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What to expect for Android in 2014 & beyond
In 2007, Android was revealed with an air of skepticism. It was marketed as an open standard which would take on Apple and iOS. Six years and nine sweet-related names later, Android is at the pinnacle of mobile technology and it’s only going to get better in 2014.
Whether you prefer head-based or wrist-based wearables, we can all agree that while 2013 was a breakthrough year for wearable technology, the products were anything but breathtaking. Android 4.4 KitKat brought support for low-end hardware, and that’s certainly going to help wearable devices improve in the performance aspect.
The oft rumored Google smart watch might just see the light of day in 2014, and Google Glass is set to be released to consumers some time in 2014. Samsung will look to release the second generation Galaxy Gear next year as well and LG is also rumored to be getting in on the game in 2014 with the G Arc.
Let’s hope that this second wave of smart watches fixes the issues consumers have experienced, and will finally be products that actually make you want to wear them. Google Glass continues to draw considerable curiosity and interest, and represents the first generation what is likely to become incredibly advanced, contextually aware, and hopefully a more effortless systems with which we can interact.
64-bit, bigger, higher resolution displays and more
Despite many questioning the usefulness of a 64-bit processor in devices which have less than 4GB of RAM, these processors are coming and there’s little that we can do to stop them. Qualcomm has already unveiled a 64-bit processor, however, that’s only bound for low or mid range smartphones. Samsung is also rumored to be bringing 64-bit processors out with the new Exynos processors, and it’s only a matter of time before 64-bit becomes a staple of Android.
It seems as if display resolutions will continue to increase on the mobile side of technology as smartphones push towards 2560×1440 displays. Oppo has already confirmed a 2k, 5.5-inch display for the Oppo Find 7 and it’s very possible for more OEMs to join in on the PPI race. While 1080P displays have proven themselves to be plenty sharp for most people, OEMs seem keen to push the envelope yet again, with 2k+ displays being their next signature upgrade of choice. We do already know that 4K display capable SoC’s from Qualcomm in the form of the Snapdragon 805 are coming to 2014’s flagships, so it’s all within the realm of possibility.
Another display related technology which will grow during 2014 is flexible display technology. We received an early glimpse into their progress with the Samsung Galaxy Round and LG G Flex, and while consumer response was tepid to put it mildly, Samsung and LG have already committed to the new technology. Expect flexible displays and flexible batteries to become an even bigger feature of 2014. More very technical data, here.
Next version of Android
Expect 64-bit support to be high on the agenda and Google Now to continue to become a bigger part of Android.
Whether it be Android 4.5 or the next leap — numbers wise — to Android 5.0, a new version of Android is coming. Expect 64-bit support to be high on the agenda and Google Now to continue to become a bigger part of Android, too. Though, since we are months away from a release, anything we could tell you would be based purely on conjecture. Google is likely to continue its growth velocity by getting Android into the hands of more people, and so it’s likely they will continue to refine the code base to get Android working well on even less powerful hardware. Further to this, Google is likely to further try and advance the roll out of its services to more countries across the globe. In the case of Google Now, for example, many countries have yet to been graced by its contextually impressive creepiness.
We should expect two Android releases this year, one to accompany a Nexus 7 refresh mid-way through the year and another to accompany the next version of the Nexus 5 – what some refer to as the Nexus 6 – later in the year.
More Android based consoles
The Ouya was the poster child of 2013’s Android based console revolution and while the next-gen console wars are certain to take away some attention from the next wave of Android consoles, there will still be some room for announcements. The Ouya 2 has already been confirmed and expect a new Nvidia Shield to showcase this year’s new Tegra SoC.
More for less
The Moto G shocked everybody with its downright absurd price to specs ratio, and expect this trend to continue. As smartphone specs continue to improve, the latest and greatest specs from a year ago are trickling down to low-end smartphones to provide a better user experience for those who can’t afford the newest Samsung or HTC flagship.
The Moto G has also put some pressure on Samsung and other OEMS to improve their low-end offerings, and while they have yet to respond, a significant amount of Moto G’s sold will certainly catch their attention.
As the biggest mobile platform in the world, and a flexibility which allows it to be implemented pretty much anywhere, Android has nowhere to go but up and 2014 will look to continue that upwards trajectory.
For those of you in the mood for a look backwards at the year, check out the biggest Android news of 2013. 2013 was full of unexpected twist and turns for Android and expect to see some new pieces of technology that we’ve yet to lay our eyes upon.
Here’s to a Happy New Year for Android, and for all of you.