All the New Features Coming to Android Phones, Watches, and TVs This Year

Google’s second day of its I/O developer convention focuses on updates to its Android ecosystem. The firm not too long ago consolidated all of its {hardware} groups—Pixel gadgets—with its Android platforms, which embrace something and every part powered by Android (plus Chrome OS). Naturally, in the present day’s bulletins contact on each a part of that ecosystem, from Android 15 to Wear OS 5.

Here are the important thing new options to learn about.

Android’s Top New Features

There’s a mixture of new Android options which are unique to Android 15—the subsequent model of Google’s cellular working system—however many of those options shall be rolling out to current gadgets via Play Store and app updates with out the necessity for an over-the-air OS improve. (I’ll point out which of them are Android 15 unique.) My colleague, Simon Hill, has rounded up all the highest Android 15 options on this story with particulars on learn how to obtain the beta, however listed here are a number of standouts.

Private Space

Courtesy of Google

Various Android producers have lengthy provided a option to lock and conceal sure apps behind biometric authentication, however Google is now constructing this into Android with a function known as Private Space. This is an Android 15–particular function as a result of Dave Burke, Google’s VP of engineering on Android, says there have been quite a lot of methods for an app’s info to leak all through the working system. The group needed to do “surgical procedure in Android 15” to make it work, however this implies these apps at the moment are utterly hidden and personal in every single place in Android.

Private Space is visually separate out of your apps within the app drawer. You may even set a password to entry the non-public apps that is completely different from the one you employ to unlock your cellphone. Once you add an app to the Private Space, its notifications shall be hidden, and it gained’t be accessible even when somebody went digging in your cellphone’s settings. You may also wipe your non-public area instantly.

Theft Detection Lock

Courtesy of Google

This function is not Android 15 particular and can arrive later this yr. Google says it makes use of “Google AI” to determine when somebody steals your cellphone if you are utilizing it—and sure, it is aware of the distinction between you going for a run along with your smartphone and somebody swiping it and working, biking, or motoring off with it. Once Android detects a theft, it should be sure that the cellphone is locked down to forestall somebody from accessing your apps and personal info.

It will even lock as soon as the machine goes offline, which means somebody making an attempt to manufacturing facility reset your cellphone will want the passcode to reactivate the machine, probably depriving them of the flexibility to resell the handset. And there’s an added function known as “Remote Lock” which helps you to lock the display screen of the cellphone remotely. If you add your cellphone quantity, you possibly can name the cellphone on some other machine (like a buddy’s cellphone) and enter a safety problem to authenticate the motion.

Speaking of theft safety, Google says later this yr, Google Play defend will be capable of use on-device synthetic intelligence to detect apps that interact in fraud or phishing acts. Play Protect already does this on the cloud, however some malicious bits of software program can cloak their actions there. Having this working on-device permits the service to detect how the app makes use of delicate permissions and spot suspicious behaviors—with out gathering any private information.

Google Wallet Gets Less Restrictive

Courtesy of Google

Google Wallet doesn’t simply deal with funds. Right now, you possibly can add loyalty playing cards, fitness center memberships, transit playing cards, live performance tickets, and boarding passes, along with bank cards. However, an replace coming later this yr will quickly allow you to create a digital model of passes by merely snapping a photograph of it. Upload the picture to Google Wallet—suppose parking passes, library playing cards, auto insurance coverage playing cards—and Google will create a digital model for fast entry. Now whether or not these digital variations shall be accepted is a distinct matter.

Google Teases Its Upcoming Mixed Reality Headset

You won’t keep in mind this, however Samsung and Google are engaged on a blended actuality headset with Qualcomm. The partnership was introduced final yr together with the expectation that it could make its debut later in 2024. Google confirmed to me that it had nothing to share at I/O on the event of the headset, however the firm did tease an augmented actuality expertise with Google Maps that may be one thing you’d be capable of expertise on the machine when it arrives.

In Google Maps, you’ll quickly be capable of entry AR content material when looking out particular areas. Tap the “AR Experience” button and produce your cellphone as much as see augmented content material seem over the actual world. This even works remotely via Street View, so that you don’t need to go midway the world over to attempt it.

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