As an operating system for mobile devices, Android has been around for a long time. Since the HTC Dream in 2008, there have been dozens of major and minor tweaks to its design, features and intent; it has morphed from a basic touchscreen OS for making calls and sending text messages to a tablet platform, a constantly-updated barebones kernel and a mobile productivity powerhouse. Google's plan for its next great Android update, though, has us a little puzzled.
Picture via Android Police
All of this is just a rumour at the moment, but it's a pretty solid one from everything we've seen so far. Android Police has an extensive, detailed rundown of what it thinks the Next Big Thing is for Android, after Honeycomb, Project Butter and Svelte. It's called Hera, and it's all about turning your Android device away from discrete apps, and towards a notifications- and task-driven interaction device.
The idea, as far as we can tell, is to unify Chrome, Google Search and the Android kernel in the way they address apps, their data and their notifications. Imagine having an email from Gmail or a notification from your calendar pop up on your device's screen, and answering it or addressing that prompt without launching an app.
This is what Hera is about — letting Android interact with services independently of their discrete apps, giving you a more homogeneous experience on your phone. This update could leverage all the work Google has done with its revamped Cards interface, flat UI, expansions to Google Now, and the always-listening features of handsets like the Nexus 5 onwards. If it's a hoax, it's a good one — everything just seems to line up.
Even if this is pure fantasy and speculation, it's pretty well-reasoned and researched. If there was another imminent great leap forward for Android on the cards (excuse the pun), we'd happily bet that this is it. [Android Police]