Google kicked off its annual developer conference with news of growing Android use on smartphones and tablets and a preview of the next version of Android.
SAN FRANCISCO - The Android L release, demoed here before a packed hall of developers, is due out this fall and features enhanced performance, 3D effects and animation for a more lifelike interface.
Google’s VP of Android, Chrome and Apps Sundar Pichai, said the L release is “a radically new approach to design, a fresh, bold and new look for Android.” He also said the L release is one of the most comprehensive Google’s ever released as it’s designed to cover a range of form factors from mobile devices to TV sets to wearables and cars.
Google demoed L on smartphones, tablets and Android smartwatches and a prototype of the new androidauto software that is completely voice-enabled and works with Android phones.
“We are building the most advanced voice recognition system in the world,” said Pichai.
Matias Duarte, Google’s VP of Design, said the company has a consistent design vision for Android, Chrome, mobile and other platforms.
In Google’s “Material Design” approach pixels can be programmed to have not just color but to give the appearance of depth and respond to touch in a variety of contexts.
User interface elements will also feature animations. Duarte said “it’s delightful when your touch is rewarded with splashes of virtual ink , like ripples in a pond.”
Android tablet growth
Google has typically talked about Android’s market share, but at I/O Pichai made a point of also discussion usage statistics.
He said in the past year Google has seen Android usage more than double when measuring the amount of active users over 30 days from 530 million the last year to over a billion this year.
“There’s been amazing growth in Android tablets,” said Pichai. Last year Android tablets had 46 percent of the global market (up from 30 percent in 2012). But he said the most recent stats show Android tablets now have 62% market share globally.