I realize this post is coming the day after Google’s 2014 I/O keynote, but I just woke up from it. I give Apple a little bit of shit for the way they trot out 26 3rd party developers during their keynotes, but Jesus Christ if Google did not just bore the shit out of people.
So what did they announce? I think the most successful part of the presentation was what they didn’t announce, namely a Google-branded instant paperweight à la the Nexus Q or the Nexus 7. Then again, they did talk a lot about their current crop of shartwatches, but at least there’s a bit of distance between the Google brand and abysmal failure.
Speaking of not talking a lot about something, can we get a shout-out for Google Glass?
I guess we can’t. The darling of concept videos about the future of IRL tech interaction and the one-time twinkle in Sergey’s and Larry’s eyes was only mentioned once in passing. To be fair, it may not be the case that Google is trying to distance itself from what every reasonable person on the planet is panning as a dorkified privacy bomb; it’s entirely possible that someone dangled something shiny in front of the presentation team and they collectively forgot it existed. It’s not like they didn’t have the time to plug it.
Come to think of it, Google seems to be forgetting stuff it’s done at previous I/Os, then repeating it at the next one:
- 2011’s Android Update Alliance, a really, really, really nice way of asking OEMs to abide by Google’s UI guidelines, is now the Android Silver Initiative, which from what I understand added another “really” to the request.
- Google spoke at length about Google Health. Wait – that got killed during one of Google’s “You Get What You Pay for” beta purges 2 years ago. Now it’s Google Fit, not to be confused with Apple’s Health and HealthKit (you can be sure that developers and service providers won’t).
- The Open Automotive Alliance, which was basically a sign-in sheet of everyone making cars and everyone in technology not named Apple now has a name (and not much else): Android Auto. It – surprise! – will be phone based, primarily use voice as the input and will have its own APK. No release date for anything because those aren’t required when you’re trying to freeze the development partners of a competitor. The assumption that any self-respecting manufacturer would give a shit about what Google’s doing in a car when they could partner with Apple is still pretty damn funny.
- And this year’s Rasputin Award goes to Android TV, which is Google’s fourth attempt to break into the living room. I can’t imagine OEMs are too excited about the prospect of getting kicked squarely in the balls five times in a row, but I might’ve learned after the second or third time, so what do I know?
Maybe Google could retain the services of a consultant to help keep their initiatives to 1 or 2 iterations. I happen to know a guy.
But back to somewhat new stuff, chief among the announcements was the new version of Android dubbed L
-Word. There was speculation that the candy-based theme that had come to define major Android releases was dead, but I guess they just haven’t signed the licensing agreement with the L-sweet’s manufacturer like they did when Kit Kat whored for Google the last time around. I, of course, have some suggestions for 5.0:
- Laffy Taffy: A whimsical take that echoes Android’s approach to device compatibility. “Your phone’s only 6 months old and isn’t getting the most recent version of Android? That’s hilarious!”
- Lemonhead: A double entendre that describes a defective product and the facial expression made by someone biting into the candy, which is similar to that of a person who first discovers the amount of crapware installed on her new Android phone.
- Life Saver: Because calling Android a platform secure from malware is as accurate as calling a piece of candy shaped like a life ring thrown to you when drowning a life-saving device.
One thing that is new is the Android Runtime, or ART, the virtual machine that replaces the Dalvik runtime Google…errr…”borrowed” from Oracle. I suppose this will limit the scope of the lawsuit Oracle is ultimately going to win against Google to devices running versions of Android from just the first half of the alphabet.
There was also an overarching theme of “one experience for all devices” which may or may not be a Microsoft slogan. Let’s see how quickly Google recoils once it gets a taste of Redmond’s stunning level of failure in trying to achieve that pipe dream.