[accordion][acc title=”Meet Your New Mobile Community Editor!”]Hey Voxxians! I’m Patroklos, and this is my first piece of writing as Voxxed Community Mobile Editor! Every week, I’ll be sharing fresh news, articles, interviews and tutorials around Android, iOS, windows phone and everything that has to do with this fascinating world that moves faster than Lucky Luke’s shadow! A few words about me. I’m from Greece, and I have more than 15 years experience of software engineering in large scale enterprise systems and mobile development. My first baby steps in mobile applications were made back to the 2005 with Sybase’s PocketBuilder. Many of you have never heard of that tool, but it was one of the first platforms for building mobile applications during that era in the past. A lot of things have changed since then, but my passion for mobile remains the same. [/acc][/accordion]
What could be a better topic for the beginning of the year than the expectations of Android for 2015? Normally this would be yet another overview of Google’s plans – but something deep inside me tells me that this year a lot of things will change for Android.
Google seems to be in a bad shape. Their stock market share has fallen almost 20% in the last few months, and a lot of people are seeing this as the first sign of another “Microsoft” story. The truth is that, although many people consider them to be one of the most high-tech companies in the world, Google’s income is mostly around advertisements. So were were the other sources of income for Google apart from ads and campaign management in general, last year? Yes, you guessed correctly: Android hit 83.6% market share, while iOS and the other competitors slid down the rankings (even though iPhone 6 gave a temporary boost to Apple). In my opinion, 2015 will be the year of Android – and in this piece, I’ll explain why.
The Next ‘Sweet’ Release?
Android Lollipop was a huge release – not only because it added new features and capabilities for developers, but also because it included some new APIs or Android Wear, Android Car and Android TV. Oh yes, Android is everywhere. Well, not literally everywhere yet, but it will be in a few months from now.
The next major release (5.1) is slated for February. It will be mostly a bug fixing release so I doubt that we will find it under a different name. Hopefully this release quiet the many voices complaining about the number of bugs in 5.0 and 5.0.1. At the same time, we should expect to see, maybe in the second or third quarter, the next ‘M’ version. Will it be numbered 5.5 or 6.0? Well I guess it depends on how many new APIs will be delivered, especially for Android Car and Android TV, and how Google wants to promote it. We can already start guessing the name. I bet on: Muffin!
Android Auto Revs Up
Personally, I’m really excited to see the evolution of Android Auto – the official answer to Apple’s CarPlay. 28 car manufacturers have already decided to integrate it with new car models in 2015, including Volvo, Opel, Audi, Nissan, and Volkswagen. Some of them will offer it as an after-sales service. Oh yes – you won’t need to buy a new car to get your hands on this, as long as your vehicle is new enough. In short, Android Auto projects apps and services onto the car’s screen, so all developers have to do is to extend their existing applications to work on the car. I can see at least two great use cases for this: audio and messaging. Most Android users use their phone even while driving to listen to music or radio, and thanks to Android Auto, they can extend these features directly on their car. Messaging includes cool stuff like displaying notifications, playback messages and reply back by voice.
Android TV Takes Over
Android TV is the Nth attempt by Google to become part of our living-room. It’s the successor of Google-TV, but now it seems that it’s taking the right steps. Sony announced that most of the new models in 2015 will be based on Android’s TV platform and the latest Android SDK provides some new APIs to make your existing apps compatible with the new platform. The new Sony Bravia is already out, and if it becomes a success, I expect that more manufacturers will follow Sony’s example. I wouldn’t be surprised if it became the next standard and the Android TV because the default smart phone platform.
Google Play Price Hikes for Devs
Last but not least – we all know that Android developers pay a lot less than iOS developers in order to use Google Play. Now that Google has started to seeing that people are using their search engines less, meaning less revenue from ads, they need a different source of income. Don’t be surprised if you see developer fees start to look a lot like those that Apple charges for their App Store. To be honest, if Google decides to move like this, I expect to increase the level of professionalism of Google Play and reach half of the overall experience that a developer gets from Apple. We should expect real application reviews, rejection of inappropriate content and all these goodies that iOS users and developers enjoy. Maybe they will charge differently for apps compatible with Android TV or Android Car? We can’t say for certain – but something will change on that field.
One thing is for sure. I can’t wait for the new Android integrations to be available on the market, and of course I’m already playing around with the new APIs. Google on the receiving end of flame wars from all-ends, but I don’t think the company will be the “new Microsoft”. The future is mobile and apps – and they got the message!