What did we learn from Droidcon London?
Android has hosted a conference in London – bringing together the best developers from across the industry. What did we learn from the event?
We bring you the latest Android advances and technologies to emerge from the two-day event. Think lots on Android Wear smartwatches, virtual reality headsets and new apps.
(image source: Droidcon)
Smart wear was big news at the conference this year, and Android watches were the main showpiece. A smartwatch is a mobile device that syncs with your phone to show notifications and messages. You wear it on your wrist like a regular watch.
Android OS is already available across a range of watches from Motorola, LG, Asus, Sony and Samsung.
The tech giant is keen to advance its smart wear offering by making changes to its existing watches – so you have a better overall experience.
Users need a watch that can make it through the day without packing in – so improving battery life was a key topic at the event. Android is looking at rolling out updates that will only send data when necessary and stop regular updates that drain the battery when your watch screen is off.
A great thing about Android Wear watches is that they let you respond to messages from your wrist, even when your phone is in another room. Communication between the phone and watch was another important area – Android is keen to improve the watch’s capacity to receive data and sync across all your devices.
Virtual reality is quickly becoming a household term – Microsoft, Sony and HTC have all developed headsets. Android’s already had a taste of VR with Google’s Cardboard headset, which transforms your phone into a 3D viewer. Can we expect any more developments in future?
(image source: Androidpit.com)
Imaginary Computer, who created Epson’s Moverio BT-200 smart glasses, seems to think so. It showcased its head-mounted wearable games at the conference – a set of binocular see-through glasses that combine virtual and augmented reality to give you a ‘mixed reality’ experience. The glasses include a plugin for Android, similar to ones by Zeiss and Archos, so watch this space.
Android’s Play Store platform has over 1 million apps available to download. So it was no surprise that there was plenty of talk from developers about the future of Android apps.
First up was voice recognition. Personal assistants like Cortana and Ok Google let you speak to your phone to get tasks done, but most apps still require you to type in commands. Android is working on its voice recognition tech so it’s easier for developers to bring us responsive apps.
Although they’ve made it easier to watch our favourite shows when out and about, TV streaming apps are still hampered by buffering time. Guest speaker Sky hosted a talk about optimising streaming – so keep an eye out for smoother-running apps on the way.
There’s nothing more frustrating than apps that trail off when there’s no Wi-Fi or 3G connection. And it seems Android is picking up on this – they’re encouraging developers to create apps that work just as well offline as they do when connected.