Google Focuses on Security With Next Version of Android Software

Alphabet Inc.’s Google is bolstering security features in the latest version of Android, the world’s most popular mobile operating system, which it previewed at the company’s annual developer conference.

Android 15 will add capabilities to deter theft and better protect users against fraud, scams and various other attacks that could compromise data on a device, the company said Wednesday at Google I/O in Mountain View, California. There’ll also be a new so-called private space to secure sensitive information and ways to remotely lock devices, including ones that have been taken offline.

Archrival Apple Inc. has made iPhone privacy and security a key selling point, aiming to gain an edge on Android-powered devices from Google and partners like Samsung Electronics Co. Now Google appears keen to close that gap with a wave of changes and updates. Samsung, which trades the title of world’s biggest smartphone maker with Apple, has also designed a suite of user-protection features under its Knox brand.

Alongside the discussion of the next version of Android, which can be expected to arrive at roughly the same time as the latest iteration of Google’s Pixel smartphones, usually released in October, Google talks about its wider ecosystem momentum.

Its Wear OS for watches increased users by 40% in 2023, while its Android TV operating system reached 220 million active devices over the past year, marking a 47% rise. There are also now more than 200 million cars on the road compatible with Google’s Android Auto software.

Elsewhere at I/O, Google executives such as co-founder Sergey Brin hinted at the return of augmented-reality glasses with the help of AI. One of the company’s buzziest announcements was Project Astra — an AI agent that can use a smartphone camera to “see” the world around it and answer questions about the scenery.

Artificial intelligence additions are going to be a major point of differentiation for mobile software makers, and Google can expect a response from Apple when it hosts its Worldwide Developers Conference in June in Cupertino, California.

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