Following Apple steps earlier this month, Google will unveil the next big update of its own mobile operating system, Android, at the Google I/O Developer conference – kicking off tomorrow morning in San Francisco.
Android is indeed due for a major update, as the latest one happened 8 months ago with 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 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 more
The major overhaul – at least for 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. The result of the design framework, code named “Quantum Paper,” that is similar in spirit to Microsoft's Metro design language in Windows 8 or Boostrap, 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 opening Gmail.
And just like Apple’s iOS 8, Android 5 will also add an integration with Google’s new wearable platform – Android Wear – to allow for better connectivity, monitoring and interaction with all the devices (smart watches, smart home, car) connected 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, but a year after Apple launched the first 64-bit iPhone.
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.
All in all, tomorrow’s morning Google I/O keynote will be very Apple-like!