Android 4.0 was definitely a big step forward for the development of Google operating systems. At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, reporters had the opportunity of a long interview with a key figure in the development of the Android, Mr. Matias Duarte, the head of the team in charge of the “User Experience” Android (please note that his comments have been paraphrased, since he puts a lot of words into saying one thing).
In his 38th year, this Chilean-born man graduated Computer Science at the University of Maryland. He is currently holding one of the key roles in the Google, and is the director of the group that is responsible for the “User Experience” of Android.
As Matias Duarte says, “We prefer to call it a user experience because Interface is a term that is very limiting”. Google take care of the individual pixels of the graphics system, but also transitions when moving from one screen to another, including sounds. In short, everything that people find when they open the box of their phone and turn it on.
Google is Apple’s proud rival, and one lesson seems perfectly clear, in that the choice of font seems like a minute detail – Duarte explains to justify his preference – but if you use email, contacts, calendar, and so on, you realize that a big portion of information you get from your Smartphone is conveyed through the text. It seems a particular, but we must remember that the typeface is the skeleton of the entire interface.
For Google, to have the first version of Android run the same on phones and tablets, is a milestone. Duarte claimed that, “It is more robust, easier and faster to use because of the abolition of the menu button”.
The competition from Apple and Microsoft is strong on both the mobile device front and online front. Google are aware that they are not quite where they want to be yet, but what the future holds for the Android may put them there.
A difficult challenge for Android is its design that will allow it to operate virtually any device, from a smartphone with 3-inch screen to a 60-inch TV. This will be the Android’s secret of its future success.
Most people believe that the future will be driven by technology. It seems unimaginable that the future will be related to one company, one operating system or a single dimension of the display. The only way to become dominant in the future is through an open platform that fits the needs of everyone.
Duarte claims that, “in the distant future, interaction with machines will make your eyes sparkle”. They are planning to work on voice control, facial recognition, and an upgrade of the current touch screen. Duarte says, “I encourage my team to think of commands that will use all of these modes simultaneously”.
He claims that people will be able to converse with their cars thanks to the research they are doing with Android. He even went as far to say that they have examined the possibility, that in the future they will create something like in the Minority Report, where Tom Cruise does not use a touch-screen but virtual screens, while talking and interacting with the surrounding environment.
Matias Duarte ended by saying “For this we have research projects in which we do not think about the technological limitations of today or tomorrow, but of the ones that will be in 5 around in years or more”.
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