In Brief: Episode .5

Welcome to In Brief, our periodic podcast which aims to provide you with all of the important things happening in the world of Android.

In this episode we sit down to discuss some of the big news coming out of Google I/O 2018 including Android P, machine learning, and mobile software updates. We also talk about the rumored Pixel watches which could arrive later this year.

It’s our goal to keep these podcasts short; in the future they will be around fifteen minutes or less. Given this was a pretty big week for Google we decided to spend a little extra time opining and speculating. Enjoy!

Why is this episode called .5, you ask? Because we’re beta testing ourselves and doing it in the real world. We’ll iterate and improve and be on track with the formal numbering convention in no time!

Google will introduce up to three Pixel-branded watches this year

Source

  • Famous leaker and VentureBeat mobile reporter Evan Blass tweeted out that besides the Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, and new Pixel Buds, Google will introduce a Pixel-branded watch this year.
  • Roland Quandt, another writer and leaker followed up that the company would be releasing not one, but three new watches.
  • The codename for the watches are Ling, Triton, and Sardine
  • The watches will be based on the new Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 platform
  • The Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 will feature a quad-core CPU with an unknown clock rate. They will feature GPS, LTE, and VoLTE support. It will also feature the Bluetooth codec apt-X for better audio streaming.
  • The chip is basically a Snapdragon Wear 2100 but with better power management

Google to require that OEMs roll out regular security patches

Source

  • At Google I/O, David Kleidermacher (Google’s head of Android Platform Security) stated that Google is working on building in security patching into its OEM agreements. “This will lead to a massive increase in the number of devices and users receiving regular security patches.”
  • Kleidermacher stated that Google is making it easier for OEMs to roll out security patches thanks to architectural changes that come with Project Treble
  • Google releases security patches in the first week of the month for its down devices
    It gives the security patches to OEMs one month in advance but sometimes the OEMs either wait to deploy them or never deploy them at all
  • A recent study from SecurityLab found that some OEMs like OnePlus, Honor, HTC, Blue, and others can take months to deploy any security patches at all with some devices only seeing quarterly updates

Android P features revealed at Google I/O

Source

  • Android P will do away with the familiar navigation buttons and move to a chip at the bottom of the screen you can use to go home, pull up the multitasking window, or the apps list. A back button will appear when you can actually go back, but will not when there are no back actions
  • A new “Android Dashboard” will show you exactly what you’re spending your time doing while on your phone to give you a better idea of how you’re wasting your time.
  • A new “Adaptive Battery” feature will attempt to increase battery life through optimization. It gives more power to applications you’re using while pushing idle apps to low-power cords
    Adaptive Brightness looks at how you manually set brightness and then adjusts auto-brightness to your preferences. Will use machine learning to find the perfect brightness for you, not just relying on the light sensor.
  • New App Standby Buckets classify your apps by how much you use them and then assigns the number of system resources the app can use. This should dynamically save battery.
  • via Android Authority:
    • If an app is placed in the active bucket, the system does not impose any restrictions. For example, an app that is open or running a foreground service is categorized as “active.”
    • An app that is placed in the working set bucket is subject to mild system restrictions. An app that runs often but is currently inactive will be characterized as such. These apps may not be able to run jobs or trigger alarms.
    • An app is in the frequent bucket if it is used regularly but not daily. These apps, which may include apps like workout assistants, are subject to stronger. restrictions on their ability to run jobs and trigger alarms. The system also imposes a cap on high-priority FCM messages.
    • If an app is not used often, it is placed in the rare bucket, which means that its ability to run jobs, trigger alarms, and receive high-priority FCM messages is strictly restricted. The system also places a limit on its ability to connect to the Internet.
    • The never bucket, as the name suggests, is for apps that have been installed but have never been run. They are subject to severe restrictions.

Google Duplex

Source

  • In a demo shown off at I/O 2018, Google showed off Duplex, a technology that allows Assistant to have real conversations with people over the phone
  • The focus of Duplex right now is to have Assistant call and set up appointments or reservations for you, so you don’t have to make the call
  • The voice sounds just like a human even putting in pauses, “ums” and using realistic inflection.
  • Google plans to test the service with a small number of users later this Summer with no release date hinted at
  • Many people are calling the technology revolutionary while there are those that are freaked out and call it creepy. Some tech commentators like MKBHD have brought up the Turing Test as well.
  • Google has since said it will put a disclaimer on the calls when they are made