Instead of Android 14, Google is unveiling a new Android logo and a bunch of cool new features

Instead of Android 14, Google is launching a new Android logo and a bunch of cool new features
If you were expecting Google to release the stable version of Android 14 on the first Monday or Tuesday of September, the search giant has a rather unpleasant surprise for you today. Of course, such a rollout would have benefitted a relatively small number of users in the short term, so at least from that particular standpoint, you might be more pleased by what the company is announcing at the beginning of this month.

We're talking about a pretty hefty feature drop containing several handy improvements and added capabilities for the "Google apps and devices you use every day", from Assistant to Wallet and Android Auto. Alongside these exciting new features, the company is also ready to deploy a "new modern look for the Android brand" including an updated logo and 3D "bugdroid" on Android devices and in "more places starting this year."

Let's start with the new features

As much as we can appreciate a nice redesign and brand "modernization" effort, we're fairly certain most "regular" Android users are primarily interested in what their phones can actually do now and couldn't before today.

Probably the most intriguing and practical change unveiled by Big G to kick off autumn concerns your car rather than your handset, bringing (at long last) official support for Webex by Cisco and Zoom to Android Auto. The bad news, of course, is that you can no longer blame traffic for your lack of productivity or your absence from that super-important weekly team huddle, with Android Auto gaining the ability to start and join conference calls (by audio) and browse meeting schedules directly from your vehicle display.

The Assistant At a Glance widget on your phone, meanwhile, is getting a big update aimed at bringing you even more helpful information on your home screen, whether you're using a Pixel or an Android device from a different brand.

Then there's Google Wallet, which can now do photo imports for any and all passes with barcodes or QR codes on them. That's right, your good old fashioned gym and library cards can effortlessly go in your phone next to your credit cards and plane tickets to allow for quick scanning... at locations that actually accept that.

Last but not least on Google's most recent list of Android enhancements, you have Fitbit and Google Fit activity and sleep data available to be added to your personal Routines, which sounds like it could help brighten your day early in the morning hours... as long as you've had a good night's sleep.

And now the logos

Yes, the Android brand is being "overhauled" with a new logo that's... different from the old one. Is this a change that will improve the user experience in any meaningful way? Probably not. Does the new logo look better than its predecessor? That's arguably in the eye of the beholder.

The same... doesn't really go for the bugdroid, described by Google as the "face and most identifiable element of the Android robot", which undeniably looks better now than it ever did before with "more dimension and a lot more character."

Both the virtual Android "mascot" and the Android logo itself are subtly revised so as not to enrage the platform's most hardcore longtime fans, nonetheless moving towards a more diverse and inclusive future with a few different, equally playful, and varyingly bold versions. 

The capital "A" in Android is perhaps the biggest change we can report on this front, suggesting that the world's most popular mobile operating system is done experimenting with all sorts of things and changes often affecting the users in negative ways. We'll see if that proves to be the case out in the real world soon or not.

Recommended Stories

Loading Comments...
FCC OKs Cingular\'s purchase of AT&T Wireless