Okay, it’s about time for a semi-rant here. Google’s keynote at their developer conference took place earlier today. They announced quite a bit of new features and products along with updates to existing products. But what was notably absent was a new version of Android and some new hardware. We had heard rumors of Android 4.3 and seen devices running Android 4.3 pinging our servers. But nothing out of Google about it. Instead they did something none of us saw coming. And that was updating Android without putting out a new version of Android and waiting 6 months for updates to start rolling out.
So let’s see, we got some updates to the Developer console, some updates to Google Cloud Messaging and other services developers use like Android Studio. On the end-user side we saw Hangouts get announced to replace Google Talk, along with updates to Google Search/Google Now and Google Play Music. Which are all core services inside Android. So basically, Google updated Android without updating it. Is this their new plan to help fight fragmentation? It sure looks like it. We’ve heard so much about fragmentation on Android in the past, and well it’s true. Android is fragmented. In fact, about a third of Android users are still running Gingerbread which is getting close to 3 years old now. These are all updates that Google can push out through the Play Store, skipping the carriers and OEMs.
Of course, I would have loved to see a new version of Android. But all the features we were looking for were still introduced and taken care of today. Including Google Play Games. So do we need another version of Android? Probably not. But it’s always fun to have a new version of Android to play with.
Now onto that Nexus 7. Looks like all those leaks were wrong. We were expecting a next-generation Nexus 7, and possibly some other hardware. But the only hardware we got was a Galaxy S4 running stock Android. Am I dreaming? So no new Nexus device, only a “Google Experience” device coming from Samsung. So does this mean the Nexus line is over? I wouldn’t jump that far. I’d actually say that Google is looking to expand the choices users have when deciding on a stock Android device. Instead of being limited to the Nexus 4, they can now have a Galaxy S4 running stock Android. Pretty good decision on Google and Samsung’s part if I say so myself.
Just like with a new version of Android, I would have loved to be able to pre-order a new Nexus device today. But the fact is, my Nexus 7 is still running great and doesn’t really need to be replaced yet. Maybe we’ll see all three Nexus devices get an update in the fall along with the next version of Android (Key Lime Pie maybe?)
How many of you were disappointed in the lack of end-user announcements today? Let us know in the comments down below.