Seeking to capitalize on its recent ouster of Apple as the biggest distributor of apps, Google executives today unrolled a series of products designed to make Android simpler and more lucrative for app developers.
The company added a number of features to Google Play Services, the toolkit the company provides to developers. It will also offer an automatically updating version of its operating system on the Samsung Galaxy S4, so that consumers can have immediate access to the latest version of the operating system.
Because the Google Play Services toolkit will be updated directly by Google, it will go immediately to developers, so they can start building apps that take advantage of the latest features.
Google hopes to reduce the issue of operating system fragmentation, as customers who buy different devices wind up with different versions of the Android OS, and few enjoy the features of the latest version.
Android has now seen 900 million installations worldwide, but it delivers less revenue from apps because they have to build for a wide range of devices running the multiple, often outdated, version of Android.
However, revenue is increasing, said senior vice president Hugo Barra. Revenue per user is up 250 percent since last year’s I/O conference.
Among the new features in the toolkit a display that shows detailed mock-up versions of how an app runs on multiple devices of multiple sizes, making it easier for developers to optimize for the gamut of devices that users could have. It will also feature expanded location services APIs and a single sign-on using Google+ that signs the user in simultaneously across all of his or her devices.