By Phil Goldstein
Over the course of the next few months, Google, Apple and Microsoft are all expected to show off new enhancements to their respective smartphone operating systems. Microsoft likely will detail its Windows 10 platform for phones during its Build developer conference this week; Google is expected to announce its new Android M during its I/O conference that starts May 28; and Apple likely will discuss iOS 9 during its Worldwide Developers Conference, which kicks off June 8 in San Francisco.
Each company has a different goal with these unveilings.
Microsoft, for its part, is trying to regain momentum in the mobile market and unify its Windows platforms into one seamless operating system for a wide range of devices, including phones, PCs and tablets. The company had envisioned doing that with the rollout of Windows 8, but that fell flat largely because of consumer disinterest in the PC market. So the company is giving it another shot with Windows 10, which is expected to be released sometime in July or perhaps a little later this summer.
Microsoft has been more open than Google or Apple about the features it will be adding to its next smartphone OS, in part because it wants to include users in the development of the platform. Microsoft also needs to drum up developer and consumer enthusiasm for its platform in mobile, where the company still has a miniscule market share globally.
Meantime, Google is looking to branch out into new areas to make Android a platform that works on more devices and in more settings. During its I/O conference, the company will likely announce updates for how Android works with cars and potentially with connected devices. Google is also looking to make mobile payments easier and more seamless with Android M.
Google has gone with dessert-themed nicknames for all of its Android updates since the third major one (Cupcake), and there's no reason to expect the search giant to break with precedent this time. However, like last year, Google is likely going to call the next version of Android simply "Android M" before giving it an official nickname (Android L was later changed to Lollipop). Google's I/O developer conference kicks off May 28.
Apple, meanwhile, has spent the past few years overhauling the look of its iOS operating system and adding a range of services. Last year, for example, Apple announced "extensibility," which will allow iOS applications to share data and interact with one another. The company also announced Apple Pay for mobile payments and its new HealthKit program, which is part of the company's move into the mobile healthcare space. After spending so much time adding new bells and whistles to iOS, Apple is reportedly focused on making its next iteration of iOS more stable.
Beyond the basics, though, what exactly can we expect from Windows 10, iOS 9 and Android M? Based on informed speculation and rumors, we have collected the top 5 items we expect to see for each of these top platforms. Click on a link below to explore each platform and the updates we expect this year.