Last week, Android shared a new blog post, ‘Your Android is now even safer — and 5 other new features’ where they detailed six new features for Android devices that will be appearing throughout Spring.
The announcement was a quick read with a couple of interesting highlights; we think these innovations could open up new opportunities in app development and hint at some growing trends in the market.
What did Android announce?
The Android announcement covered six brand-new features for the platform:
What Apadmi thought…
It’s easy to spot around the Apadmi office when a new Android or Apple release lands, as the air (albeit virtual at the moment) is filled with passionate discussions over every feature.
We caught up with a few of our mobile experts during the excitement to get their thoughts on the new release…
Aside from Android Auto, there's also been a release of the "Android for Cars" app library recently, and the allowance of car apps on the Play Store – meaning we can now build apps for Android Auto (when you plug an Android phone in) and Android Automotive (when the car itself runs Android Auto).
From a user perspective, the password checkup being built into the system is a very welcome addition. I've used "Have I Been Pwned" for a number of years, so having credential checking for passwords being on a compromised list, built into the system, is very reassuring. The new Assistant hands-free mode and SMS scheduling will also be useful for those who have very packed calendars, with the hands-free mode being particularly good for anyone who doesn't have a smart speaker.
I’m definitely a big advocate of using password managers to improve online security, and anything that makes people more aware that using the same password for every service they use and using weak passwords is a bad idea, is a good thing in my book.
iOS has had a similar feature for a while now for passwords that you save on the keychain there.
Talkback and the Google Assistant updates are another example of Android trying to close the gap with accessibility, as iOS has always held the crown as the more accessible platform. My dad is actually legally blind and he's personally found the accessibility comparison between Android and iOS to be night and day. Google clearly recognises this. It’s not surprising they’re improving their voice recognition and text-to-speech applications on Android since the launch of Google Home. As for Google Maps joining Dark Mode, and the Android Auto improvements – both growing areas, I think we’ll see more and more improvements in these areas in the coming months.
Our predictions for what comes next
We also asked our Devs for their predictions on future Android updates and trends to keep an eye on in 2021…
Android 12 is also in Developer Preview 1, bringing a bunch of security and privacy improvements, plus some early signs of UI tweaks, a built-in theme engine, game mode, one-handed mode, and the return of the double-tap on back gesture that was dropped from Android 11.
There'll also of course be the usual range of new devices this year, with Google's Pixel new "a" series phone due in the next couple of months, a flagship later in the year, and (rumour has it) a foldable too. With Samsung's Note series also rumoured to be finished, perhaps we'll see the start of a shift towards foldable phones before the year is done.
However, I’d expect a lot more about that coming up at Google I/O and it will gradually start being adopted throughout 2021, hopefully improving the quality of Android apps as a result.
If AI virtual assistants improve, that will help improve the accessibility and usability of Android applications. Google has been putting a lot of research into AI, so I don’t think it would be surprising to see developments in this area, especially with the popularity of home assistants like Alexa and Google Home.
Augmented reality applications are already starting to manifest in useful applications like Google Lens right now, and only more practical implementations of that will be coming in the future.
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