Google Looks Ahead With 2020 Vision

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Google Looks Ahead With 2020 Vision

With 2020 upon us there’s surely been an influx of not only new years resolutions, but new decade resolutions.  Sure, you may have already fallen off on a couple of them, but we’re all looking to make this decade a better one than the last.  Well, resolutions aren’t just for the individual.  Google is looking forward to 2020 as another opportunity to grow and create a new world of tech.  Starting with Google I/O 2020.

Revisiting 2019:

The company’s annual developer conference takes place every spring, and this year will be no different with the dates being set for May 12-14.  Last year was full of useful talks sharing new advances in the ways we can envision, build, and share apps.  And beyond the scope of Android there were demonstrations of impressive advances on tech such as Google Assistant.

A lot has happened since 2019’s conference.  Android has moved on to Android X and away from the classic dessert naming convention.  New tech like the Pixel 4 and old tech like Google Glasses came back into being.  And languages like Flutter grew to gain more widespread adoption.  Here are some of the things we should prep to see continuing this tradition in 2020:

Android Hardware:

Odds are we’ll be seeing a Pixel 4a at Google I/O 2020.  We saw the 3a last year, and after hearing about how the 4 didn’t quite live up to expectations it only seems natural for a budget version to emerge.  The price will likely be lower due to weaker specs, but I would bet the 4a still runs on the newest Android version as is tradition with other Pixel devices.

I’m not that excited about the Pixel 4a though, what really captures my interest is the possibility of a Pixel watch.  We’ve seen Apple absolutely dominate the wearables market over the past few years with Samsung making a small dent as well. But loyal Android fans have been waiting for quite some time to see a watch developed by Google emerge into the mix.  If this ends up being revealed, you can be sure it will be awe inspiring.

Android Software:

And with both of these new pieces of hardware you can be sure that they will come loaded with the new software…meaning Android 11 of course.  Very little is known about it at this time, but Google has been steering towards higher security and privacy for their users over the past few rounds of Android.  With new permissions coming into the mix and higher consolidation between apps information is guarded more tightly than ever.  I’m sure Android 11 will crack down even harder on this.

But phones aren’t all about security.  We want the user to actually enjoy their experience, so it’s natural to assume we’ll see a couple new features as well.  With things like multi resume and picture in picture emerging over the past few years it will be interesting to see what else Google can bring to the table.

All the Rest:

                There is of course more the Google I/O than Android, that’s just where our focus at RootJunky tends to gravitate.  In an ever changing landscape of Machine Learning and Augmented Reality we’re sure to see some great advances on both of these fronts.  Google Assistant is probably going to come in stronger than ever with another killer demonstration showing how well it can react to a user’s voice commands.

And Augmented Reality will see its next wave of realistic lighting and other effects.  Personally I think we might see some interesting interactions with outside forces. Imagine a character being blown around on your screen because it’s actually windy outside.  The sky is the limit when you get creative with it!

Mark your calendars for Google I/O 2020, it’s going to be a good one. And be sure to let us know in the comments below what you’re most excited to see this year.

Pixel 4 Leaks Become Floodgates

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Pixel 4 Leaks Become Floodgates

Over the past few years leaks of new phones have become a commonplace trend.  It almost has to happen nowadays in order for anticipation to build up.  But the Pixel 4 is shattering this trend.  Almost every other day it seems a new leak is springing up.  Let’s look at some of the recent unveilings:

Videos Galore:

This week we saw an influx of videos revealing details about the new device.  One of these was from the YouTube channel AnhEm TV showing almost 7 minutes of details about what the Pixel 4 looks like.  I’d recommend watching it for yourself, but it covers things pretty well showing that the phone has a square shaped camera module similar to what we saw on the iPhone 11 just 2 days ago.

Another video from the channel Rabbit TV shows off the three colors we’re expected to see soon.  These include black, white, and to mix things up a bright orange.  In addition, it seems that the phone does not wear the traditional Pixel fingerprint scanner.  As to what this means for face id or on screen fingerprinting we can’t say, but I would personally LOVE to see some print scanning available anywhere on the touch screen.

Cameras Sell Phones:

I think it’s safe to say most of us are not professional photographers, yet cameras have become one of the biggest selling points for new phones.  On Tuesday Apple spent a good portion of their iPhone 11 presentation fixated on the camera (in fact it was almost all they talked about), and every time a new Pixel comes out the camera is marketed heavily as a use feature of the phone.  The Pixel line always has top rated cameras so don’t get me wrong I’m excited to see what’s in store, but it seems some people forget there are other things to a phone!

But that rant aside, on Monday this week we got a video of a video showing off some new camera fun.  A recording of a Google ad marketing their phone being made “The Google way” demonstrated that the phone would be useful in low light environments again.  But on top of tis you “Even get the stars”.  The new camera will have an astrophotography mode designed to help take pictures of the night sky.  So whether you’ll actually be utilizing it or not, the camera is sure to be very impressive.

Coming Soon to a Store Near You:

Google isn’t expected to do an official announcement of the Pixel 4 until October, but it feels like we’re pretty much there right now.  As more details of the new device come out we’ll keep things updated here, so be sure to stay tuned!

What are your thoughts on the Pixel 4 and it’s leaks?  Let us know in the comments below.

Android Q Swipes Into Beta 6

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Android Q Swipes Into Beta 6

Android Q has been out since March steadily progressing through its betas.  This week Q hit its last step in the refinement process with the release of the final beta 6.  The official release is “a few weeks away” at this point, but if you’re interested in exploring Q early there’s no better time than the present!

Changes With 6:

Spoiler Alert: there aren’t that many changes in the new version.   Final APIs for developers were locked down in beta 4, so 5 and this new version are mostly bug fixes and small tweaks.   But one big change is with gesture navigation.  The back gesture has received a bit of a makeover.  Here’s what Google had to say about it:

“We’ve made further refinements to Gesture Navigation in Beta 6 based on user feedback. First, to ensure reliable and consistent operation, there’s a 200dp vertical app exclusion limit for the Back gesture. Second, we’ve added a sensitivity preference setting for the Back gesture.”

To non-developers the 200dp may not make sense, but the concept is fairly simple.  Apps have the option to opt out of the back button gesture navigation, but only to an extent.  They’re only allowed to stop the back gesture for 200 “density-independent pixels”.  The idea behind this is to make things easier if you’re in an app that involves horizontal scrolling.  We don’t want a user to accidentally go back when they’re just trying to scroll through a list.

Feedback on Gestures:

Another somewhat confusing part of the left-side gesture recognition is that some apps have drawers you can open from this side.  On trick you can use to view these instead of accidentally going back in the OS is swiping to the right but also up at a 45 degree angle.  Not really something you should have to distinguish between as it feels like bad design, but that’s how things currently are.

Google says that feedback has played a lot into the gesture changes they’ve made with Q, and hopefully it works out in a manner that feels fluid and easy to use.  Every beta seems to have had a different version of gestures, so Google only has so long to get it all right!

There are currently dozens of different navigation styles in the Android ecosystem thanks to the fact that not all phones are made in house by Google.  But this is about to0 change with the release of Q.  Google announced at I/O this year that gesture navigation will be standardized and that other phones must adhere to it in order to run Android OS.  This will be a very welcome change for anyone who has felt lost swapping from one phone to another.  But it’s also high stakes to make sure that things are done right.

Getting Q Today:

System images for this beta are currently available for all Pixel devices.  If you have one then you’ll be running on Q soon enough, but if you’re looking to play around right away then go set it up and let us know what you think in the comments below.  We also still don’t know what Q’s snack name is.  It’s probably the most important part of any software, so stay tuned for that!

 

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