Android has come a long way. In fact, 2017 was quite a year for Google's platform. However, 2018 will take what happened in 2017 and improve on it quite a bit. Let's gaze into our crystal ball and see what might be in store for Android in the coming year.
SEE: Mobile device computing policy (Tech Pro Research)
I think it goes without saying that display size is going to rule the marketplace in 2018. The goal for every manufacturer should be as little bezel as possible and as much screen as they can offer. Instead of going all out larger, I believe Samsung is going to be setting the bar and improving on what they've offered with the Galaxy S8+ and the Note8—in other words, taller will be better. Gone will be the standard "phablet" form factor, and in its place, tall and lean.
Essential PH-1 will be the "it" device
Essential released its PH-1 in 2017 and it was so close to being the perfect Android device. Unfortunately, the camera hardware was hindered by software that simply wasn't up to the task. The Essential developers have already proved they are working hard on the task—going so far as separating the camera into its own "division." I'm fairly certain the camera issues will be resolved in 2018, making the PH-1 the smartphone to have. Once the camera is functioning properly, the combination of bezel-less display, gorgeous case, and low price point will make this phone impossible to resist.
Battery life will drastically improve
If there's one thing Google proved with Oreo it's that battery life can be improved through software. Moving from Nougat to Oreo saw significant improvement over battery life on most supporting devices. Google will improve on that to the point where nearly every device running the latest release of the platform will enjoy all day battery life. This will go a long way to prevent the necessity for even larger batteries from having to be used with devices, although some phones will probably start shipping with larger and larger batteries.
Malware will start to fade
Google did a great thing with Play Protect. Although it has started to slightly stem the tide of malware, it hasn't come near to preventing it. I have every confidence that with the next release of Android Google will finally solve this monstrous problem and malware on Android will start to fade. It won't vanish completely, but by year's end we should see less and less reporting of discovered malware on Android 8 and later. Unfortunately, this will not help anyone running Android 7 and earlier. Considering Android 6 still has the largest chunk of the Android marketshare, this will still be a problem for Google (thanks to older devices).
SEE: Cybersecurity in an IoT and mobile world, free PDF (ZDNet/TechRepublic special report)
More Pixel Phones, buh bye HTC
Google will continue with the Pixel Phone. Even though both the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL suffered from hardware issues, Google will stick with LG and HTC as the manufacture of their devices. The Pixel 3 will see dramatically slimmed-down bezels and the 3 XL will no longer suffer from the issues that have plagued it in 2017. The release of the next Pixel line will go a long way to salvage HTC. How? I look for Google to out and out acquire HTC such that it will become the sole producer of both Pixel and Pixel XL phones.
Android "Pocky" or "Popsicle"
My guess is the name for Android 9 might be either "Pocky" or "Popsicle." Naming convention aside, I can't imagine that 9 will be much of a diversion from 8—as 8 is that good. However, I would expect that Android Assistant will not only become even more of a focus with the platform, it will enjoy even more third-party app integration. I also believe that Android "P" will finally see Security patches for all devices to be delivered in a more timely fashion. I have one device running Android Oreo with a security patch that is two months out of date. At the same time, I have a device running Android Nougat with an up-to-date security patch. For Google's sake, they need to get this universalized by the time "P" rolls out.
We have the Pixel Phones and the Pixelbook. I'm going out on a limb to say that Google will release a Pixel Tablet in 2018. This will serve as a perfect bridge between the phones and laptops—and will run Android "P."
It's going to be a good year
Android and Google stand to have an outstanding 2018. Building on what Oreo brought to life, the platform will become even sleeker and more secure.
What would you like to see happen to Android in 2018?
- The ups and downs of Android in 2017 (TechRepublic)
- New Google Play Store malware highlights disturbing trend of multi-stage Android attacks (TechRepublic)
- Essential Phone PH-1: The smart person's guide (TechRepublic)
- Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL: Everything the pros need to know (TechRepublic)
- Google unveils Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, sets bar high for premium Android experience (TechRepublic)
- Video: Google's Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL: Is AI enough to sell hardware? (TechRepublic Video)
- Video: Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL first look (ZDNet)
- What mobile has in store for you in 2018 (CNET)
- Best Android phones for 2018 (CNET)
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.