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There are many reasons to oppose Google's Android mobile operating system, but one of them is not stagnation. Since inception six years ago, Android has been on a fast-track towards eclipsing all other mobile interfaces on many levels. It's been a sort of epiphany to watch it grow into my preferred OS, which was a title previously held by Apple's iOS. 

But is there any true differentiation required of a future iteration, or has it peaked?

That's a question I've been asking myself for quite a while, but Google I/O recently reminded me of the topic. As we know, I/O didn't show us any new version of Android. Though somewhat of a disappointment, Google's Android is looking much more complete after a refresh to some of its services, with the largest being Google Maps set to roll out in the next month. 

Just a minute ago, I wrote of a Ubuntu for Phones OS as what I longed for seeing that it incorporated a unique feature set currently absent from the mobile arena. I mentioned Android's Jelly Bean edged closer to a familiarity that I have inadvertently deemed displeasing for no honest reason, and thus I was floored by Canonical's efforts with Ubuntu.

And as the one time of the year where Google has traditionally unveiled an update to their mobile OS, I would be lying if I said I wasn't resolutely disappointed in the lack of an update to my favorite OS simply for the sake of change. I shouldn't have expected it, but I did, and as a result, I'm trying to be appreciative of what Android already offers compared to competitors: a file manager, complete control of the source code with access to root, and a UI design that has shown a drastic change over the years.

So, if Android wasn't updated this past week, has Android has stalled? 

I partly wish for Android to adopt an entirely new interface for the sake of change. A new color scheme, updated icons, and a revamp of the notification curtain are my primary desires of the next version, among other things. With these differences, I'd feel like I'm using an entirely new OS that epitomizes what I have suggested is the world's most advanced mobile operating system time and time again.

Yet on the other hand, I feel a sense of surprise when using Windows Phone 8 or BlackBerry's latest OS that I can't attribute to Android, which has led me to a point where I don't know what direction I'd recommend Google go in for the next version of Android. It's probably a case of absence that surprises me with these alternatives, but I still can't ignore what I like about the competition, nor is it easy for me to suggest what Android is lacking as compared to the alternatives.

I've owned many devices over the years, and I've learned to appreciate the imperfections and differences as qualities that make each alternative favorites among consumers. It would be easy to suggest each legitimately requires updates to keep it a unique alternative in mobile, but I am not sure that's the case with Android. 

So, does Android need to retain or regain a certain feature to keep it the world's most popular mobile operating system?

It's a question that's been on my mind since Google surpassed all other operating systems as the most widely used in the world. So, does that mean it needs to continue its trend towards customizability with widgets, toggles, and control? Probably. Does Google need to continue luring consumers into their ecosystem with more apps, subscription services, and predictive search functionality? Definitely.

But as we've recently seen with the minimal amount of updates to existing apps like Google Talk transforming into Google Hangouts, and Google Maps and Google Play Music, I'm beginning to see that Android's vision as a mobile OS may have matured to a point where it requires minimal updates in order for Google to get the most out of its mobile strategy.

Of course, that is until a disruptive innovation comes along and demands mobile operating systems adapt to a new set of features.

What do you think Android needs? Does it require anything at all? Sound off in the comments below!

Image via Droid-Life and Tech Radar.


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41 Reactions to this post

"Has the Android OS peaked? Can you think of anything the next version really needs? "


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Owen Wu
Owen Wu They need the iphone
Anonymous
Anonymous Geez people, we sure are spoiled! Just look at how far Android has come. A completely new interface that's only a year + old and some are complaining about I/O? Google is building a Great Ecosystem for US so we don't have to run to Amazon or Netflix or Pandora. Just listen to yourselves and see how spoiled we've become. I/O was a Fantastic event for Devs... you know? The ones that make Android so Great? Slow down and enjoy the moment. Google has Plenty to give us in the coming months hardware-wise and software as well. Stop acting like spoiled brats and enjoy the Gift that Android is and will be for decades to come. Sure does beat being limited to e what one person says is good enough for all.That's My 2 cents. Chill.
Matthew Clous
Matthew Clous The comments on this feed are hilarious, Shows how after all this time people still have no idea what they are talking about.
Aly Youssef
Aly Youssef still can't find an app that compresses photos + videos for email
Waii Hui
Waii Hui It needs all those cool fun games that are ios only.
Waii Hui
Waii Hui Needs tap to top, makes life so convenient in the ios world. Needs cooler music player, video player
Vikas Nanda
Vikas Nanda Quality of apps. Fragmentation across handsets. Carrier reliant updates.
Anirvan Divakera
Anirvan Divakera Yes it has peaked upto some extent in case of simplicity and heavy customisation.Also its offers 700k + apps but problem is the apps are Quality and feature wise is still inferior to apple. So if this aspect can be improved then android would be the BEST.
Rolando Candanosa
Rolando Candanosa I think that they need to go for a one size fits all kind of thing. One android version that works on all devices that are released at a certain point. For example: If the device is released from this date on then Android will work on it.
Tsetso Zdravkov
Tsetso Zdravkov To stop lagging, and eating 1GB of ram, with only one app running... To block java and allow only native C code... To stop being so ugly with no aestetics... To stop crashing, locking, blocking...
Jimmy Lamb
Jimmy Lamb I was going to say nothing but, better camera and video software would about it.
Paul Alexandru
Paul Alexandru What does it really need? Get rid of the fucking lag maybe??
Mariano Molina Barreiro
Mariano Molina Barreiro It has peeked!!!
Patric Pederson
Patric Pederson Per contact notification sounds...out of the box. I have that now but have to use a third party SMS app
Bruno Tavares
Bruno Tavares You ppl change to iOS or Windows Phone 8 and say goodbye to lag. Lol
Alex Rua
Alex Rua I think this question is put the the wrong mobile OS I think the author of this article should do is "Has IOS peaked? What does IOS really need..." Android with every iteration has integrated all new things where as IOS has been lagging behind for years now.
Ryno Bones
Ryno Bones Some sort of dependable multitasking would be nice. App optimization for speed would be a plus.
Thomas Hadley
Thomas Hadley Only ios has reached it's peak
Scott Braunworth
Scott Braunworth Android is constantly improving and coming out with better features. Plus with Devs making new roms its will never peak. You should be asking that question about iOS
Christopher Stowe
Christopher Stowe iOS
Arturo Atherly
Arturo Atherly BETTER BATTERY!!!!!!
Ivan Osuna
Ivan Osuna hmm a built in backup battery?
Steve Hirjak
Steve Hirjak Teron Facey: project butter is irrelevant on inadequate hardware. My HTC One, smooth. My Asus Transformer, almost unusable at times
Haldi Kuniqi
Haldi Kuniqi i have a note 2 ive tried all roms and they still have lag...
Michael Chin
Michael Chin get google to force stock os without those makers' add-ons
Cj Espiritu
Cj Espiritu A transparent android phone
Teron Facey
Teron Facey Anybody who says they need to rid of the lag clearly hasn't used a phone with project butter on it.
Dave Bourque
Dave Bourque @Hans fluid because of the hardware... android is subpar in software optimization.
Chris Brisson
Chris Brisson More work needs to be done to achieve perfect sync of calendar, contacts, email, photos, videos, bookmarks, etc.
Hans Kwazneski
Hans Kwazneski 100% agree, but you should play with the SGS 4.. ridiculous how fluid things are... I'd still root it though lol
Hans Kwazneski
Hans Kwazneski root your phone :P
???
??? More speed optimization, better calender, better basic widgets (calendar & news/weather suck), ability to use google now/voice commmands to turn settings on and off, all nexus devices line needs better quality cameras and camera features, next reference hardware design to feature hardware camera button (half press to activate voice search/commands full press to open camera, this last one's just my own preference)
Anthony Arreola
Anthony Arreola I would like to see pop up message so we can text and never get out of our browser or whatever we are doing, improvement on blue tooth, and have a better android keyboard
Michael Talbot
Michael Talbot It need not to be such a battery sucking vortex of a black hole
Mark Belkowski
Mark Belkowski It needs to work on optimization. The lag needs to go once and for all.
Prabhath Jay
Prabhath Jay speed
Jeremy Hass
Jeremy Hass to stop running crap in the background be a PHONE and keep my info private by allowing you to use an app without giving your life away
Jalen Stepp
Jalen Stepp Technology doesn't peak. Something will come out, and all of the sudden society will find a reason to make it mandatory to have in everyone's lives.
Haldi Kuniqi
Haldi Kuniqi to get rid of any type of lag that includes scrolling, touchscreen delay, dropped frames, etc.. that should be a problem on a quad core processor but it sadly is
Santiago Alexander Cruz
Santiago Alexander Cruz Android need to be more smooth. Even with jelly bean I still notice a lot of frame rate issues. And force close.
Sky Baun
Sky Baun Better stock camera software?




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