Google I/O Key Takeaways about Mobile Apps

June 30, 2014

Reviewing the recent impressions about Google I/O conference, let’s highlight several changes, that might be the most significant for mobile entrepreneurs in the nearest time.

Market Expansion

The head of Google’s Android division, Sundar Pichai, revealed some numbers about the growing reach of Android phones and tablets:

  • Android now has one billion users, up from 538 million last year. And we are talking not about phone owners, but the number of monthly active Android users;
  • Active users take 93 million selfies, walk 1.5 trillion steps, and check their phones 100 billion times each day;
  • Android app installations rose 236 percent over last year.

The numbers are very clear about the growing popularity of the Android platform. Not only does it get a large market share thanks to the cheap devices, but it’s getting very profitable market for mobile developers.

New Candy in a Row

Google announced a developer preview version of Android L, its next big Android update. It’s still unknown what that “L” stands for, but rumors point to “Lollipop,” keeping in mind Google’s obsession with sweets.

And it seems like the new version will be really sweet for the developers. Android L features a bold and colorful design aesthetic with clean icons and typography, that will also carry over to Google’s other products. Android L will also support a wider variety of processors, including ARM, x86, and MIPS chips. Android L features a new “ART” runtime that will allow apps to run faster and smoother. Developers don’t need to tweak their apps to support ART — they’ll simply run faster on Android L.

Material Design

Google reveals its next generation ‘Material’ design language, a system that will be used throughout the new Android L and will influence the design of every Android app. Material looks a lot like Microsoft’s Metro design in the way it uses big flat squares and bold images and how tiles show live information from the apps they represent. From Apple Material design has adopted vibrant color schemes. So get prepared for big changes.

Introduction to the Vertical Markets

Health is a hot topic this season. Together with Apple’s HealthKit and Samsung’s SAMI health platforms, Google announced its own Google Fit health-data platform. The upcoming Google Fit APIs will enable app developers to create apps that can manage and combine multiple types of health data in order to present “a complete picture of the user’s fitness.”

Google also announced Android Auto, which will bring many popular features of smartphones to new car models from more than 40 automakers beginning later this year. It will feature contextually aware navigation, streaming music and communications functions in an easy-to-use interface.

Stretching the Field

We see how quickly mobile operating systems go from the mobile phones and tablets to other devices around us. Connected and run together they will create a smooth user experience. This year Google made a huge step forward, bringing the Android operating system into cars, homes and smart watches. It means that developers will have to do a lot of homework to come up with new user scenarios involving several devices.