IT News Weekly Recap – Google I/O 2018 Highlights, Android P Beta & More

Google Releases Android Things 1.0 – The Ultimate IoT OS

Android Things IoT Board

  • Android Things is the system we all know and love but designed to work on IoT devices – smart TVs, speakers, smart home devices, etc.
  • Google hopes the Android Things will provide a universal operating system layer for all of those diverse devices, putting them inside one ecosystem.
  • Android Things will also support new system-on-modules (SoMs) that are certified long-term support.
  • The first devices running Android Things 1.0 will hit the market around the beginning of 2019.

Android P Beta Is Here

Android P Beta Launching Screen

  • At the I/O 2018 developer conference, Google has unveiled the first Android P beta.
  • The biggest change to Android P is the new navigation approach. In the upcoming version, navigation is based on gestures and dynamic buttons that automatically adjust according to the context. For example, the back button will appear only when there’s an option to go back. The launcher also got updated with some new AI sorting features.
  • Android P includes 2 new battery saving features that sound familiar but were completely overhauled for the update – Adaptive Battery and Adaptive Brightness. Both make use of AI to learn your habits and predict the best screen/battery settings for each scenario.
  • App Actions and Slices are the two other smart features Google announced for Android P. Your phone will predict which actions you may like to perform next and provide you with little shortcuts to those functions across the system.
  • Google has also announced a Digital Wellbeing initiative that focuses on fighting phone addiction. For example, Android P now supports an improved ‘Do not disturb’ mode.
  • Google P’s final version is expected to roll out by August 2018.

Duplex Controversy & Google Assistant Improvements

Google Assistant Keynote Presentation

  • I/O 2018 revealed additional six new voices for the Google Assistant AI service.
  • Future updates will concentrate on making the AI interactions more natural. Users will be able to ask follow up questions without saying activation phrases like “Hey Google” or “OK Google”.
  • At the conference, CEO Sundar Pichai has also presented a creepy demo for the new automated voice calls feature. In the demo, Google Assistant has called real people to order various services and actually tricked them into thinking that was a genuine human interaction.
  • The technology that enables Google Assistant to make appointments over the phone is called Google Duplex. The company will start testing this AI-based voice openly later this summer.
  • The Duplex presentation has already raised ethical concerns regarding AI transparency.

Google Maps Get AR Tricks

Google Maps AR Directions

  • AR directions are coming to Google Maps with the upcoming camera integration. Google has already showcased how the real-world navigation will work with directional AR arrows and street name hints displayed over the camera view.
  • Additionally, the app will bring up virtual info cards listing information about businesses and restaurants nearby, helping you find new places around you.
  • Google has also introduced the new Visual Positioning System. The VPS will assist GPD via your phone’s camera and Google’s data to analyze your surroundings and pinpoint a more accurate location.
  • Plus, Google Maps is adding personalized recommendations based on the places you visit.

After Two Years, Qualcomm Finally Launches New Smartwatch Chips

New Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear Chip

  • Finally, a little pleasant addition to the news from Google – Qualcomm is working on a successor to the famous Snapdragon Wear 2100, which currently powers all of the top Android Wear smartwatches.
  • The new chipset promises longer battery life and smaller form factor.
  • Watches with the new Snapdragon Wear chips should become available by the next holiday season.

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