All posts in “Mobile”

Android Oreo vs iOS 11: What’s different and what’s the same?


Google just announced Android Oreo and it packs a handful of new features. Some are at the system level and speed up the system and extend the battery life, while others are features that will change the way users interact with their phone.

A lot of these features should be familiar to iPhone and iPad owners. Normally Apple is the one accused of copying Android, but for Android Oreo, Google lifted a handful of features straight from iOS, while a couple of new functions are hitting Android before iOS.

Notifications

Google cribbed iOS for Android’s new notification scheme. In Android Oreo there will be a little dot in the top-right corner of the app’s icon to represent a notification. This has been a staple in iOS since the first iPhone and third-party Android launchers have long featured the scheme, too.

Google even copied how users interact with the notifications, too. A long press on an icon with a notification badge reveals a pop-up menu that presents the user with several tasks — just like an iOS 3D Touch interaction.

In the end, it’s a win to the user that Google copied this system. These dots have survived numerous iOS revisions for a reason: they work.

New emojis

Both Android Oreo and iOS 11 are getting new emojis because emojis are the future of humanity. And Google completely redesigned their take on emojis for Android Oreo. Gone are the blobs and traditional, round emojis have returned.

Google’s new emojis follow Apple’s move to increase the detail found on the little faces. Yet according to a preview by Apple’s Tim Cook, iOS is about to get emojis that are even more detailed.

This tweet by Apple’s CEO shows emojis with a crazy level of detail. Apple has yet to say when the new characters will hit iOS, but it’s logical to expect them in the general release of iOS 11 and High Sierra.

A smarter copy and paste

Android has supported copy and paste functions from the first release and has often led iOS’s implementation of the user interaction. It’s a critical function, yet the small screen size of phones often means copy and pasting is a clumsy affair. Android Oreo now makes it even easier to copy text and perform an action.

Called Smart Text Selection, when a user highlights, say an address, a link to Maps will be displayed next to the standard actions of copy, cut and paste. If a series of digits that looks like a phone number is highlighted, the phone app will be displayed.

This is sort of like how data detectors work in iOS, but Google’s feature looks to be more comprehensive, and it’s powered by Google’s AI for smarter identification.

Picture-in-picture

Apple added picture-in-picture to the iPad in iOS 9 and Android is now gaining the capability, too. But with Android Oreo, phones can get in on the PiP action, too, which is something missing from the iPhone.

Android Oreo’s PiP mode works as expected. It allows users to minimize a video and let it float on top of the screen while other tasks are performed behind it. This video window can be moved around the screen to best position it.

Right now iOS limits this process to the iPad, though that could change in the future.

Autofill

Android Oreo finally brings the ability to have apps auto-fill user information like user names, passwords and addresses. Password manager apps have long performed some of these functions, but through convoluted means. Apps can now implement the Autofill API so the interaction should be much more seamless.

iOS kind of has a similar function, but it’s mostly reserved for a few apps, like Amazon’s, and it’s not nearly as omnipresent as it is in Safari on the web.

Meet Android Oreo’s all-new emoji


The newest version of Android (Oreo, officially) doesn’t bring a ton of new stuff to the mobile operating system, but it does overhaul something near and dear to most smartphone user’s hearts: Emoji. Google has done away with its “blob” style smileys in favor of more traditional-looking (I guess?) smileys, and emoji that in general look more recognizable when compared with their equivalents on other platforms, including iOS.

Google announced its emoji redesign back at I/O, its annual developer conference, so we’ve had time to grieve the blobs, but it’s still going to hurt for some fans of the offbeat Google pictographs. Google also seems to have good intentions for the redesign — it wants to both unify the style for a library that has grown immensely since its inception and Better represent diversity and inclusivity among its emoji set.

One of its stated goals with this huge overhaul was also to improve communication across platforms. Strange as it might seem to old-school phone users who remember when people used to communicate using voice and text, emoji are actually used often to convey real meaning. Google says it wanted to help avoid miscommunication by helping to make sure emoji are as consistent as possible when used across platforms: Those blobs often seemed to mean very different things from their iOS equivalents.

Android O also includes 69 new emoji, as included in the Unicode 10 emoji set. These are focused on better representation of people and gender, as well as some fun fantasy and sci-fi characters and the likely very popular exploding head emoji.

The samples of emoji above are just a small taste of the complete redesign introduced in Android O, which include more than 2,000 characters in total. If you want a full sampling, go ahead and check out Emojipedia for the whole enchilada, which is something there is no emoji for (yet).

What’s new in Android Oreo

Google officially launched Android Oreo. today. To be honest, it’s probably one of the least exciting operating system releases in recent memory. While the team did plenty of work on the backend, Android Oreo only includes a few noteworthy user interface updates. The highlight of this release is probably the new Notification Dots — and that sums things up pretty well.

Android O is officially called Android Oreo


The latest version of Android is officially here, and it’s called Android Oreo, as most people suspected. Google made the interesting decision to reveal the final name and consumer launch details of Android 8.0 coincidentally with the arrival of the solar eclipse over NYC, which is where it held its launch live stream today.

Google has traditionally used sweet treats for the names of its major Android releases, dating back to Android 1.5, aka “Cupcake.” KitKat (4.4) was the last branded release, with Google typically sticking to generic dessert names wherever possible. Oreo is pretty much the only choice for an “O” dessert that’s broadly and instantly recognizable, however, so it seems like it was almost inevitable.

Here’s what Oreo contains: The foundational cookie sandwich pieces are likely the boot speed and memory improvements Google made by changing the way the operating system works at a basic level to boost Pixel smartphone start times by up to 100 percent, and to improve the efficiency of use of system resources among apps and background tasks.

For the creamy filling, we have picture-in-picture, which allows you to run video apps on top of other tasks, on both phones and tablets. There’s also now Android Instant Apps, which provide access to apps instantly without requiring a download for limited interactivity; notification dots, which tell you when there’s activity within a specific app with a dot in the corner; and autofill for apps, which is like the feature on the web but for individual Android applications.

Android O also ships with more security features, including remote location, locking and wiping with Find My Device, and Google Play Protect, which scans for, detects and automatically deletes malicious apps on a daily basis.

Finally, Google has completely overhauled their emoji set, which is a big change for the primary language of millennial users everywhere.

Android O is rolling out to Pixel and Nexus 5X/6P devices soon, Google says, and anyone on the preview will be updated to the final version, as well. Pixel C and Nexus Player are next up for official updates, too, with other devices to follow shortly.

Featured Image: Bryce Durbin

Google needs to pay Apple a small fortune to remain the default search engine on iOS


Apple and Google could be the biggest frenemies in tech. While they both compete like there’s no tomorrow, they also partner on some very specific deals. For instance, Google is paying a ton of money to remain the default search engine on iOS.

As CNBC first reported, according to a Bernstein analyst, Google could pay as much as $3 billion a year just to remain the default option in Safari.

Business Insider also obtained that Bernstein report and shared the thinking behind this number. Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi starts from a previous court document from 2014 that stated that Google had to pay $1 billion every year to remain the default search engine on iOS back in 2014.

But mobile traffic as well as iPhone sales have been growing steadily since then. If you look at Apple’s services revenue, and in particular licensing revenue, as well as Google’s traffic acquisition costs, that number could be around $3 billion right now.

It shows that Google is still highly dependent from Apple. The vast majority of Google’s revenue comes from ads on search result pages. And Apple controls roughly 18 percent of the smartphone market.

As most users update to the latest version of iOS in just a few months, it doesn’t take long to change the default setting on hundreds of millions of iPhones. Google has no choice but to spend a ton of money to acquire this traffic.

A few years ago, the iPhone shipped with a built-in YouTube app and Google Maps. When Apple realized that Google was becoming a serious competitor with Android, the company removed the YouTube app from iOS and worked on Apple Maps. Apple isn’t afraid of saying no to Google when it comes to iOS features.

Apple could probably not get as much money from Microsoft Bing, Yahoo Search or DuckDuckGo, but Apple doesn’t really need it anyway as it brings more than $45 billion in revenue per quarter now. It’s all about hurting Google’s bottom line.

As John Gruber noted, Apple is in a strong position in this negotiation. While it’s true that DuckDuckGo and Bing have gotten better over the years, it still lags behind when you’re using those search engines in non-English languages.

This incongruous situation is a great example of asynchronous competition. Apple and Google keep innovating and competing as hard as they can on the smartphone front. But they also partner on other aspects and even pay each other. Business schools will turn this situation into a great case study.