Google News I / O 2019: Pixel 3a, Android Q, Kotlin, etc.

Google News I / O 2019: Pixel 3a, Android Q, Kotlin, etc.

The flagship smartphone version appeared twice cheaper, retaining all the same amazing camera. In the family of smart devices Google Home - and replenishment, and rebranding. In Android Q, further actions occur along the path outlined in Android P. And Kotlin officially becomes the preferred language for developing Android applications.

We watched the Google I/O presentation, read a bunch of additions to it from different editions and made for Habr a unanimous retelling of the main thing. All the details - under the cut.

Before the start

In addition to rumors and leaks, there were some news directly from Google in front of I/O: apparently, they decided to get rid of the little things in advance so that they would not be distracted.

Android Auto has a redesign . Google also reminded of the developers: besides Auto (which depends on user’s smartphone), Android Automotive OS is ripening (“full-fledged” car version of Android), the first car with it has already been announced (Volvo’s Polestar 2 electric car, obviously targeting Tesla's competitors), they say, if your application is relevant for use in a car - keep mind.

Wear OS also has innovation : so-called Tiles, which allow you to quickly jump to some data (pulse, headers and the like). From the outside, it looks like “well, it means that Wear OS is not even dying yet”: earlier, the future of Android watches began to look vague.

Also, presented the Google Play Award to several applications. For example, in the “use in the living room” nomination, the Neverthink application won, which was designed to choose for the user which video to watch further. In general, we have all seen an alternative to TV on the Internet for decades, and now the Internet has become TV itself and urges people to “never think.”

Finally, Google tweeted it with his tweet, which direction is not without news: the letter R was obviously not the title here by chance, but with a hint of Augmented Reality.

Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL

It basically confirmed the information that had already leaked before. But in order to fully understand it, it’s worth starting with the context.

Once, the Google Nexus line bribed people with price-performance ratio: these smartphones did not claim to be the “most premium”, but in the middle price category they turned out to be an excellent option. Later, Google’s “make the best phone in the world” ambitions grew, prices also gradually increased, and last year it reached the starting point of $ 799 from Pixel 3 (and the XL version does $ 899). In the reviews it was really considered as a flagship and was praised for a lot. Here are the sales at the same time turned out disappointing.

It seems that the market of expensive smartphones is oversaturated - and now Google has again turned to the middle segment, making the budget option Pixel 3. Its price is $ 399 (for the XL version it is $ 479), that is, it turned out to be reduced by half. What did you have to sacrifice for the sake of this reduction, and what was saved from the flagship?

Save the main thing. "Pixels" are famous for the quality of shooting, and few people argue with the fact that they have some of the best cameras in the world. And in Pixel 3a, the camera is the same as that of the “big brother”, with all the same features - Night Shift (night mode, squeezing out surprisingly a lot in poor light conditions), Super Res Zoom (digital zoom improvement due to computational photography) and so on.

Another important feature of Pixel is preserved: “clean” Android with the promise of updates for three years. Part of the technical characteristics also did not change: the same 4 gigabytes of RAM (for the flagship this is not considered to be enough, but for the “middling” is suitable), two diagonals to choose from (5.6 ″ for the base model and 6 ″ for the XL).

And what then simplified something? The case is plastic, the processor is simpler (here Snapdragon 670 is used instead of Snapdragon 845), there is no wireless charging and moisture protection, Daydream VR is not supported. If we compare the XL version, then the resolution has also become lower (2160 × 1080 instead of 2960 × 1440). And if, in addition to Pixel 3, it is possible to download everything taken in Google Photos in the original resolution (including 4K video), then Pixel 3a has everything just like ordinary android phones: you can download everything in good quality and infinitely good, but if you want to keep the original files , they will eat up space on standard Google Drive terms.

The phone is sold right from today (well, in the USA, and not in Russia, where Pixel is not officially sold at all). The Verge has already published review , brief summary: if you buy a phone within $ 500, then do not hesitate, in this segment the camera endures all.

However, during the presentation, the audience in the hall was especially animated when they talked about a moment that was not even mentioned above: the budget Pixel 3a will have a headphone jack. In the "full-fledged" Pixel 3 with a price tag twice as high, we recall, it is not. That's what people really want from phones!

Nest Hub Max

The second hardware announcement of the event is a smart screen. Here, too, start with the context.

In 2016, Google Home introduced a column on Google I/O. She coped well with voice commands, but her work as a “column” (playing music) was simply called “normal”. Many wanted more.

In 2017, this “more” came in the form of Google Home Max: also a column, but for powerful stereo sound.

In 2018, a “smart screen with a speaker” appeared on Google Home Hub. The launch of YouTube-videos, digital photo frame, touch control of the smart home - in general, the display added many features to the column. But it has a 7-inch screen and a very mediocre sound, watching it with you is not comfortable with dinner. Many wanted more.

Well, now, in 2019, it's more: a 10-inch screen with stereo speakers. And with the camera (works for video calls, and as a security camera). Who knows how to ensure that when talking a person is in the center of the frame, even if he moves. Since the words “Google wants to put a camera at your home that can keep an eye on you” do not sound very attractive, there is a physical button for turning off the camera and microphone. In terms of characteristics, the screen resolution is 1280x800, but for a “kitchen” device this may not be a problem. It will be sold in the USA in the summer for $ 229.

With brands, of course, it turned out leapfrog.Google once bought the company Nest, and it is about the smart home, so with the Home line it looks logical. But first, Google didn’t get her into smart screens, leaving “the company of thermostats”. And now, not only gave the new device the name Nest Hub Max, but also the previous device, which has long been sold as Home Hub, renamed Nest Hub. In the columns of Google Home, the name is still the same, but later it will change. All this is your reasons , but it's scary to imagine how many people will get confused.

Android Q

Generally speaking, a lot was known about Android Q: the first beta version came out in March, and application developers sighed enough that in the name of user happiness Google again tightened the screws. But the company does not reveal all the cards at once, so that you can add at least something to the already known Google I/O, and at the same time with the presentation they released a third beta.

The Live Caption feature was a surprise from the scene shown: the ability for any video (even for video chat) to include subtitles generated on the go. It will help both deaf/hard of hearing, and people who want to watch a video without sound, so as not to disturb others. Voice recognition occurs entirely on the device, nothing is sent to the server. On the one hand, of course, this is a tangible step forward, on the other - I remember that autosubtitles on YouTube now leave much to be desired.

More than expected - a dark theme for the entire OS. This is both a matter of personal preference and convenience, and a matter of battery charge: in the case of OLED screens, it helps to last longer.

A number of innovations from last year’s Android P were developed in Q. The gestures system (which many have criticized) are improved, the parental control system too, and the topic of “digital well-being” has been expanded with the new “Focus Mode”. The point is this: often, for concentration, you need to temporarily get rid of distracting notifications, but at the same time, turning off all notifications would be overkill, you don’t want to skip SMS. And with this mode, you can disable only some - for example, from social networks.

Some security updates will be delivered via Google Play - so that even careless vendors who do not update their smartphones will still have users safe.

They also talked about folding smartphones with such enthusiasm, as if there was no loud failure of the Samsung Galaxy Fold, and about 5G with such enthusiasm, as if from the Android side there is some gigantic merit in supporting these networks (apparently, here 5G no azaz ").

Google Assistant/Google Lens

Voice assistant continues to wane gradually.

Last year, I/O was all impressed by the Duplex demo project, which is able to book a restaurant table by phone for a person. Now in Duplex on the Web, the scope is extended to bookings on the web, where the assistant can fill out most of the fields in the form for the owner. When all this can help an ordinary Russian is unclear (a telephone Duplex a year after the announcement, even in the United States does not work in all states, and Duplex on the Web does not have a premiere date at all). But impressive, of course.

Voice recognition could be stuffed into the phone itself, and now the Google Assitant’s voice commands will learn how to react without a network delay, which in some scenarios makes it more convenient than poking into the screen. But it will appear "later this year", and at first "only on new Pixel".

Google Lens will also be wiser: for example, if you just put a camera on a check in a restaurant, the phone will understand what it is, so it will help you easily calculate the tip and divide the result by the number of people.It seems that the age-old problem of mankind has just been resolved: “let's find out how much one owes”! But no, wait, it also depends on who ordered what ...

And also 3D models will appear directly in the Google search results - and it will be possible with the help of augmented reality to see what it would look like in the real world. It turns out that the teaser for “ARe you ready” was about this:


Another noticeable thing was not voiced during the main presentation, but it was mentioned in a separate developer keynote and accompanying blog post for Android developers.

Two years ago, on Google I/O 2017, Kotlin became the “officially supported language for Android development,” acquiring equal rights on the platform with Java. And now, when it has clearly established itself, Google goes further and declares “Android development will become increasingly Kotlin-first”: the language is officially becoming not just supported, but preferred . If earlier Google did not give recommendations on choosing between Java and Kotlin, now the company directly says: we ourselves actively use Kotlin, and you are advised to do the same.

Generally speaking, for closely watching what happened is not such a news. The company's actions in this direction have been noticeable before: for example, in the documentation, the code examples are given in two languages, and by default it is the Kotlin-versions that are displayed. But in 2017, the message of official support was also not the most surprising - and at the same time, the popularity of the language sharply jumped after it. Perhaps a new statement will also play a prominent role.

From other news for Android developers - new things appeared in Android Jetpack (for example, Jetpack Compose for working with UI), they are described in the same blog-post .


In addition to Live Caption, there was also a series of actions towards accessibility. Project Euphonia helps voice control to work correctly even in cases where a person for some reason says "outside the box" (deafness, stuttering, and so on). And the ability to translate inscriptions, which was already in Google Translate, comes on: by pointing the camera of the phone, it will be easy to hear the pronunciation of the inscription in at least the original language, even in the translated one. It will be available “on $ 35 phones” - thereby helping people from the least successful regions who are not literate at all.

Also talked about privacy. Although Google doesn’t fall under such a barrage of criticism like Facebook, the company also has a reputation as a user data hunter - and they obviously want to get away from it. Thanks to the changes in the Google Account, it now becomes somewhat easier to understand what Google knows about you, and make it forget one of these things. Incognito mode will appear on Google Maps.

Finally, a little curious moment. On Habré, only recently discussed that machine learning can be biased due to the characteristics of dataset, but it is difficult for a person to notice. So: Google spoke about this directly in the presentation. In this spirit:" Yes, we understand this, and we want to fight it, and for this we isolate the factors that influence the adoption of a specific decision. ”

We will consider it as involuntary greetings from Habra to Google.

Once you get to the end of this text, you may be a mobile developer who is interested in everything related to Android. In this case, we would like to draw your attention to the conference Mobius , which we will hold in Petersburg May 22-23: there will be a lot of interesting things about Android (and about iOS too).

Source text: Google News I / O 2019: Pixel 3a, Android Q, Kotlin, etc.