What Google Needs for Key Lime Pie and Beyond

Jellybean has smoothed some of the rough edges of Android. Project Butter addressed one the problems of fluidity of the interface. Google Now brings the Android version of Siri to the masses. But there are few other places where Android could use some work. Here are few suggestions for the Googleplex.

Convergence – RIM, may they rest in peace, had a good thing going with the Blackberry in many respects. One feature that I miss dearly is that of messaging convergence. All communications can be viewed from a central Inbox and acted on from there as well. To some degree, the Android notifications perform this function, but they are a single shot. Once you dismiss them, you have to go to each individual messaging application to act on them. A single Inbox for all your Facebook, Linked-In, email and Google Voice messages would allow easier management of all your communications. This could be combined with a social aggregator widget. Motorola had a good idea with their Blur interface, but only a so-so implementation.

Hardware standardization – If there is one aspect of the Apple ecosystem that I envy, it is that you can plug most any iDevice into one of their connectors and route power, audio and control to an external unit. This has allowed a rich market of peripherals to exist and these devices are incorporated in diverse products such as cars, kiosks and even gym equipment. It is something woefully absent from the Android market. Yes, there are some docks, but they are proprietary for each model. A single connector standard would bring manufacturers out en mass almost immediately and would allow hardware parity with Apple.

Convenience buttons – Since the release of ICS, Google has depreciated hardware buttons, but I think this is a big mistake. A great feature of Blackberry was the presence of convenience buttons, configurable buttons that could be attached to nearly event. If you are a photographer, link one button to the camera app. If you are a search junkie, connect one to Google Now. These hardware shortcut keys would greatly increase usability.

Android Experience Index – There is a glaring problem in Android that is hurting adoption. There are a large number of really crappy devices out there that provide a poor Android experience. And unless you follow Android or are somewhat techy, you don’t really know that you might be picking up a bum device. I speak from experience. After having several less than stellar devices, I now have a Galaxy Nexus running jellybean. This is the device that finally shows me Android with the speed and fluidity where I don’t bog down. Perhaps Google should take a page from Microsoft and Windows 7 and give some type of gauge of the Android performance for a piece of hardware. This would let consumers know what they are getting into and allow them to more easily compare devices.

Advanced Bluetooth Video/Touchscreen Specification – This is the one that would shake the world. Google should author a bluetooth specification that would allow a slave touch screen to connect to an Android phone. Why, you ask? Because it would allow manufacturers to fully integrate Android to almost ANY product. Imagine for a minute if Toyota or Ford implemented such a specification. You would get into you car and you could see your phone in the dash.  The full power of the device is available to you while it is still in your pocket. No need to sync your contacts and the voice dial would be the one that you are familiar with. You could use your favorite music player on your phone. Google Navigation would fully integrate into your audio system. When you upgrade your phone, your car would have those upgrades. All the auto manufacturers would have to provide is a touchscreen and bluetooth interface.