Year In Review

Android 2018 primer: 10 bits of telling analysis to mull over

'Tis the season for looking back — and looking ahead.

Android 2018 Primer
JR Raphael

As we gear up for a quiet week of relaxation, reflection, and — hey, who knows — maybe even a little regurgitation, now's a fine time to both look to the past and prepare for the future.

In the world of Android, after all, trends mean everything. And thinking back on some of the broader trends we've observed with the platform over the past 12 months can go a long way in informing us about the moves we're likely to see in the months ahead.

Take a few minutes to revisit these important bits of analysis as you brace yourself for the coming January craziness. They'll give you valuable context about where Android and Google in general are going and what broad themes are bound to dominate the discussion in 2018.

So grab your thinking caps — Santa-themed, dreidel-adorned, or whatever the case may be — and let's do a little mulling.

On hardware and Google's grander ambitions

1. Welcome to the era of the Google ecosystem

Android? Nope. Chrome OS? Nah. Google's new focus is firmly on itself as an ecosystem — and that is one monumental change.

2. Google's Pixel 2 embraces the reality everyone else is ignoring

The question now is how long it'll take other manufacturers — and ultimately customers — to come around to the idea.

3. How long til the true Google retail store arrives?

As Google goes further into the hardware-hawking rabbit hole, a real-world retail presence seems all but inevitable.

4. How Android One could complete Google's grand Android plan

With the company's low-cost, closely controlled phone program now in America, the missing piece of the puzzle may finally be apparent.

On upgrades and the evolving realities of the Android ecosystem

5. The ugly truth behind Android's upgrade problem

Android device-makers are sending a loud and clear message, and it's time we all start listening.

6. What's the answer to Android's upgrade problem?

Improving Android's upgrade situation is anything but easy — but if you look closely, you'll see that Google's already working toward its own kind of fix.

On Chrome OS and its impact on Android

7. Google's turning up the gas on its Android-Chrome OS alignment

The tales of two platforms are about to intersect like never before.

8. Time to call it: The Chromebook is the new Android tablet

The Android tablet is dead. Long live the Android tablet.

On security and Google's ongoing efforts to make you feel safe

9. The big secret behind Google Play Protect on Android

There's one detail rarely mentioned about Google's latest Android security effort — and it's a critical point for everyone to understand.

10. Android 8.0 in-depth: Oreo's not-so-obvious security enhancements

A close look at Oreo's subtle security enhancements speaks volumes about Google's upcoming goals.

And just for funsies...

Android versions: A living history from 1.0 to today

Explore Android's ongoing evolution with this visual timeline of versions, starting B.C. (before Cupcake) and going all the way to Oreo.

Rest assured: These are all themes we'll be talking about much more in the months ahead. So mull away, then shut down that beautiful brain of yours a bit and enjoy some well-deserved R&R (red wine and rice pudding, obviously). We'll pick up here soon, and this primer will have your noggin in the perfect place for the next phase of our ever-progressing discussion.

A very merry Festivus to you, my friend. See you in 2018!

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