Android in 2020: the future of Google's mobile OS explored

Android Rocky Road?

The Google Authenticator app of 2020 could work with your device's NFC chip to automatically log you into Gmail when you sit down at your laptop, for example, or pay for your flight when you step on a plane. Apple has Passbook, and Google will want an equivalent in place too.

Android in 2020 the future of Google s mobile OS explored

We've seen tattoos and pills shown off as possible authentication triggers of the future, and Android 2020 will play a big part in proving you are who you say you are, whether it's at a coffee shop or Google I/O.

Basic face recognition is already available, but in the years to come it has the potential to get much more accurate. It might even be joined by fingerprint or retina scanning built into Android's camera app, or at least part of the phone, now that Apple has shown that fingerprint scanning is a viable option with its new Touch ID technology.

4. Android hardware in 2020

Hardware innovations are going to play a big part in Android's roadmap. Besides the obvious smaller, thinner, faster improvements for our phones, bendable screens should be in place in the near future - the likes of Samsung have the tech already in production, and Android will change to adapt itself through scrolling rivers of news, status updates and other notifications.

Ever-changing, ever-optimising displays will be the order of the day, and the batteries and mobile processors of 2020 should be able to keep up.

Android in 2020 the future of Google s mobile OS explored

Google Glass has of course generated plenty of buzz this year, good and bad, as has the rumour of an Apple iWatch to compete with the Galaxy Gear. It looks like the wearable tech revolution is about to take off, and by the time 2020 rolls around this could mean miniature devices on our glasses, wrists and clothing, ready to capture every moment and record every movement.

You won't need to take photos any more, since Google will simply pick out the best pictures from the unedited stream of the day's events. Nor will you need to decide what to eat for dinner - Android 2020 will know what you've been doing today (and what you're probably doing tonight), and can pick out the most suitable foods for you.

Android: the 2020 edition

The only certainty about Android's future is that it has a fight on its hands to stay competitive. Apple's new-look iOS 7 has given Google plenty to think about, not least with its tie-ins with Facebook, Twitter, Bing, Flickr and Vimeo.

Android's continuing integration with Chrome and the desktop/laptop will make for an interesting story too - they're both run by the same man, Sundar Pichai, remember - and perhaps Google's biggest challenge will be to convince us that we can trust it with more and more information about where we are, who we communicate with and the way we live our lives.