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Google I/O 2015: Google has kicked off its Google I/O 2015 conference, where the Mountain View-based giant has just unveiled Android 6.0 'M'. The new operating system won't be big on features, as the company has said that "the central theme of M is improving the core user experience".
Google will be using improvements that OEMs have been using in their custom builds of Android directly into Android 6.0, with six things that Google is baking into Android M. First, we have App Permissions getting overhauled. It will be similar to how the iPhone does it, with a smaller set of permissions for your device, where apps will not only ask you permission when you use the feature, instead of when you very first install the application.
The company has also allowed developers to bake Chrome into apps now, which is something Google referred to as "Chrome custom tabs". This allows Chrome inside of Chrome, or Chrome inside of an app. This Chrome-in-a-Chrome also supports saved passwords, autofill and all of the rest of Chrome's features.
During Google I/O 2015 later this week, the Silicon Valley company is expected to unveil Brillo, its Android-inspired OS designed for the Internet of Things (IoT). Connected devices typically have a lower amount of RAM, and should be able to operate on low-power, which are two considerations Google is addressing with Brillo.
Google has owned Nest Labs, a company known for smart thermostats, since early 2014 - and could provide a good test opportunity for any IoT-based operating systems.
There is a growing trend of software and hardware companies preparing their own IoT offerings, as analysts believe the sector will become more disruptive. Google, Apple, Microsoft, and other companies will be able to create unique software to help connected devices collected data and communicate with one another - and must be prepared for the expected increase in IoT-centric purchases.
Microsoft is expecting big things with Windows 10, and could have more than 410 million PCs running its new OS within 18 months, according to Net Applications. The largest migration will be from Windows 8 and 8.1 users, with three-fourths of them migrating to Windows 10 in less than two years - with a smaller number of Windows 7 also choosing to upgrade.
There will be a major push by Microsoft to get users to upgrade, though it could be difficult to convince users to leave behind Windows 7 at a fast rate.
Back in the day, some of the only games you had to play on your new, expensive, single-core PC with 8MB of RAM were the pre-installed ones with Windows. Well, it will be happening again when Windows 10 rolls around later this year, with Candy Crush Saga to be pre-installed.
Xbox Wire has announced that on all future versions of Windows 10 that Candy Crush Saga will be pre-installed, once it launches later this summer on Windows 10. Those that upgrade to, or download Windows 10 "for periods of time following the game launch" will enjoy Candy Crush Saga pre-installed on their new operating system.
The post teases: "With its compelling blend of tricky puzzles coated in gorgeous eye candy, Candy Crush Saga is a global phenomenon for good reason. Windows Phone users have been enjoying Candy Crush Saga since its launch on the platform in December, and later this year, all Windows 10 owners will be able to experience the hit game that's swept the mobile world like wildfire".
Google is all but confirmed to unveil the new version of Android at Google I/O 2015 that takes place between May 28-29 this year, with Android 6.0 'M' expected to replace Android 5.0 Lollipop.
We don't know what the 'M' stands for just yet, but it could be Marshmallow, Maltesers, or countless other delicious treats that start with an 'm'. We are expecting more Material Design, something that took center stage in Android 5.0, and should continue in Android M. With a session at Google I/O called "Bringing Material Design to Life on Android", it's not hard to put two and two together there.
WCCFTech is also reporting that there should be more concentration on privacy control, something that is again continuing from their efforts on Android L. Bloomberg has reported that "The new settings would give users the option to pick and choose what an app can access". Improved integration of the voice controls should also be something Android M does better than previous iterations of Google's mobile OS, too.
Microsoft will be making multiple versions of Windows 10, with no less than six versions being made available. Most people will be buying the Home or Pro versions of Microsoft's next, and possibly last version of Windows, though.
There will be six versions released, with Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Mobile, Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise, Windows 10 Pro, Windows 10 Enterprise, and Windows 10 Education. As you can see, most people will opt for Home or Professional. We have a detailed rundown of the Windows 10 SKUs thanks to Microsoft insider Mary Jo Foley, and her report on ZDNet.
Windows 10 Home: The consumer-focused desktop edition. This will include the core Windows 10 features, such as the Edge browser, Continuum tablet-mode for touch-capable devices; Cortana integration; free Photos, Maps, Mail, Calendar; Music and Video apps; and Windows Hello face-recognition/iris/fingerprint log-in for devices that support those technologies. On devices with screen sizes of 10.1 inches or less, users also will get Universal Office apps for free, once they are available.
With Windows 10 right around the corner, the news of Microsoft's upcoming operating system being the last could scare some people. But, for others, it shouldn't come as a surprise.
According to Microsoft Technical Evangelist Jerry Nixon, "Windows 10 is the last version of Windows". He added: "Right now we're releasing Windows 10, and because Windows 10 is the last version of Windows, we're all still working on Windows 10". If this is the last version of Windows, we can expect this to be the biggest launch of Windows ever.
Internally, Microsoft began working on Windows 10 after they started pulling the best parts of Windows 8.1 away, which ended up forming the last version of Windows ever. Instead of massive successive releases of Windows, Microsoft will instead provide improvements and fixes through updates, in a different way. Instead of the usual Patch Tuesday's, we should expect bigger updates over time which will overhaul the operating system.
Google Android and Apple iOS control the majority of the mobile operating system market, but there is an intensifying fight for the No. 3 position. Consumers and businesses are expected to embrace wearables, connected vehicles, smart products, and the Internet of Things (IoT) on a larger scale in the next 10 years.
"For both new and incumbent OS vendors, capturing the next wave of users will require support of new device types, a strong focus on developing markets, and support for universal development processes," said Eric Abbruzzese, research analyst at ABI Research. There will be a number of new consumer products hitting the market, so it's up to software developers to create appealing software environments that are easy-to-use and extremely flexible.
Companies must work on creating an OS that is appealing in developing markets, paying close attention to Southeast Asia, India and China - and can heavily modify Android to their own needs, but must be prepared to invest a large amount of capital to make the effort successful.
Microsoft wants people to be excited about Windows 10, which will be available later this year for PCs, smartphones, and other devices. However, it looks like Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is especially excited about Cortana, the digital personal assistant currently available on Microsoft-powered smartphones.
Cortana is able to browse the Web, find things on a PC, remind users of calendar updates, and serve as the ultimate personal assistant. If used properly, Microsoft hopes Cortana will become a frequently used tool that can make interacting in the OS - and on the Internet - even easier.
"Cortana, that's perhaps the thing that's going to change personal productivity even most and especially with Windows 10 and how Cortana comes to Windows, both to the browser as well as to the Start [menu]," Sadella recently said during a financial analyst briefing. "I think it completely changes what personal productivity software means from a day-to-day experience."
Microsoft has previously announced that Windows 10 would launch in the summer, but according to AMD, we could see it launched as soon as July. The news is coming from a slip during their recent conference call, that Windows 10 would launch in July.
AMD's CEO, Lisa Su, said during the conference call: "What we also are factoring in is, with the Windows 10 launch at the end of July, we are watching the impact of that on the back-to-school season, and expect that it might have a bit of a delay to the normal back-to-school season inventory buildup".
If that's the case, we should expect two things: first, Microsoft will most likely make a very big push of Windows 10-powered devices during Computex in early June, and secondly; AMD will unveil its next-gen Radeon 300 series at the same time. This is just speculation, but AMD did say it would launch its new GPU sometime in Q2 2015, and the Q2 window is quickly running out.