How plans to lock you away from iOS ndows

BY GreenBot Staff

Published 26 Jun 2014

In the past, one thing that’s always separated from its rivals has been the ability to use services across many platforms. ether you owned an ione, an id, a Mac, or a ndows , you always had access to services like Search, Maps, Docs. Of course, would prefer that you use Android Chromebooks, but that rarely felt like a requirement.

At this year’s I/O conference, we’re starting to see a different strategy emerge. is now making the case that if you want the full experience, you need to use Android devices Chromebooks together. In other words, is taking a page from the Apple playbook, pushing users to lock themselves in.

Shackles on your wrists

Android ar is a prime example. By design, ’s smartwatch platform only works with Android phones. It relies heavily on Android’s actionable notifications—which let you do things like reply to a message or delete an email— puts them directly on your wrist. On stage, also demonstrated how you could use a smartwatch to authenticate an Android phone or Chromebook, preventing you from having to enter a N or password when the watch is paired over Bluetooth. In another example, we saw how an Android ar user could send recipe instructions from a smartphone app to the watch, with the app following along as the user moved through each step.

google io roid wear lg g watch

Android ar seems to be the smartwatch platform we’ve been waiting for, but naturally it’ll only work with Android phones.

’s automotive efforts, dubbed Android Auto, will follow a similar track, letting Android phone users view control apps from their car entertainment systems. ke Android ar, it’ll integrate with the notification system that’s built into Android, letting you quickly respond to phone calls text messages by voice.

also announced a couple new capabilities for Chromebooks. en the next major version of Android arrives this fall, Chromebook users will get to see notifications for text messages, phone calls low battery warnings from an Android phone. Though it’s unclear why these features wouldn’t work on Chrome for ndows or Mac, there was no mention of them exping beyond Chromebooks.

Android on your TV

Even ’s Chromecast, a $35 TV streaming device designed to work with iOS, Android Chrome, is getting an Android-exclusive feature. In several weeks, select Android phones will be able to mirror the phone’s display on the big screen. This will allow Android users to quickly show off photos videos from their phones, run apps like Earth.

google io roid tv nba jam games

Save a game on your Android phone, pick it up on your Android TV.

Android TV, ’s other big announcement, also has a couple of extra hooks for Android users. For gamers, ay Games can save progress from a game on your phone or tablet, let you pick up where you left off on your TV. ( ay Games is also available on iOS, but developer support is weak given that Apple has its own gaming service.) Android ar users will also be able to control Android TV from their wrists.

Trapped on an open platform

ck-in isn’t entirely a bad thing. Many of the features described above simply couldn’t exist if didn’t control the underlying platforms. (Apple is making a similar pitch with iOS 8 Mac OS X Yosemite, with features like the ability to answer ione calls from an id or Mac.)


The more devices you have that run Android, the harder it will be to ever switch ecosystems.

The downside is that as these platforms exp to more devices, become even more connected, it becomes harder to switch as your needs change. Moving to a different smartphone platform is hard; it’s harder still when you also have a tablet running the same platform. But it’s nearly impossible when your car, your watch, your tablet, your laptop, your phone your TV are all tied to a single company’s services.

And that, of course, is the idea: The deeper you commit to , the more powerful your devices become. st remember that power always comes at a cost.