There’s been quite a lot of hype about the next generation of Android OS –known as Q – which is being beta tested and is due to be released later this year. It will bring plenty of changes to the mobile ecosystem, ranging from a long-awaited system-wide dark mode, to the disappearance of the iconic back button.
One feature that is generating buzz and interest in developer circles is enhanced access to network performance information, including data on estimated 5G throughput. The companies expect apps will use this information to enhance video and audio quality for 5G users, as well as app and game responsiveness given the lower latency of 5G connections. This industry advancement means that new apps can have modes that fully exploit the huge amount of bandwidth available on a 5G network, (think augmented reality overlays, or multiplayer games) but that also offer scaled back versions for when less bandwidth is available.
As a company we’re laser focused on helping our service provider customers deliver the best possible experience for end users, and we applaud this step forward that the industry is taking. Giving app developers the opportunity to fully exploit the potential of 5G while ensuring great throughput-aware performance, opens up exciting new use cases and helps end users to access new, immersive, experiences with their devices. And this throughput information is exactly what many of our service provider customers regularly ask us for to inform decisions on intelligent connectivity options.
But it doesn’t go far enough.
We strongly believe that to deliver an excellent end-user experience WHILE enabling service providers to execute their business plans, the industry needs to be able to manage connections truly intelligently. All devices must have the ability to prioritize home or office networks, recognize when apps are being used in a moving vehicle or to be able to manage cellular data use based on customer tiers, or their individual preferences.
In fact, our customers can do that today – thanks to our sophisticated Connection Management capability that is embedded in their apps. This technology, which incidentally works on the majority of mobile operating systems and phones worldwide, enables service providers to customize and optimize the user experience for customer tiers or even individual users.
And now, it’s going to be even easier to implement these policies for those devices running Android Q. Today, one of the biggest challenges is assessing the speed of a network because it is impactful to the battery and data usage to run such tests at the application layer. With the operating system making this information available to our coneection manager we can now cost effectively and accurately pinpoint the fastest network to be on, whther it’s 5G or Wi-Fi 6. Our Connection Management function monitors each network’s performance in terms of latency, packet loss and jitter to establish its mean opinion scores and now has this additional real speed estimate – to determine whether it is capable of handling high bandwidth/low latency applications such as video streaming or live streaming, or the next killer app that 5G brings.
However, with 5G networks still in their infancy, and only a handful of 5G handsets planned this year, it is going to be a while before the deluge of additional bandwidth hits most end users. Our customers are already able to ensure the best possible network experience for their users – by effortlessly blending the Wi-Fi and cellular networks for a continuous, superior end-user experience. When 5G becomes available to more users, we’re able to help service providers overcome some of its shortcomings, for example indoors, by seamlessly leveraging Wi-Fi to deliver content as it was intended and to ensure that end users’ mobile experiences are uninterrupted.
As the connectivity experts, we applaud Google and Qualcomm on this industry advancement and look forward to continuing to applying our connection management capabilities to deliver intelligent connectivity for all devices and networks.