During the Keynote presentation for the recent Google I/O 2014 event, Sundar Pichai wrapped up a series of platform-specific announcements about Android, with a presentation of new features of Android for Chromebooks, which he subsumed as the “laptops and Chromebooks” platform.
Most of Pichai’s opening remarks on this topic, in this writer’s opinion, were more about Google porting Android smart phone Apps over to the Chromebook platform, which he referred to as something of a challenge, given the Chromebook’s “keyboard and mouse” input methods. Some of the highlights of these remarks included:
- Chromebook Version CR48 launched about 3 years ago
- Two years ago Samsung and Asus became the first Chromebook OEMs buidling solutions for two countries: US and the UK
- Chromebooks are enjoing “tremendous momentum”
- In 2014 there are now 8 OEMs (Acer, HP, LG, Samsung, Dell, Lenovo, Asus, and Toshiba), making 15 devices (with many more on the way) for markets located in 28 countries. Many of the 28 countries are in emerging markets, including:
- and Brazil
- Chromebooks are gaining tremendous traction in Education markets (this is, potentially, worse news for Apple than for Microsoft). Pichai claimed sales to K-12 in the US have grown by “6X” over an unclear timeframe. He went on to announce “we’re investing a lot more in this area”, with an objective of creating a “seamless experience” (is it safe to guess Google is very closely attending to Microsoft’s marketing communications themes?) across all of these devices–smart phones, tablets and laptop/chromebooks.
Pichai then segued into some announcements clearly targeted to enterprise IT organizations either in attendance, or in discussions with Google:
- The L Android release includes a set of APIs to provide enterprise IT consumers with a more attractive set of features, with greater relevance to their computing realities. Some of these are designed to permit users to store personal applications and corporate applications, securely, on the same device (Pichai referred to the Bring Your Own Device, BYOD, movement as a real driver for these new features)
- The result of these APIs is a new, more secure Android O/S, which will provide consumers with “full data separation and security between personal and corporate data”.
- Samsung has offered its “Knox” secure data solution to the broader Android OEM market place. Pichai summed up the positive impact of this move, noting how Android will have “one consistent story” for data security built around “Knox”.
Finally, in a direct, frontal assault on the core theme of many of Satya Nadella’s (Microsoft CEO) recent presentations, namely “Productivity”, Pichai announced not only an objective to ensure Office files work seamlessly on Android, but also an acquisition of QuickOffice, which has been rolled into Google Drive (follow the link just provided and you’ll land on Google Drive and find no mention whatsoever of Quickoffice as a separate product”>.
The highlight of the last section was his announcement of a new feature of Google Docs: native Office Editing built into the Google suite of editors. Pichai demonstrated editing capabilities within Word file with no requirement for conversion to Docs file format.
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