Android 14 is fast approaching. But before Google publicly releases the next big version of the mobile operating system alongside its latest Pixel devices, the company has revealed a refreshed Android logo.
In a blog post, Android consumer brand management director Jason Fournier wrote that the company wanted the bugdroid to "appear as dynamic as Android itself." By overhauling the full-body look of the mascot, the hope is that it will be easier for the bugdroid to look consistent across both digital and real-world environments. The refreshed bugdroid and updated logo will start appearing on Android devices and elsewhere later this year.
Along with the rebrand, Google has revealed the details of the quarterly Android feature drop. The headline feature is a new widget called Assistant At a Glance. The aim of this is to bring helpful information such as weather alerts, event reminders and travel updates. The widget uses AI to surface these details.
There's a very useful-sounding accessibility feature coming to Android imminently. It's called Image Q&A on Lookout. You'll be able to use voice commands or type questions to find out more details about AI-generated audio descriptions of visual content. Google designed the feature with blind and low-vision people in mind.
You'll soon be able to add passes with barcodes and QR codes (such as your library and gym cards) to Google Wallet to save you having to carry those around. There will be the option to add Fitbit/Google Fit activity and sleep data to personal routines to help you keep track of your wellness goals. Meanwhile, Google has redesigned the Personal Safety app with the goal of making it easier for users to share their live location, record surroundings and call 911.
Last but not least is an Android Auto update. Webex and Zoom support is coming soon. You'll be able to join conference calls via audio and view meeting schedules on the car's display. We've seen automakers bring meeting apps to their infotainment systems, but Android Auto support may mean that there's no escape from a conference call.
These features, which Google is rolling out gradually, will start arriving today on the Pixel 5, Pixel 5a and Pixel 4a. They'll land on Pixel 6 and Pixel 7-series phones as well as the Pixel Fold over the next few weeks. You can expect all of these features on the latest batch of Pixel devices that Google will announce next month too.