Google Now Is The Killer App For Android Wear

Google’s I/O keynote may have been a bit of a jumble of different product announcements — many of which won’t be available until later this year — but Android Wear was what most people in the audience wanted to hear about. While there is plenty of Android in Google’s smartwatch operating system and while developers will be able to develop apps specifically for it, Wear in its current form is fundamentally about bringing Google Now notifications to your wrist.

While I’ve had Google Now on my phone for a long time now, the more I use Wear, the more I feel like it was custom-made for Google Now. Indeed, this is the first time I really feel Now is living up to its promise. It’s also the first time I find myself paying full attention to Now, despite its prominence on Android before.

CaptureAndroid Wear, of course, also shows you all of your notifications from your phone (and when they are interactive, Wear will automatically mimic those, too). You could push all of your phone notifications to your watch, but that would be overkill. Thankfully, Google lets you choose which applications can push to Wear. But its most useful feature — and maybe its killer feature overall — is definitely easy access to Google Now.

At this point, everybody is pretty much familiar with Google Now, but there is something fundamentally different between using it on your phone and on your wrist. Sure, the mission is the same on both platforms: Google wants to give you the right information at the right time. When you’re at work, it shows you the drive time to home. Got an appointment somewhere else? It’ll show you when to leave. At the airport? It’ll show you the barcode for your boarding pass. It’s one thing for that information to be available on your phone, but on your wrist, it suddenly becomes so much more accessible.

now_wearThat is, of course, only when Google Now gets it right — and most of the time, it does. The company has been working hard on bringing more information to Now and that has made it quite a bit more useful by regularly adding more information and new cards to it. Some cards that Google shows on the phone don’t make sense on Wear (links for topics you recently search for, for example) and those thankfully never make it to the watch.

 

Wear doesn’t always get it right, though. If you end up swiping the weather card away by mistake, for example, you can’t easily get it back. That’s a fundamental problem with Wear — and maybe the only one that really annoys me. For Google Now, at least, it’d be nice to have an easy way to flip through all of your cards at all times.

Just like Google Now brings together a number of Google’s services into one product, Wear has a similar feel to it. It’s a mix of what it has learned from Android and its ecosystem, its advances in voice recognition and its newly found design chops.

All of that comes together to bring Google Now to your wrist, and while that may sound like a minor thing, it’s actually a very useful experience. Whether that’s worth $200 to you is a different question, but after using Wear for a bit more than a week now, I can actually see myself wearing one of these watches going forward — and before this I hadn’t worn a watch for at least a decade.

In the next few months, Google will get some competition from Microsoft, Apple and a few startups in this space. For better or worse, none of them know as much about you as Google does, so it’ll be hard for them to replicate the Google Now experience. That should give Google a bit of an edge against the competition — unless the iWatch turns out to be so amazing that people will buy it even if it just shows the time and phone notifications.

-Courtesy: Techcrunch

This app exchanges your free time for mobile credits, and it just raised $2.5M

pocket money pokkt india start

Indian startup Pokkt (Pocket) has come up with a unique way to enable mobile payments in emerging markets, where credit card penetrations are low.

Essentially, it has created a marketplace for consumers to get apps, games, and other digital content without paying a single cent. Instead, they pay with their time by consuming content from some 100 advertisers, who pay to plug into the platform.

Pokkt wants to achieve two things: besides giving consumers easier access to digital content, it also provides developers a way to monetize from users who use their apps for free.

To do that, Android, iOS, and Windows Phone developers get access to Pokkt’s software development kits (SDKs) which allow easy integration between their apps and Pokkt. Part of the money coming from advertisers goes to developers.

Now, the Mumbai-based startup is kicking its operations into a higher gear. It has just raised a US$2.5 million series A round led by JAFCO Asia, a Singapore-headquartered venture capital firm, along with SingTel Innov8, Jungle Ventures, and serial entrepreneur Ganesh Krishnan.

Serving time

It also launched a new product this month: Pocket Money, a consumer-facing Android app in which users consume advertisers’ content in exchange for credits. They can then use the money to redeem mobile recharges on India’s major telcos like Aircel, Airtel, and Tata Docomo.

Pocket Money differs from Pokkt’s current products by offering users a dedicated app to consume and redeem items. In the past, consumers could only receive content by using specific apps made by Pokkt’s developer network.

The startup has seen increased usage. It now has between 8,000 to 10,000 transactions a day – defined as completed redemptions – up from 500 a day in the first quarter after it launched in October last year, says Pokkt founder and CEO Rohit Sharma. It aims to grow to 100,000 transactions a day within the year.

Sharma will use the new cash infusion to push further into Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia and Thailand. Right now, most of Pokkt’s consumers live in India. He also plans to add between five to 10 developers to the platform a week.

Pocket Money is a stepping stone to the startup’s vision of fluid digital payments in developing countries. While users can only redeem mobile credits for now, the status quo won’t stay for long.

“Now it’s just mobile top-ups. Eventually, we’ll let users redeem games, movies, and even stuff that’s offline,” says Sharma. For instance, consumers could eventually get cash on Pocket Money, paid for by advertisers, and use that to redeem a special item in his favorite Pokkt-integrated mobile game.

-Courtesy: Techinasia

Backed By Science Inc., FreeGameCredits.com Offers Exactly What Its Name Suggests

Startup FreeGameCredits.com doesn’t have the problem of an ambiguous name — just as you’d guess, it allows mobile game developers to run promotions offering in-game credits.

The company is announcing that it has raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from Los Angeles-based “startup studio” Science Inc. It’s also launching its first promotion later today — Vivid Games is making its Real Boxing iOS app free for the day, and users of FreeGameCredits.com will also receive $4 of in-game currency.

Science co-founder and partner Peter Pham told me that he likes to back things that are “kind of obvious” and look like they’re going to succeed as long as the team doesn’t screw it up. (He didn’t exactly say “screw it up,” but I’m trying to be polite here.)

In this case, he said it seemed obvious that mobile game developers would want to offer targeted promotions, similar to an app like Uber offering discounts to first-time users. However, it turned out that there’s no easy way for developers to do this — they can offer the same amount of free in-game credits to all first-time users, but the developer can’t give specific groups a bigger discount, even if “you know I’m a whale and I’m in the perfect target demographic.”

With FreeGameCredits, however, founder and CEO Joe Bayen said users can follow a special app store link (it works for both iOS and Android) from the company’s mobile site and they’ll receive a unique discount. The offers will be curated and run for a limited period of time, and he said they can be additionally targeted based on things like device type, geography, and gender.

To make this work, he said developers only need to add “a few lines of code in their app.”

Pham and Bayen both argued that this approach makes much more sense than rewarding users for watching an ad or downloading an app (something that Apple has recently become more sensitive about). After all, if Game A offers you Game A credits if you download Game B, you’re probably not that interested in Game B and are less likely to be a valuable player.

Oh, and speaking of really on-the-nose website names, Bayen has actually had some success with a related business, having founded FreeAppADay.com, a site that he said generated more than $60 million in revenue for developers. Following FreeAppADay’s shutdown, Bayen said he’d actually planned to take some time off, but he was working “literally a block away” from the Science offices in Santa Monica, and the Science partners convinced him to work on something new.

-Courtesy: Techcrunch

Mobile Ad Startup TapSense Announces Support For Wearable Apps, Starting On Pebble

If you’re building apps for the Pebble smartwatch and other wearable gadgets, startupTapSense hopes to bring you into the wonderful world of mobile advertising.

The company announced today that its mobile ad exchange will support wearable apps, beginning with those in the Pebble appstore. You can see a video demo of an ad below.

However, as you watch the demo (as opposed to the mock-up above), you might notice a lack of actual smartwatches. That’s because TapSense isn’t running ads on the Pebble itself. Instead, it’s helping developers target ads at iOS and Android users who own Pebble devices. The company says those ads will link directly to the promoted apps in the Pebble appstore.

In other words, developers will be able to promote their apps through the same sorts of ads used by other mobile developers. TapSense founder and CEO Ash Kumar added that Pebble’s store (where users find apps on their phones, and those apps are then synced with their smartwatches) exemplifies a model where the smartphone becomes the hub for your other wearable devices.

Having that hub is important, he suggested, because “the wearables market will remain fragmented for some time,” without any one device dominating.

To a certain extent, this may be a bit of experiment, allowing TapSense to explore wearables and giving them a leg up when and off the market really takes off. Looking ahead, Kumar said he plans to support other wearable apps in the same way. He started with Pebble because of its reach and the diversity of apps (more than 3,000).

Kumar also said that, as far as he knows, TapSense is the first mobile ad company to build this kind of Pebble support. (I emailed Pebble for confirmation but haven’t heard back.)

And yes, eventually he’d like to run ads within those wearable apps, too, particularly as they provide an opportunity to deliver real-time, relevant advertising that’s much better than “annoying banner ads.”

Foodie app Burpple gets major update, adds in ‘tastemakers’ and more personal curation

Burpple app update 3.0

The Singapore-based team behind Burpple, the social food review app, has been very quiet for the past nine months. It turns out they’ve been cooking up a major revamp (pictured above) that’s available this afternoon as an update to the Burpple iOS app.

Burpple co-founder Dixon Chan tells Tech in Asia that the latest iteration sees the team taking a different approach by focusing on the community and guided curation rather than simply building up the volume of food venue listings. Backed up with stronger search functions and a greater emphasis on curated lists, Chan says the idea is to guide users “to great food for any occasion, by locals, for everyone.” He adds: “The big opportunity here is being guided by local knowledge. People need easy access, not more obstacles to strong content.”

Focusing first on Singapore before expanding this curation to other cities, Burpple now has a ‘hot 100’ list for Singapore, which is based on data for the popularity of venues within the app. The startup is hand-picking some of its users as ‘tastemakers’ for each city and recommends people follow them for a sort of personal guide to the best places to eat and drink in Singapore.

Chan sees this as part of a strong trend towards data given a personal touch with human recommendations. “Most of our users tell us that they switched from traditional magazines, print media, and search directories because [Burpple] can be so much simpler, faster and trusted,” he explains. Burpple’s reinvention – in both the apps and its website – sees the service taking a more personal and even more social approach in its ongoing rivalry with Yelp.

All these new developments seem to replace what the startup was working on last year when it rolled out a food search engine. Burpple still has a search box, but it appears increasingly de-emphasized in favor of users getting guidance from lists and the new ‘tastemakers’. But it also means that Burpple’s vaunted monetization plans from last year, such as charging restaurants and venues for Burpple webpage customization, have disappeared too. Chan says the team is beta testing a new “business program” for Q3, but remains tight-lipped about it for now.

Chan says that Burpple was beta testing the ‘hot 100’ and other new curation features since March this year and he claims it has triggered a 500 percent increase in user activity.

Globally, Burpple has 150,000 listed locations in 10 major cities and claims to have 200,000 monthly active users in Singapore right now. The Burpple 3.0 update should now be in the iOS App Store; the Android update is coming soon.

-Courtesy: Techinasia

Path Looks To Combine Commerce And Messaging With TalkTo Acquisition, Release Of New ‘Talk’ App

It’s been a rough year for private social networking app Path. The company has seen disappointing growth in many major markets, layoffs, and the departure of some key execs over the last 12 months. But while Path has largely remained quiet, the company has been working on a plan behind the scenes to switch up its business.

Today, Path is unveiling everything that it has been working on during that time — including the launch of a new standalone messaging app, its acquisition of business messaging service TalkTo, and what could be the start of a new revenue model for the company.

Path’s Messaging Ambitions

While downloads in some big markets have slowed, Path is still seeing users come back to its app. According to founder and CEO Dave Morin, the company is seeing about 4 million DAUs per day, versus around 1.5 million at the beginning of the year. Southeast Asia is now its biggest market, with the U.S. coming second, but Path is also seeing some user growth from the Middle East.

The main thing that keeps users coming back, that keeps driving engagement, is messaging. Since launching the feature a year ago, it’s been the fastest-growing feature of the app, according to Morin.

That growth comes despite the proliferation of messaging platforms like Snapchat, WhatsApp, Line, KakaoTalk, WeChat, and Facebook Messenger. It’s also despite the fact that Path’s messaging function was mostly hidden in a drawer off to one side of the app.

With the release of Path Talk, the company hopes to correct that by making an app based solely around one of its most popular features. The new messaging app takes advantage of features that the Path team has already built. For instance, users can connect with their existing Path login credentials.

Path Talk has ambient status updates that let friends know when you’re traveling, when you’re nearby, and when you have a low battery. But it only shows the most recent — and most interesting — updates to friends.

path talk 3

The app enables swipe-based quick replies to enable users to acknowledge messages, or question things that were sent to them. Users can also send stickers, just as they could in the old Path app. It also allows users to easily send links to media, like movies, music and books, as well as maps, locations, photos and videos through a single tap.

Path Talk also includes a few new features — like messages that disappear after 24 hours and the option of sending voice messages to other users — that it hopes will set it apart from existing messaging platforms.

But at its core, Path Talk was built as a way for users to quickly express themselves through a combination of text, media, and stickers that its existing users already love.

Updates To The Core Path App

While Path is introducing a whole new messaging app, the company is still keeping its core app available. In fact, it’s updated the app to simplify navigation and increase engagement.

Path 4.0 has moved all its core navigation to the bottom of the app, rather than hiding different features in drawers on either side of the main user interface. That enables users to access their notifications, friend list, and other features from any page within the app.

Since it released Path Talk, the company has done away with the messaging feature within its original app. Now clicking through the messaging tab will open up Path Talk if it’s installed.

If not, it will show how many messages users have accrued in the meantime. It’s clearly meant to nudge users to install the new app.

One surprising change to the app that’s flown under the radar: Path has removed its limit on the number of friends that users can connect to. While it previously held users to fewer than 150 friends, now they can add as many contacts as they want.

But the big thing here is that Path will continue to support and add new features to its core app, according to Morin.

TalkTo Acquisition Brings Text Messaging For Business

For Path, launching a standalone messaging app is only one part of the company’s future business plan. The other part comes through its acquisition of business messaging platform TalkTo.

The idea behind TalkTo was based on what co-founder Stuart Levinson saw as a fundamental shift in behavior, from communicating via voice to communicating via text.

Consumers have gotten used to sending short messages and getting a near-instantaneous response from each other. But phone conversations with businesses tend to take a lot longer — especially if someone gets passed around to different customer service departments before getting a response.

TalkTo founder Stuart Levinson

To enable TalkTo users to communicate with businesses via text, the company had a two-pronged approach. On the one hand, it worked with businesses to enable them to answer questions directly from existing and potential customers.

And for all those companies it didn’t have a business relationship with, TalkTo built out a distributed workforce that effectively worked like a call center to make calls for users, and then respond to their inquiries via text.

TalkTo, which was once a Startup Battlefield finalist, was picked up in a cash-and-stock deal, but otherwise terms weren’t disclosed.

Combining Commerce And Messaging

With the acquisition, Path is hoping to eventually embed that same capability into its messaging app. In fact, Morin said that Path Talk will add “Places” alongside “People” in the bottom navigation bar in its next release, slated for later this summer.

“We want to bring a differentiated and powerful new use case to our users,” Morin said. “We want to bring commerce and messaging together in a way that is user-first.”

Not only will that mean adding a new feature to its app — messaging businesses nearby — but it also has the potential to change Path’s business model going forward.

Since the release of its first “sticker packs” about 18 months ago, Path’s monetization has been driven through the sale of virtual goods. About six months after that, it added a yearly subscription offering to its à la carte sticker sales.

TalkTo’s revenues were also based on a “Premium” model, where users paid a small fee per month to have their messages “fast-tracked” and answered more quickly.

According to Levinson, about 75 percent of all questions posed on TalkTo are expressing an intent to purchase something. To some businesses, those requests might count as “highly qualified leads” — in other words, something they’d be willing to pay for. And that could give Path a new line of business that doesn’t rely on advertising or micro-transactions.

The Reinvention Of Path?

The big question is, ‘Will it work?’

Can Path give users a good reason to download yet another messaging app? And even if they do, can it prove that people want to text businesses the same way they want to message other people?

For its part, Path seems to believe that it’s created a compelling enough experience around messaging to warrant a whole new app. Through status updates, media sharing and the like, Path Talk combines a whole lot of features that will differentiate it from other messaging platforms that are already out there.

“We had this realization that messaging is the killer app of mobile,” Morin said. “There have been a lot of folks that have approached messaging on a one-to-one basis. But we wanted to take it further… What if it wasn’t just a messaging app but a messaging hub?”

As for texting businesses, TalkTo had users — it just didn’t have a business model that aligned the interests of consumers and businesses as well as each would like. But it seems like that will change as part of Path’s new messaging platform.

Regardless of whether or not this idea of mixing commerce and messaging actually takes off, it seems like that’s not the only thing Path has up its sleeve.

Rather than betting everything on a single user experience, the company is now pursuing a multi-app strategy, according to Morin. That means it could break out other features that had once been embedded in its original core app and let them stand on their own.

Of course, that could result in a lack of focus, as Path builds and maintains multiple different apps in tandem, but hey — maybe that’s a good thing.

Maybe, after being singularly focused on adding features to the core Path experience over the last three-and-a-half years, it’s time to experiment.

Maybe it’s time for Path to throw a little spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks.

Pakistan startup hopes for a global win with 2014 World Cup scoring and text commentary app

2014 Football Cup Companion app for World Cup scores and live text commentary

One Pakistan startup believes that since people can’t get enough of the World Cup, they want more apps related to it. And so Pantera Engineering has come out with 2014 Football Cup Companion, which it touts as the most useful and comprehensive scoring, tables, and text commentary app for the 2014 World Cup. It’s available in English and around the world.

Yes, the app’s name isn’t sexy, which is due to the inevitable legal issues in using words like FIFA or World Cup.

2014 Football Cup Companion app for World Cup scores and live text commentary

Pantera Engineering specializes in mobile app development. The team was part of the second batch of startups that graduated from the Plan 9 incubator in Lahore. Farooq Saeed, the co-founder Pantera Engineering, explains his motives behind building the free – and ad-free – app despite there being a number of others, including one from FIFA, already out there.

We noticed that a lot of things were missing in those apps and there was no single comprehensive app which provided all the information in one single interface. Especially the live feed during the match was either non existent or was not up to the mark.

The team was further motivated by the news that the official football for the World Cup, the ‘Brazuca’ was made in Pakistan. They wanted to make an app which would not only be the best available but would also help in building a better image of their country.

Saeed tells us that the app is seeing healthy traffic from Europe and South America, as well as interest from at home.

2014 Football Cup Companion is free for Android and iPhone.

2014 Football Cup Companion app for World Cup scores and live text commentary

-Courtesy: Techinasia

Amazon’s Master Of Commerce Move Into The Phone Game

Mobile is so 2010. So why would Amazon throw its hat into the game of phones?

That’s the thing — it didn’t. The company is headed into battle in two other markets full of potential: real-world commerce and digital advertising.

Amazon has focused its business almost solely on e-commerce since its launch in 1994. Twenty years later, the vast majority of commerce still takes place in the physical world; a 2014 Q1 US Census report shows that digital sales account for just 6 percent of total sales.

So, if 94 percent of sales still happens in the real world, how does Amazon conquer this territory? It introduces a phone.

The Fire Phone can recognize a physical object, scan a bar code, and quickly provide you with Amazon’s prices, taking showrooming to a whole new level. And then, the company is able to unlock that other 94 percent of commerce spend that it previously couldn’t touch.

Should retailers be shaking in their proverbial boots? Probably.

With an active user base of 244 million, Amazon has become a trusted provider of goods. Now, those who trust the company already can buy an Amazon phone that makes it even easier to find what they want and order it with a couple of clicks. Even if just 10 percent of active users buy a Fire, that’s still 24 million people who will have access to Amazon’s low prices, vast inventory, and shipping.

But real-world commerce isn’t the only new frontier for Amazon; the Fire Phone unlocks mobile advertising opportunities for the company, making it the third viable player in the thriving space, along with Google and Facebook.

In 2014, mobile advertising in the U.S. will total $17.73 billion and reach over $35 billion by 2017, eclipsing online advertising spend, according to analysis from eMarketer. Google and Facebook combined took home over two-thirds of mobile ad spending last year. Now, Amazon could give these two companies stiff competition due to its customer relationships and new features on its phone that aren’t available on Apple or Android devices. Amazon becomes the third major player with a mobile device tied to an immense database of browsing and past purchase data.

With this phone, Amazon is able to do exactly the same thing as Google and Facebook: utilize customer identities and interest to bring targeted mobile ads to them on their phones. But Amazon has a distinct advantage: Its users have already bought something from them! As a result, the company is even better-equipped than other companies to use past purchase data to send highly tailored mobile ads to consumers. Amazon will be able to guarantee brands a pre-qualified, “in-market” audience. Who else can do that?

In his demo of the Fire, Bezos made the real-world connections for the phone absolutely apparent, talking about how easy it is to walk down the street and use Firefly to recognize signs, goods, etc. This feature opens up so many doors: the ability to recognize places in the real world, to search for things you want based on what Amazon knows you are interested in, and the ability for Amazon to harness that data for more relevant recommendations.

In effect, the Fire could provide an understanding of the physical world and merchant locations and, when combined with everything else Amazon knows about a user, actually deliver on the promise of “Marketing that consumers find really valuable, not intrusive.” Now imagine that they start pushing you the occasional recommendation when you’re near a physical store. Imagine you can get a reminder for something you have scanned when you’re near a place to buy it, with Amazon taking its cut for driving that real-world transaction. That massively changes the game of mobile marketing.

Rebecca Lieb, an analyst with the Altimeter Group, discussed the real impact of the Fire Phone with the New York Times: “Scan a product or listen to music, and you’re delivered straight to the page on Amazon on which you can purchase it. Impulse shopping just went to a new level.”

Amazon is not in the mobile business, the phone business or the Internet of things business. And while analysts appear divided on the short- and long-term impact of the Fire for Amazon’s overall business model, they should agree on one point: Bezos and Co. are the masters of the commerce business, and the Fire Phone is just one tool that can be used to help it gain its slice of the immense cash flow happening not online, but on Main Street.

I would even go so far as to say that the Fire Phone will be key to the Amazon growth strategy for the next 50 years. Congratulations, Mr. Bezos. Well played. The only thing I am wondering is, Why isn’t the phone free?

-Courtesy: Techcrunch

Facebook Launches Slingshot, Its Snapchat Competitor

Poke, Facebook’s first attempt at building a Snapchat competitor, belly flopped. But that hasn’t stopped the social network from taking another jump.

For some time now, rumors have swirled about Slingshot, Facebook’s sophomore take on the ephemeral messaging app. Mark Zuckerberg was reportedly “personally involved” in its development, and last week the app briefly appeared in some countries’ app stores before disappearing.

Today, all the speculation can be put to rest: Slingshot is here, for real this time.

Unlike Poke, Slingshot is not a direct Snapchat ripoff. “With Slingshot, we wanted to build something where everybody is a creator and nobody is just a spectator,” Facebook said in a blog post announcing the launch.

That’s right – lurkers aren’t welcome on the app.

As with Snapchat, users can send photos or videos — adorned with text or coloring, if desired — that last up to 15 seconds with Slingshot. Each message can be viewed exactly once by the recipient before disappearing for good.

Unlike Snapchat, however, opening a message on Slingshot requires that you send a message of your own back to its sender. “Here’s the deal: friends won’t be able to see your shot until they sling something back to you,” Facebook explained.

While it’s good news that Slingshot isn’t another straight-up Snapchat clone and while the intent is admirable, it’s fair to wonder whether Facebook has overestimated our collective desire to share versus our collective desire to consume. After all, plenty of people use social networks to “lurk,” spending most of their time checking up on other people’s posts instead of posting themselves. For those types, being forced to respond to a message on Slingshot might be a tough sell.

Still, Facebook is determined to try. “[Venture capitalist] Fred Wilson once said that the cardinal rule of social networks is that 1 percent of people create content and 90 percent of people consume it,” Slingshot designer Joey Flynn told the Verge, “and we want to flip that on its head.”

-Courtesy: Entrepreneur.com

 

Android Lollipop 5.0? – What to Expect from the Next Version of the OS?

 

There is no stopping Google from “accidentally” leaking its upcoming devices and software. The tech giant leaked the supposed Android version 5.0 through an image posted in the company’s Twitter account.

Android-LollyPop

According to the International Business Times, the screenshots show three phones with the match scores and schedules for the 2014 World Cup.

However, the system clock time was set to 5:00. In some previous Android OS releases, Google teased 2.3 with a phone that had a clock time of 2:30, and all devices listed on Google Play Store have 4:40 on the clocks; they ship with Android 4.4. KitKat.

Whether it’s Android 5.0 or 4.5, there is no real indication of the dessert-based name that will follow it. Having surprised everyone with its decision to go for Android 4.4 KitKat, speculation suggests Google will revert back to its generic naming convention by calling the next installment Android Lollipop.

Expected Features

Google will have its annual Google I/O developer conference later this month. The company may reveal Android Lollipop then.

Its expected features may be a major update from KitKat. Smart phones right now run on Google’s Android KitKat 4.4, the latest update in the line of candy-themed mobile operating systems. Every year in June the Google developers’ conference releases updates to its products and this year is no different. It is expected that updated features to Google Glass, the smart watch line and the range of Nexus smart phones will include Android Lollipop.

After collaborating with Nestle to release Android 4.4 KitKat, in September, last year, minor updates were released to correct bugs and fix issues with the operating system and apps. Rumored to be revising the approach it takes to web apps, images have been leaked showing what Lollipop looks like.

Project Hera, Google’s effort to unify the Chrome browser with Android and Search is also set to debut in June. The project is designed to revamp the experience for Android users who run Google’s Search and Chrome apps on their smartphones, and a major user-interface revamp is also expected.

Google is also expected to integrate HTML 5 in the software that will enable users to multi-task or open and run apps and widgets at the same time.

The next version of Android OS also plans on making OK Google, its voice search assistant, as competent as Siri, calling it Ok Google Everywhere, but integrating it deeply into the OS itself.

Reports added that the next version of Android OS will definitely support new processor and graphics chipset. Support for 64 bit-processors makes running Android smooth on devices with 2 to 4GB RAM. Android 4.4 KitKat currently runs on 512 MB RAM and Google plans to add a few additional features to make the next version better. With cross compatibility in case of mobile networks, improvements in camera features, and better audio and video experience, Google’s Lollipop is aiming to be better than KitKat. The gaming community will experience smoother multi-tasking, while an improved battery life increases performance, allowing users to support and write data on micro SD cards.

As Apple gears to launch the iWatch, Google has plans to integrate Lollipop with its wearable range of smart wear. Google Glass and the smart watch range are expected to run on Android Lollipop, but reports suggest that there may be a new wearable application that monitors devices that are connected to the smart phone. With Lollipop, these features will work better without draining the battery and data.

Security also seems to be an area of focus for Android. It is currently being targeted by mobile malware, making security its biggest concern. Apps from the PlayStore usually are loaded with bloatware, making users vary of the store itself. Preferring to use the .apk (install-able) files instead of downloading the apps, Google is losing customers who download apps from the PlayStore. Android Lollipop aims to fix this issue by setting up a rigid app selection system. Handling data with fingerprint sensors and face unlock will make Lollipop better than KitKat. More features are expected to be included in Android Lollipop, but users will have to wait for a few more days to hear more of it.

We may also see the announcement of Android Silver which will replace the popular Nexus range of products. That’s a little less likely than the Android Wear announcement but it’s all on the cards. Google I/O 2014 takes place from June 25 and 26 in San Francisco.

-Courtesy: Techjuice.pk