Android Evolved: Recapping Android, Wear, Android Auto, And Android TV

Google had a whopper of an I/O conference last week, and if there was one prevailing theme from the whole event, it is this: Android has evolved. Already a mature mobile OS that is one of the two dominant operating systems in a huge and still-growing mobile market, Android is officially not just for phones and tablets. It’s on your wrist, in your car, and in your living room.

Suddenly, the smartwatch is evolving. We had an inkling that this would happen when we first caught wind of Android Wear back in March, and we’re just about to be inundated with Android Wear-based smartwatches from all the usual consumer tech companies, including LG, Samsung, Motorola, and ASUS.

Android Wear

Android Wear is an extension of Android that is a companion to devices running Android 4.3 and higher. It connects to your smartphone and uses a pretty and clear UI to give you a variety of information such as the time of day, messages, and alerts. You can also see traffic, send messages, call yourself a cab, and all manner of other uses involving Google Now and the “OK Google” voice command.

The idea is really to reduce the amount of time you spend pulling out your phone, entering a password, swiping, and whatnot. Thus, Android Wear devices really are a convenient extension of your smartphone.

Android Auto

Android Auto brings a similar experience to your car. Like Apple and others looking to bake some more intelligence into our vehicles, Google is partnering with many automakers to put Android-powered infotainment in the cockpit. Obviously, the killer application is Google Maps with navigation, but there are other useful features as well, including viewing notifications, using voice commands, and more. Google expects to have Android Auto capabilities in cars on dealer lots by the close of the year.

Android TV

Android TV is the next logical evolution of Chromecast, the intriguing streaming stick that Google unveiled last year. It’s a software offering that brings the Android experience to TVs and set-top boxes. “You can use voice search to find a live TV show, a good flick from Google Play, or a music video on YouTube,” reads a press release. You can also play Android games with a gamepad, which is a huge selling point for the platform, and like Chromecast, Google Cast technology is built in. Look for Android TV on a nunber of products later this year.

Finally, another important piece of the Android pie is coming for emerging markets with Android One, an affordable handset that will launch in India this fall for less than $100 with more countries in line.

We have a great many screens in our lives these days, and Google wants every single one of them to show you Android.