The statistics are impressive, and have long surpassed Apple: Google Android has 1 billion active monthly users. One company initiative is Android One, a sub-$100 platform for roll-out to the world’s 5 billion currently without smartphones. The major new change with Android is the next version of the operating system, now having progressed up to the letter ‘L’ but whose candy-name like Kit-Kat for ‘K’ has not yet been announced (Lollipop? Licorice? Laffy-taffy?). L’s look and feel, and “material design” concept is different. It is much more like Windows with moving, self-resizing squares per priority and current activity, and 3D layers so some on-screen objects persist.
Some of the most innovative announcements pertained to Android Wear, wearable computing platforms like the smart watch and Glass. Android Wear feature notifications from the phone and tablet directly bridged to watch, and novel glanceable contextual apps developed specifically for wearables, for example being able to tap your phone to order a pizza or a Lyft ride. Android Auto is another expected announcement, with 40 partners in the Open Auto Alliance, and 5 car manufacturers planning to launch vehicles with Android Auto in 2015.