This year’s Google I/O developer conference was a massively Android-centric affair. The OS dominated the two-and-a-half-hour keynote presentation, which saw a new platform version – Android “L” – previewed to developers, alongside new form factors in Android Wear, Android Auto and Android TV.
It really does seem as if Android is ‘winning’ inside Google. Android on phones, TVs, cars, and watches – the only exception here is laptops, but even those are getting sort-of Android because Android application will run on Chrome OS. You have to wonder how long it’ll take for Chrome OS itself to more or less turn into Android.
The second interesting point that became very clear during Google I/O is that the company is taking control away from OEMs. OEMs cannot alter Android TV and Android Wear’s user experience, and that’s a huge customer win. The downside here is that there’s a very real possibility that these platforms won’t become part of AOSP, ruling out things like CyanogenMod TV or OmniROM Wear.
Third, while it’s clear that Google is trying to exert more control of phone/tablet Android too, it’s still not clear how far they’re willing to go. There was nothing on ‘Android Silver’, and the fact that the company confirmed that the Nexus programme will not go away means they still see a need for OEM-less Android – which would not be necessary if Google managed to get the same kind of control over phones/tablets as it will have over TV/Wear.