With Android 5.0 ‘Lollipop’ set to be unveiled next week at Google I/O, we look at how Google can smash iOS 8 with Android’s new look and features.
With Android KitKat barely nine months old, Google is already getting ready to pull back the veil on Android 5.0 (most likely codenamed ‘Lollipop’), which is expected to debut on June 25 at Google’s big ‘I/O’ conference. And since Apple’s already shown its cards by revealing iOS 8 earlier this month, we reckon Android 5.0 can smash Apple’s baby to bits.
Tim Cook and friends enjoyed a few sly digs at Android’s expense during WWDC 2014, so we reckon Google will relish the chance to flip the bird right back, and these could possibly be some of its killer missiles…
Also check out our iOS 8 vs Android KitKat feature, to see how the current Google OS stands up to Apple’s latest effort.
Image source: Aidan
An all-new look and feel
A large part of Google’s I/O 2014 conference seems to centre on the interface and general functionality, so we’re expecting a lot of changes to Android’s overall look and feel.
Something we saw in a recent iOS concept video was the ability to pinch apps out into full-on widgets, which temporarily take over a large part of the screen. This could work well on Android 5.0 too, to avoid cluttering all of your desktops with widgets that constantly suck battery power, and are only occasionally glanced at.
We’d also like a universal multi-tasking feature, which could take some cues from LG’s excellent Q-Slide tool. This allows you to run a video faintly in the background, for instance, while working on an email or browsing the web in the foreground. With many Android phones now sporting 5+ inch screens, it’s the perfect time to get proper multi-tasking on the go.
The ultimate universal chat
We’ve already seen how Apple has updated its messaging service, so now you can send GPS alerts, photos, short video clips and so on in an iMessage session, and chat in a group. And it all syncs to your Mac when you get back to your desk.
However, Apple’s new features can only be used when chatting with other iPhone users, and we can’t imagine there are many groups of mates who all rock Apple’s handset. This is where Google has the advantage. By updating its Hangouts app to make it more user friendly and feature-packed, and integrating it fully into the Android experience, it could easily be the ultimate universal chat tool (a-ha!).
With a reliable video streaming service, better integration of texting and picture messaging, and the ability for groups to manipulate documents in real-time, Hangouts could be something truly awesome – and it’s available on iOS too, not just Android.
An assistant finally worth using
It’s all well and good having phone assistants, but how often do you really use them? We’ve only seen Siri used once in real life, on a train by a group of teenagers, who were testing out what swear words she recognised.
However, Apple has added some features into Siri which are actually genuinely useful. Now you can call her up in a car, for instance, for full hands-off use while driving. And with Shazam support, you can quickly work out what that song on the radio is. You know, the one that goes ‘dumm dummm dummy dummy derrrrrr’.
So Google needs to give Google Now a kick up the arse and make it an indispensable tool, by adding some killer new features. Full integration with third-party wearable accessories would be a good start, so you can issue commands while on the move just by lifting your wrist and speaking into your Sony Smartwatch. And some smart third-party app control would also be awesome, for instance allowing you to manipulate your household electronics with a quick command (“make it warmer”, “turn on all lights”, etc.)
We’d also like to see more personality, like Microsoft’s Cortana, so we can fall in love with our phone just like Joaquin Phoenix in Her. If she sounded like Scarlett Johansson and purred seductively every time we snapped a selfie, then all the better.
Ditch the ‘Okay, Google’ schtick too, and let people come up with their own wake-up commands – we’ve already seen this in an Audience demo, which also showed how your dulcet tones could be a great replacement for fingerprint security…
Voice security and personal profiles
The iPhone has fingerprint scanning, but we think voice security could prove just as popular, and even easier to use, not to mention even more secure.
Speech recognition technology is now at the stage where your phone can learn your voice perfectly, and only unlock when you command. It’s always on in the background, yet drains almost no power, so your battery life isn’t ruined as a result.
Image credit: LIGHTPLAY
And even better, up to five users could save their own individual profiles onto a single Android phone, with their voice unlocking to their own personal apps and settings. Great news if your kids are always nicking your mobile.
Features already found on iOS
Android 5.0 Lollipop should also help to bring Google’s OS up to date with features already found on iOS, to close whatever gap still exists.
For instance, we’d be shocked if there was no support for 64-bit processing, ahead of Qualcomm’s new batch of chips hitting Android phones later in 2014. This means Android 5.0 phones will be fully future-proof, and when mobiles start packing in 4GB and more of memory, Android handsets can take full advantage.
So, will Google Android 5.0 beat Apple iOS 8?
Only time will tell, and of course these are just a few of our own ideas, but what do you reckon? Are there any other features Android needs to smash iOS in the mobile wars? Or has iOS 8 already won this battle before it’s even begun? Let us know in the comments below.
Now check out our complete run-down of the very best iOS 8 features.