Google just had their developer conference this past week. They announced their new flagship tablet device the Nexus 7 which was pretty compelling. Less compelling, was the Nexus Q a kind of cloud based Apple TV competitor.
The two things I found most significant but possibly overlooked were Google Now and the PDK.
When companies like Google and Apple release an operating system, they also expect independent software developers to create software for these devices. In order to help these developers create great software, they release an SDK, or software development kit. This helps them create compatible software that runs smoothly and uses all the latest features of the OS.
One of the biggest complaints about Android is how when a consumer buys a device that isn’t an official Google supported device (one of the Nexus line) say from HTC, LG or Motorola, often the big software OS updates are very very slow to come. Google is trying to get around this by release a new PDK – platform developer kit. The hope is that by release the OS drivers and software to the hardware manufacturers early and in a neat package like this, updates will come to these third party hardware devices sooner.
Second was something consumers will notice more directly. Google introduce a new features with their 4.1 Jelly Bean OS update – Google Now. First, the introduction video from the conference:
and a consumer directed “what is Google Now” video:
This takes the idea of making your phone your personal digital assistant to another level. Instead of focusing on direct queries, the software now pays attention to what you normally do and tries to anticipate your needs and address them. It watches teams you care about and keeps you updated on scores and standings. It notices your daily commute and tries to warn you to take different routes if there is an accident – before you even ask. Really really neat stuff. Apple should emulate and integrate features like this into iOS through siri and the notifications tray.