Our developers at Yalantis were watching the 2016 Google I/O Keynote along with everyone else in the IT industry. While Google hit on most of the big themes we expected, there were a few letdowns.
It’s always exciting to predict what issues will be addressed and what innovative solutions will be offered by the industry leaders at these conferences. Here’s what our Android team expected:
What did we expect to hear about during the 2016 Google I/O Keynote?
- IoT and smart devices
- Virtual reality
- Machine learning and AI
- Android N — the upcoming version of the OS — and its name!
Right after the keynote, we asked our Android developers to share their thoughts. Here’s what our Yalantis Android developers have to say about Google’s 2016 I/O Keynote:
It was really nice to see that Android development was one of the main focal points of the conference. Most of the predictions that me and colleagues made before the conference were correct, but a few things were left unanswered.
Nothing was mentioned about certain products I hoped to hear about — for example, no mention of the Jacquard project. And there was no news about project Ara, although many of us were really curious about the development of the modular phone concept.
What surprised us most about the Google I/O Keynote 2016?
1. Google Home: IoT and artificial intelligence working across multiple devices.
I really love the idea of Google Home! I think this is what the future is going to look like, and it’s closer than we think! It generally seems to be an attempt to play with the concept of IoT and integrate already existing devices into a specially designed ecosystem. You can use Google Home for multiple devices across the house. It’s designed to provide basic information such as time and weather forecasts, as well as to answer more complex questions using Google’s search algorithms.
In my opinion, implementing voice control across multiple devices can be trickier than we think. How many times are you willing to repeat the same command before you give up, pick up your phone and type it? Some people said that the whole concept of Google Home is just awesome and it feels like a huge breakthrough, but I’m more sceptical about its future performance.
2. Allo and Duo – Google messaging apps with some innovative features.
Google announced two new messaging apps, one (Allo) for text messages and the other (Duo) for video calls. Allo has some pretty sweet features that are similar to “Smart Reply,” but now completely integrated into the core of an app. This allows Allo to predict how you might react to something and suggest contextual responses. Its Smart Reply feature can even analyze images. It’s like an invisible, omniscient friend that is always in the background of your conversation ready to make a hotel booking for you or provide useful information.
Duo is a one-to-one video messaging app that introduces a new feature Google is calling “Knockknock” — it lets users see a caller on their screen before they pick up the call. It might not be the most essential feature for a messaging app, but all the same time this is something that’s never been done before.
I like Google’s latest vision for video and text messengers. It’s awesome to see the capabilities of artificial intelligence applied to text messaging!
What were we most curious about?
Most information about Android N was released before the conference itself, so for our Android team there wasn’t a lot of “news” here. But to recap, some features including multiple app split-screens are now a universal Android feature instead of only existing on some Samsung and LG devices. As expected, some of the new Android N features aim to increase security by introducing file-based encryption and automatic system updates.
I feel like they’ve worked hard to make Android development much easier for us as programmers. A lot of effort was obviously put into making existing features more stable, speeding everything up and preventing crashes. The idea of Firebase as a complex solution that combines functions of Parse and Crashlytics seems interesting, but we’ll have to see how it plays out once it’s out of beta testing.
In my opinion, Firebase might have ultimately have the same disadvantage that Parse did: once you develop an app using it, you’re completely dependent on the platform. Yes, for now we are told that Firebase will remain free, but centering your product around a third-party platform like this always poses a certain risk.
I’m interested to try out the new Android Studio and see if it’s as user-friendly as they promise. A faster IDE than what we currently have would be greatly appreciated.
One of the greatest disappoints of this year’s Google I/O was the lack of a name for Android “N.” We honestly expected to hear a name for the new Android version, and even came up with some ideas of our own.
In our opinion, a tasty name for the new Android N would be one of the following:
We hope we made the right guess! Here is what we think Android N may look like:
[Android N designs created by Dasha Ermolova, illustrator at Yalantis]
As Google is turning to the internet for naming advice, it’s not clear when we’ll get a final decision on the “N” name.
Perhaps we’ll submit our choice for consideration?