules before, though not android, but the excitement in your words comes right through to me. Almost makes me want to develop again.

Thanks for the information and I'll be waiting to see what's ahead for Android it's applications and it's users. I may not develop an application but I'll be there to use one(and of course critique it). This is where we users can play a part. If we use an application that is not developed following the new Material Design guidelines it is our duty to mention that in our app comments and ratings. Likewise commend those developers who DO develop their applications using the suggested guidelines. I always make it a point to do this and it rewards those who try, and adds a gentle nudge to those that don't. We can all be lazy so a little encouragement can't hurt anyone or company.

grandpa220 says:

Great article, Jerry. I'm right with you on this one.

Posted via Android Central App

jrb363 says:

Meeeeh.....Android 2.1 for me!

Dyno625 says:

Good write up Jerry!

Posted via Android Central App

I'm waiting to see what windows phone is bringing to the table this fall...L looks nice, but I'm thinking about hitting the Microsoft ecosystem for a tour. Not gonna go to Apple...ever

Posted via Android Central App

SoCalBIGmike says:

I think Microsoft and Cortana would have some things to say about all of this, once 8.1 is official :-)

xlDeMoNiClx says:

Lol no.

Posted via Android Central App

katnapper421 says:

Good article Jerry. I was on vacation during I/O. Luckily, I was able to catch up each night. AC did a fantastic job covering the events and stories as usual with these events.

Opinion biased due to being one of those Nexus people.

vernotzy21 says:

Actually google should not have said anything until "L" was seriously debuged and perfected telling us now just follows the same patterns what will happen next is they are going to go to release it to early it will be full of bugs half the devices will not get the update so fragmentation will be just as prevalent
in effect it will be kitkat with a ui overhaul that will leave previous apps incompatable? Pissing off devs everywhere?

I hate to say it but I bet you a dollar to a donut this is what will happen

I'm getting ready to release a app on google play what does this mean for me? I have to redo my app?? So it will work for the next X amount of years??

It took me 2 1/2 years to write my app

Posted via Android Central App

Impulses says:

Why would the update process be any worse than before? If anything, bringing devs and OEM alike into the process earlier than with past releases should make the whole thing smoother. It still won't be released until end of year or whenever it's ready. This is a good thing IMO, and the sign of a maturing OS, Windows betas were always out months/years before release... The fact that they don't need to keep as much of it under wraps is a sign of confidence if you ask me.

Impulses says:

One of your better write ups lately Jerry. What Android TV did they give away to developers btw? Hadn't seen any mention of that... Seems like the platform is really gonna need a basic reference design tho...