Dramatic announcements are ubiquitous in a tech world that’s ever more cloyed in expectations. But Google’s October 4 event was still pretty exciting as these things go, being the official presentation of the company’s medium-term plan: its new Andromeda OS aims to unify Android and Chrome OS, and will attempt once and for all to make the jump to desktop devices alongside the new line of Pixel devices.
What Andromeda is and why it’s a big deal
With eight years under its belt, Android has a market share that’s unbeatable at the global level and is still growing nonstop. In the US it’s used by 77% of smartphones, way ahead of iOS, and keeping in mind that that country is one of the bastions of Apple’s market, it’s clear that nobody can really hold a candle to Google. With these credentials it seems quite logical that they’d try to give Microsoft a run for their money on their own territory. Especially considering how little traction the Chromebook has gotten.
The Andromeda announcement might seem a rather hasty one, as the latest indicators point to the first device using it (a 12-inch laptop/tablet to be called the Pixel 3 Laptop) being launched possibly at the end of 2017. But don’t let the name Pixel slip too far from your mind, as it’s going to be the main brand promoted from now on (as Nexus has been the synonym for Google quality in recent years). Indeed, the Google Pixel smartphone is on the verge of arriving, to shortly follow its official announcement.
The October 4 event
The anticipation surrounding the event held today (Tuesday, October 4) was rather alleviated by the – intentional or not – leaks of recent weeks. To start, due to some overly impetuous phone operators, we’d already discovered the specs and features of the aforementioned Google Pixel. The two models, one with a 5-inch screen and the other with 5.5 inches, will constitute Google’s high-end offering and incorporate the spanking-new Android Nougat by default. (And we haven’t even seen the first big Nougat update, as the operating system has only officially rolled out on some half-dozen devices.)
But this isn’t the only new piece of hardware to expand the family. Rumors prior to the event were confirmed with the announcement of Google WiFi, a user-friendly home router meant to serve as the perfect complement for Google Home (presented in May). This voice-controlled device will do the same thing that Google Now has done till now.
And as if all that weren’t enough, we were also introduced to the new Chromecast Ultra with 4K support.
But to get back to Andromeda, what’s clear is that Google’s plan is to prune away in one fell swoop the segmentation on Android and the chaos of manufacturers and distributors modifying their software with layers of customization. Does Android’s future lie in greater centralized control? We hope not, as the unilateral distribution of software goes directly against everything we believe in here at Uptodown. What’s clear is that things could change drastically in the near future – and that the company’s capacity to surround that transition with as little drama as possible for the millions of Android users should prove key to its success.