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What to expect from Google in 2017

Google is one of the bigger players in our universe, even the biggest, because behind its big shiny doors dwells the Android operating system. The decisions the company makes out at the Googleplex in Mountain View always have a direct influence on what happens in the entire consumer electronics ecosystem. We are therefore excitedly anticipating what Google will bring to the table this year.

2016 was quite the year for Google. The bell tolled for the Nexus line, much to the devastation of some of the series’ fans, and the company brought us the Pixel and Pixel XL instead. Android update fragmentation also continues to be a problem that Google doesn’t seem keen on mending with only 0.4 percent of devices with the latest Android update, Nougat. Just 26.3 percent have Marshmallow, which was first made available in October 2015, so it's not like there hasn't been enough time. Android Wear is also in the picture, but is being outsmarted by the Tizen OS for Samsung smartwatches. The purchase of Cronologics will likely not do much to help their cause either. But, that was then and this is now. 2017, what do you have in store?

A new Pixel

Perhaps Google will unleash a brand new Pixel, though it’s only a guess seeing as the big G made no promise to come out with a new device every year. It is probable though. The Pixel and Pixel XL were only released in select countries, which was largely due to the fact that Google Assistant is only available in certain languages.

Contrary to what we originally thought, the Pixel isn’t 100 percent Google either. The processor, for example, is a Snapdragon 820 made by Qualcomm. However, Google has made it clear that it wants to continue down the road of independence and one day, perhaps soon, the next Pixel will be made entirely by the company alone, this being the key to success as assessed by some financial analysts. The idea of creating a smartphone made totally from one manufacturer’s materials seems like a very idealistic project, one that might be harder to realize in practice.

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What will the Pixel have in store? I personally hope for a much more interesting design, a point that disappointed me in regards to the first Pixel, though this is also a matter of taste. There’s no doubt that we would also see a more powerful processor, more RAM, a better GPU, a better camera (or even a dual one) etc. What I hope for the most is that Google will present new innovations in its next devices, and not simply improve what exists already. For example, a foldable screen, excellent virtual or augmented reality capabilities, better and faster connectivity with connected homes, machine learning, health features etc. Others might rather see fewer innovations, with improvements on what is there already, and with that, a more inexpensive price. Also, many users, wary of Google’s omnipresence on smartphones and how the company uses their data, would want to see less of Google on the phone in general. That is the "raison d'être" of the Pixel, so don’t count on it.

A more advanced operating system (Andromeda?)

Google’s hardware doesn’t end with Pixel. The company is no stranger to the world of tablets and PCs, so it’s not unlikely that Google might present something that would work for one of these areas, or something that would work as a common platform for both devices. This is where Andromeda comes in, a multi-system platform that we hear so much about but don’t ever see. It would work on all types of devices, and would be the future of Google’s operating system. The real question is though, will we see Andromeda surface in 2017 or is this only a distant dream?

If Andromeda doesn’t show its face this year, we’ll definitely be seeing the next Android update, Android O. So far, we’ve heard nothing about this update, but if Google wants to work towards being more independent, the company might come up with some functions, graphics or applications that are just for Google phones and not for the Android operating system available on other manufacturer devices.

Samsung galaxy s7 edge nougat
2016 saw Android Nougat, while 2017 would see Android O. O for Oreo? © AndroidPIT

A step forward in virtual reality

Daydream (what is it exaclty, you might ask) opened a new world to Android users, but for the time being the technology behind virtual reality is unfortunately still limited. The main obstacle is that VR causes some people to experience headaches or nausea, which is actually ironic seeing as VR is also used to reduce pain in some instances. The user experience needs to be improved overall.

The user experience in VR needs to be improved overall

Another setback is that there is still a limited number of VR apps and games compatible with Daydream. In theory, the solution is simple, developers just need work in this direction. But why would they make the effort if there are only a few users that use VR at the moment. On the other hand, there are few users because there are few games. A vicious circle. Perhaps Google and other manufacturers pushing VR should pay developers to create more apps in the future.

The third biggest problem is, of course, the price. To make use of VR, you not only have to get a high-end smartphone that meets all the technical and software requirements to be Daydream-ready, you also need to buy a VR headset and a controller.

Other Google projects

Google also likes to undertake all sorts of projects aside from smartphones and web-related areas. Google is dabbling in some scientific research in order to develop in health and wellness areas. For example, people suffering from diabetes would profit from Google’s connected contact lenses. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been recent news about the project, and seeing as it is such an interesting and heartfelt endeavor, we hope that Google will continue working on it.

A new version of Google Home

This will be the year of artificially intelligent assistants, and Google Home is right up there in the bunch. The only problem is that most people don’t have the compatible hardware in their homes. Google should try to branch out and create more uses for Google Home that would reach a broader audience.

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Google will also likely make more advancements with Google Assistant this year, which could come to more devices as well, other than the Pixel and Pixel XL. We also hope to see some more apps from Google, providing they are actually useful, unlike what we saw with Google Duo and Google Allo that came out this past year. Their usability and reason for existing were questioned by us and users alike.

What do you hope to see from Google this year? Do you think the company will bring us some exciting advancements prior to Google I/O 2017 (Google I/O 2016) in May?

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  • Hope that the Pixel 2 is also built by hTc.

  • cjpp78 2 months ago Link to comment

    No device is 100% from the company with Its ppl name on it. The iPhone has components from many companies like Samsung, Qualcomm and LG. Only in recent years did they start making their own processor for the phone

  • Am using Android last 6 years from 2.2 eclair from 2008

  • We had the Echo since it was launched and now also have the Google Home.

    Basically the Echo you use commands where you talk to the Google Home naturally. The Echo will handle some fuzziness but fundamentally they are variations to commands instead of fundamentally understanding what you are saying.

    Love the Echo but the Google Home is in a totally different category. Last night wanted to listen to a song and I all I had was "hey google, play madonna song from penn movie" Live to Tell starts playing. You just can not do similar with the Echo. Amazon did add a command that is "alexa play that song that goes X. But rarely used it as one you had to say the command correctly but more I do not remember how "Live to Tell" goes. Just remember it was used in a move and Madonna sang it and Penn (did not remember his first name) was in the movie it was from.

    In the end I said it once and my song started playing. Did not look up a command or how to say or anything first.

    BTW, Google Home does have me shortening my english more and more. So for the song I would now say "madonna penn movie song". I believe because of the Google inference ability more and more we will use condensed English as the rest of the words are NOT necessary to get across the message.

  • ljhaye 2 months ago Link to comment

    2016 was the year Google began to make Android truly a closed and proprietary OS.

    2017: I expect Google to start making their own proprietary chips similar to what Apple ( A series chips, M, W1, etc) does. This will be a key performance differentiator for both their hardware and the Android OS.

    • That's a valid point ljihaye and would certainly make it more unique. I wonder what this would do to the price though. It's possible this could push prices down for all devices (more competition). But in the short-term it may make Google phones more expensive. We'll see what it can do with the costs, but I remain optimistic.
      Another thing to consider is that this will make Google more similar to Apple in the future. Is this something we want? In my opinion, making certain changes that bring it closer to Apple is good but I hope this doesn't go too far...

      • ljhaye 2 months ago Link to comment

        Proprietary chip design and fabrication is an expensive proposition that required significant scale for cost benefits. In the short run the costs will increase the price of their phones but once they have significant scale costs will decrease. This raises another point, would a proprietary google chip become the defacto chip for Android forcing all the OEM's to adopt it?

        Every year Google emulates more of Apple vertical integration strategy as it continues to target the iOS user base, so we'll see...

    • Google has been making their own chips for a while now. They are called TPUs. I do NOT think you will see them working on the scalar CPU aspect as not much there to gain. The huge gains is with their TPU or their own silicone to handle.

      Will not let me link so just do a Google Search for "WaveNet".

      Deepmind indicated this was going into production in 2017 and it is NOT happening without custom silicone. Any of the Apple chips is not suited for doing this type of thing.

    • I doubt it. The main point of the Pixel phones, is to dethrone Apple's superiority in the markets that it has a significant presence in. It's why the Pixel has had a limited release, and why Google is advertising so heavily only in America. Google has never really done anything for profit, and I don't see that changing anytime soon, and because OEM's would get angry over Google doing it for market share, you can cross out that reason as well.

  • Waterproof, SD card slot?

    • Ryan 2 months ago Link to comment

      Cloud service. There is a reason cloud service exists. It is more profitable then the devices themselves. Apple, Microsoft, and Google have the platform for cloud space because they design and own the software. Where as say Samsung piggy backs on the network not having the platform of cloud space they offer the option of the SD card. Eventually SD cards will become obsolete and everyone will be on one form or another of cloud space as technology advances. I personally have had both iPone's and Androids including Samsung's Note 4. I can tell you the Pixel XL is definitely the best phone I ever had hands down. out of the box the battery is insane. I never had a battery last this long before on ANY device iPhone included.

  • Doug D. 2 months ago Link to comment

    When you set your price point the same as the iPhone and Samsung flagships, you really need to match their much higher degree of water resistance, and have stereo speakers of some sort.

    I gave Google a pass on those shortcomings this year, and I really do like my Pixel xl(battery life on the regular Pixel was just a little too short, unfortunately), but, I won't give them the same pass for the Pixel 2.

  • some new features in next android software......bored of flat pure android ui.

  • Ryan 2 months ago Link to comment

    Pixel and Pixel XL as wells as Google home and what not are going to be like Apple. Meaning there will be things Pixel has and work with other Androids won't get and rightfully so. All the other companies such as Samsung are really 3RD parties running on Google's system. Google grew it's fan base and will slowly squeeze out 3RD parties off Android system. They will have to eventually create some other operating system to operate on.

    • Bastian Siewers
      • Admin
      • Staff
      2 months ago Link to comment

      Well the real question is why would Google want that? They live from the services, not Android itself or hardware. Really pushing out Samsung would do more harm than good to Google, at least right now.

      • Ryan 2 months ago Link to comment

        I don't think losing Samsung would hurt Android. The exploding devices carried over to other products Samsung made. And in their new phones they have gone back to the same battery company involved with producing that battery. That's pretty troubling and taking profits over safety. I personally can tell you I will never purchase anything Samsung produces.
        other companies are emerging in the mix.
        Google will eventually phase out third party companies out. maybe not today but in the long term grand scheme of things. Google created the Android platform and stood by watching as companies came to fame and fling apart. Learning from all the mistakes of others Google stepped in hands on. 10-15 yrs Google will corner the Android market.

      • It won't be long before Samsung makes the move away from Android to their own OS. That's been on the cards for a while.

  • Anon1213 2 months ago Link to comment

    Make us proud once again, Google.

  • Dean L. 2 months ago Link to comment

    I believe that 2016 was just google scratching the surface and that 2017 they'll try to dominate the news to steal away the thunder from other device manufacturers.

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