Android 15 — 5 ways it just put iOS 18 on notice

Android 15
(Image credit: Future)

Call it an unconventional keynote compared to past years, but it was an AI affair with the Google I/O 2024 event. All the focus was on artificial intelligence and how Google’s rolling out new services across its entire service portfolio — including Android 15 — which is still tipped for release later this year.

Even though there was no direct reference to Android 15 during the keynote, many of the new AI features coming to Android are slated to arrive by the end of year. For rival Apple, it should be a rude awakening because it puts iOS 18 on notice because of the huge divide between the mobile operating platforms when it comes to artificial intelligence.

With the dizzying pace Google put on during its keynote, we’ll detail how Android 15 is getting better with the help of AI and why Apple can’t afford to fall behind the AI wars.

Gemini access in all apps

Gemini Nano

(Image credit: Google)

Gemini on your Android is getting more useful because it’s going to be better at understanding what app you’re using and the context of your screen. Similar to how Circle to Search lets you perform Google searches in-app, Gemini will also be able to know what app you’re running when you ask it a question pertaining to what’s on your screen. For those with Gemini Advanced, they’ll also have an “Ask this PDF” option that lets Gemini scroll through a long PDF and then carve out specific answers to your questions.

If that’s not enough, Pixel phones will be introduced to Gemini Nano with Multimodality, which would move beyond just processing text input on your Android phone. It’ll take the next step by comprehending more information from sight, sound, and language.

Circle to Search on more Android phones

Circle to Search

(Image credit: Google)

Sure, Circle to Search isn’t necessarily new considering how it’s available on newer Pixel 8 and Galaxy S24 devices, but Google’s rolling it out to even more Android phones. In fact, it’s on track to double the 100 million devices it’s on today by the end of the year.

Even more impressive is how Circle to Search can also help students with the homework. For example, rather than providing direct answers to mathematical problems, Circle to Search can offer step-by-step instructions on how they arrive at the answer.

Ask Photos with Gemini

Ask Photos powered by Gemini

(Image credit: Google)

Although it’s an experimental feature that’ll be available in the coming months, Ask Photos with Gemini is giving Google Photos an overhaul by analyzing the photos you’ve stored in Google Photos with your requests to Gemini.

If there’s a certain photo you’re trying to recall, you can use Gemini to give a description of it and it’ll aggregate the most relevant results from your library. The demo Google showed off for Ask Photos with Gemini also included how it could be used to tell you the license plate number on your car.

Smarter scam detection

Scam warnings in phone calls using AI

(Image credit: Google)

Personal identity theft is a problem, so Google’s looking to combat the problem with a feature for Android that can better identify scam phone calls. Through a new feature that uses Gemini Nano, it will detect if the conversation that you’re having on a phone call is associated with scams. This was demoed during the keynote and intelligently offers this additional layer of protection on-device. This bolsters what many Google Pixel phone owners already have access to with Call Screen, which turns Google Assistant into an actual assistant to screen phone calls.

Describing images with TalkBack

Gif animation of Google TalkBack AI feature.

(Image credit: Google)

One accessibility feature that will help those with blindness of low vision is TalkBack, which is one of Gemini Nano’s multimodal capabilities. Essentially, this on-device feature will describe the image in detail, giving users better descriptions of images they would otherwise have difficulty seeing.

It seems like Google had a robust set of AI announcements at its keynote, but there still could be much more in store for Android 15 on the second day of Google I/O 2024. Meanwhile, Apple’s tipped to make AI a focus for its upcoming WWDC 2024 conference next month, which iOS desperately needs because there’s just a big contrast with what Android’s doing around AI versus iOS. 

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John Velasco
Senior Channel Editor for Phones

John’s a senior editor covering phones for Tom’s Guide. He’s no stranger in this area having covered mobile phones and gadgets since 2008 when he started his career. On top of his editor duties, he’s a seasoned videographer being in front and behind the camera producing YouTube videos. Previously, he held editor roles with PhoneArena, Android Authority, Digital Trends, and SPY. Outside of tech, he enjoys producing mini documentaries and fun social clips for small businesses, enjoying the beach life at the Jersey Shore, and recently becoming a first time homeowner.