Today was Google’s annual event where they share the latest in software from Google. Google I/O is one of the key events Google fans look forward to. Though many have mistakenly viewed it as a place where Google unveil their hardware, it instead give users an idea what to expect from the latest Android update coming in the fall. But not only are they tackling the software coming to phones, they also discuss ChromeOS, Google specific apps (ie Maps, Search, Photos, etc), and WatchOS. So I am going to post my 2 favorite drops from Google I/O.
Let’s not burry the lead. Unlike Google at I/O, I will not be saving the Android 12 OS until last. As someone who have been running the very early version on my Pixel 3XL since earlier this year, I have already experienced many of the nuggets that will be making its way to android phones in the Fall. Android 12 have a number of under the hood improvements that will make it (potentially) better on battery life. But the features that will stand out and people will be able to see starts with cosmetics. Because at the end of the day an update is not an update without some changes in cosmetics (at least in the eyes of you average users).
So what’s different?
Larger buttons and fonts and changes to your theme being based on your wallpaper. After the latest update preview 12 update to my Pixel 3XL, before the keynote, I found myself confused. For a minute I thought I accidently hit something in the settings for a setup for a person who was visually impaired. My phone literally looked like the setup that I would have for my grandmother. Everything felt overly large. For a section of the population this will indeed be a welcomed change. But I can see how this can be jarring for others.
The other noticable change came in the form of the color accents being based on the wallpaper. Now this is a feature that I have to give the thumbs up to, and could be well received. Since I first picked up an android phone and got involved in the rooting community, this was one of the first features that stood out to me. The ability the change the look and accent of my device from the standard out of the box look. To be able to change the look of your phone based on the wallpaper could be a gamechanger.
Another change to the OS will come in the form of more privacy controls. The controls will be more upfront and accessible. Users will know which apps have access to sensitive controls like camera, location, and microphone access.
The 2nd interesting drop out of I/O 2021 was WatchOS. Google announced they are partnering with Samsung to combine WatchOS and Tizen. This is a move that hopes to take the best of what Samsung Watch and WearOS offers and combine them into an experience that Google is hoping will not only revitalize the program, but further streamline the Android watch experience. Google also made an official announcement about their acquistion of Fitbit and gave hints on how fitbit will be baked into future WearOS updates. Though I personally do not use WearOS, I do use a Fitbit. So I am defintely looking forward to what the combines effort of a Fitbit, WearOS, and Samsung Watch could bring.
What from Google I/O stood out most to you?