I was wondering what was ‘L’ in Android, until someone pointed out “maybe it’s Linux”. In all honestly I don’t think it’s L for Linux, but a wishful thinking doesn’t hurt given the fact that Google is putting Linux ‘everywhere’.
Linus Torvalds may have never dreamt of this day when he sent out that email back in 1991 and said, “I’m doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won’t be big and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones.”
Fast forward to June 25, 2014. Every single announcement that Google made today was about one thing – Linux. Whether it was automobiles, watches, smartphones, TVs or laptops – it was all about Linux.
Linux at Google I/O 2014
Let’s have a look at 4 major announcements Google made today.
Linux in Living room: Android TV
Google has not given up on the living room, and it can’t give up on the place which has the most strategic importance in our lives. Google TV was a massive failure as back then Google hadn’t mastered the art of content acquisition. As Google’s relationship with content providers improved and we started to see content flowing towards its Play Store, the time to reclaim the living room was near.
Google shook everyone with its extremely inexpensive Chromecast (which is powered by Linux), which has become extremely popular.
Chromecast helped Google in building new partnerships with more content providers. And that was one of the reasons why Google initially discouraged playback of local content. The focus was on positioning it as a streaming device and to bring more and more players on-board.
Today all leading providers — from Netflix to Pandora — are available on Chromecast. One all major providers were there, Google opened up the platform for 3rd party players, creating massive opportunities for developers to exploit the platform and enter the living rooms. Today there are there are dozens and dozens of cool apps for the device. Your TV is no more an idiot box .
Google didn’t stop at Chromecast.
At I/O summit Google has reincarnated Google TV as Android TV. Google is bringing a whole lot of content to Android TV, thanks to the massive Google Play Store. Users will be able to watch movies, TV shows not only from the Play Store but also from the partners. Android TV will also have the Chromecast capabilities so a user will be able to ‘stream’ content to Android TV.
It’s not just about music, movies and TV shows, Android TV users will be able to play games and access other apps (which make sense on a larger screen) through an extremely simple interface – a signature of Google.
As far as playing games is concerned your phone and tablets will double up as controllers and of course you will be able to use 3rd party game controllers – including the Xbox controller.
Android TV will be made available through set-top boxes as well as TV sets. Companies like Samsung, Sony and Sharp are already on-board and will be shipping TVs with Android TV.
Linux in cars
Google has been working with car manufacturers to use Android as their infotainment system. Apple tried to catch up by announcing their own car offering – Apple Cars. Google upped the ante by announcing a dedicated platform called Android Auto – which will integrated communication, entertainment and navigation (and probably automation once Google’s driverless cars are on roads).
Google already has an unmatched lead in speech recognition, and speech is becoming the center of Google’s ecosystem.