Android is Getting Official Support for Folding Displays, 5G, More

Posted on February 25, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Android with 4 Comments

Google announced that it will formally support foldable displays, 5G communications, RCS messaging, and more in Android. It’s also bringing Android One, Google Assistant, and its Digital Wellbeing tools to more handsets from leading device makers.

“Android’s mission has always been to work closely with a broad and open ecosystem of partners to push the boundaries of hardware and software, bringing new experiences and capabilities to your mobile device,” Google vice president Jamie Rosenberg explains in a new post to the official Android blog. “Together with manufacturers, carriers, chipset makers and developers, we want to build mobile experiences that are both productive and helpful—whether that’s giving you new ways to explore the world, helping you stay on top of a busy day or providing the tools to maintain a healthy relationship with technology.”

Here are the announcements.

Folding displays. Android will formally support the foldable displays we’re starting to see from handset makers like Huawei and Samsung, including unique features like multiple foreground apps.

5G. Android will be the first major computing platform to formally support 5G networking, and Google has worked with partners like Samsung, Xiaomi, LG, Huawei, Qualcomm, Sony, HTC, OnePlus and Vivo to help get the first-generation 5G-capable handsets to market.

Rich Communication Services (RCS). Google is adding RCS support to its Messaging app and has helped its partners like Samsung, Huawei, America Movil, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefonica, Telenor, and Vodafone launch RCS in 24 countries so far, enabling group chats, read receipts, improved media sharing, and more.

Android One. Activations of Android One handsets grew 250 percent last year thanks to strong uptake from Google partners like Xiaomi, LG, Motorola, and HMD Global. Android One is important for a number of reasons, but Google is highlighting perhaps the best reason: These devices get timely, regular software updates, including new Android versions.

Google Assistant. LG, Nokia, TCL, Vivo, and Xiaomi are among the Android handset makers that are adding dedicated Google Assistant buttons to at least some of their devices this year. Google expects over 100 million devices to ship in 2019 with a dedicated Google Assistant button.

Digital Wellbeing. Initially only available in Google’s Pixel-branded handsets and Android One phones, Google’s Digital Wellbeing tools are expanding to other phones, starting with the Moto G7 family.

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