Last month, at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), Apple began its move to create products that could be used on the screens that recur throughout our days. In particular, Apple’s CarPlay, an iPhone interface for automobiles, seemed revolutionary. It was even more exciting to find out that CarPlay is expected to ship this year in cars made by Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo. So when Google announced Android Auto on Wednesday, it became clear that the Apple vs. Android rivalry is set to continue far into the future. And the Android Auto announcement is just one of the ways Apple and Google’s competition is heating up.
Much like CarPlay, Android Auto will connect you to all of your messages, contacts, and music. The advantage is that your GPS system will be GoogleMaps. Google has already partnered with 40 carmakers around the world — a significantly higher number than Apple — and the first cars compatible with Android Auto will be available at the end of this year. Some would say Google has managed to take away any and all advantages that Apple may have felt that it had when it first released CarPlay.
The next front is the TV. Android TV, rising from the ashes of previous project Google TV, may have enough improvements for it to be successful this time around. Android TV couples TV-watching and voice-activated Google search. So if, during your movie binge, you just have to figure out where you’ve seen that actor before, you won’t have to move from your couch. You ask the question and Android TV will answer using the power and speed of Google search.
Now to Android Wear, which in some ways is a direct competitor to Apple’s rumored iWatch. Google explains some of the functions: “Android Wear organizes your information… get messages from your friends, appointment notifications, and weather updates at a glance.” Google suggests that unlocking devices and searching for information uses too many of the precious minutes we have in a day. Android Wear will save time because it allows you to respond to texts and emails, and ask questions of your device all through your voice, with no unlocking or searching necessary. It can also help you attain your fitness goals as it tracks your steps and, optionally, keeps track of your heart rate. The creation of Android Wear — and Google’s ability to release it before the iWatch — has given Google the chance to win over more of the hearts of dedicated Apple users. One important question though: Are these multitasking devices waterproof?
Finally, there is Android One, Google’s attempt to reach the far corners of the globe with progressive technology. The project is basically a set of rules and standards manufacturers can use to produce low-cost Android smartphones. This cost-effective phone gives Google the chance to take make significant in-roads in thus-far underserved foreign markets in smart technology. It undermines Apple’s iPhone 5c, which still costs $100 to $200. This development begs the question: How long is Apple going to be able to stay within its expensive price range with “higher quality” products before Google takes over? It seems we must wait until the new products from both conferences finally hit the market and let the consumers decide.
All of these adjustments Google has made to Android Software pushed the company’s stock (GOOG) up by 2.5 percent. And the big takeaway from Google’s I/O Conference? Android is now taking on many platforms, challenging Apple and ultimately giving its rival a real run for its money.