Following Apple AAPL -0.61% announcements earlier this month, Google GOOGL -0.29% will unveil the next big update of its own mobile operating system, Android, at Google I/O – its developer conference that kicks off tomorrow morning in San Francisco.
Android is indeed due for a major update, as the latest one happened over 8 months ago – Android 4.4 (KitKat).
Google’s latest Android “L” update is likely to be called Lollipop, keeping with the company’s confectionary-based alphabetical naming convention (Cupcake, Donut, Éclair, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, KitKat).
Similar to the way Apple is rolling out iOS 8, Android 5 will also be available this fall, giving hardware makers enough time to include the mobile operating system in their holiday product lineup.
New in Android 5: revamped UI, 64-bits, wearable integration, Google Now, Kill switch and Nexus 8
The major overhaul – at least for end-users – will be visually, as Google has been working on a complete makeover of the user interface across Android, iOS, and the Web (desktop and mobile) – with a flatter design à-la Apple, making it clearer and more consistent.
A total revamp which is the result of a new design framework, code named “Quantum QTM 0% Paper,” and similar in spirit to Microsoft’s MSFT -0.58% Metro design language in Windows 8 or Bootstrap, a collection of Web UI components.
In addition, Project Hera represents Google’s effort to improve multitasking, enabling users to execute tasks without actually opening that app. An example will be receiving an alert about a new email, opening that email and send a reply, without actually opening Gmail.
Google will also unveil its own health service Google Fit – in direct response to Apple’s HealthKit in iOS 8 – that will collect and use the data from fitness trackers and other connected devices, including devices running Google’s own wearable platform, Android Wear.
A move that the Mountain View, Calif. company hope will create a seamless, better connected and more interactive user experience for all the devices (smart watches, smart home, car) tethered to your smartphone or tablet.
Expect also to see a new version of Google Now, Google’s answer to Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana, with support of more services which currently includes sports, public transport, meetings and stocks.
Under the hood, the new OS will finally enable 64-bit processing with support of more RAM – a year after Apple launched the iPhone 5S, the first ever 64-bit smartphone.
Finally, Android 5 will include the much talked about kill switch, as well as improvements in how Android uses power to help improve battery life.
And, if it gets in on time, developers might be able to use as early as this week Android 5 on the upcoming Google Nexus 8, dubbed “Volantis.” Detailed specifications related to this 8.9-inch tablet built by Taiwan-based HTC which integrates Nvidia’s 64-bit Logan processor, were revealed earlier this week by Android Police.
All in all, tomorrow’s morning Google I/O keynote will look a lot like a remake of Apple’s earlier this month!
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