Google I/O was this week and had some exciting announcements for Android developers. Let’s start with the format of Google I/O which streamed completely for free on the I/O website and on YouTube. There was essentially one track to tune into throughout the day and each product team released 10-15 short videos all around the same time each day. This was pretty like how WWDC 2020 went, and I have to say I like it! I didn’t have to figure out what to pick, there was a stream that was interesting to me, and then a bunch of well-produced videos ready for me to consume. While overall I liked the format because it fit into my work schedule, I must say that it didn’t “feel” like a conference. There wasn’t really any interaction or anything to pull me in to watch everything.
Google kicked things off with a traditional keynote that was mostly for the press with some cool announcements, but for me I jumped right to the Developer and Android keynotes. Here are some things I took notes on:
1.) Wear OS: The combination of Fitbit, Samsung Tizen, and Wear OS into a single unified platform seems exactly what Android based watches need. I have had an Apple Watch for nearly a year now and as a fitness device that can get notifications here and there it is great.
2.) Material You: Google is all in on Gen Z with pastels! Custom pastel colors that adjust the theme of your phone to pictures…. Yeah, I think this is cool, but also a testing nightmare and I have concerns around accessibility as well. The other concern I have is that this means that your Android app starts to look a lot different than iOS and we have been getting closer and closer to merging these two platforms. I like that it makes Android unique again, but I’m not blown away.