Major Android update tipped to improve multitasking across devices and web

Android Hera Features and User Interface

Google is reportedly working on a major Android update that will bring further functionality to the mobile platform, Android Police says. Referred to internally as project “Hera,” this Android OS version will let the user manage tasks across devices, whether they’re Android apps, Chrome apps, web-based apps or web elements of apps.

Apparently, Google is working on a “special Chromium build meant to run on Android and execute tasks through the web both for Google and third-party apps.” Thus, the multitasking view in Hera will show active Android apps running on the device, but also snapshots of actions in Chromium instances that would allow users to perform “quick actions online without using the full app.”

According to the mockups drawn by Android Police, the Hera interface will be somewhat similar to Google’s Google Now card-based UI, and will be able to generate a card from everything Google-related for a user.

“Hera will do for your Android devices essentially the same thing Chrome desktop sync does now, but for everything Google,” Android Police writes. “If you begin a task on another device (be it mobile or desktop), it seems Hera will add that into the new multitasking view as a card like the ones shown above. But it will also be able to incorporate tasks usually handled by apps. So, if you had Google Maps open on your tablet showing directions to a place, and you forgot the address, there would already be a Hera instance in your multitasking view with the same activity.”

This doesn’t mean that Chrome and Android will be merged, but rather that Google will take additional steps to offer a “cohesive experiences across all screens.” Microsoft has revealed at Build a similar direction for its mobile, desktop and gaming experiences, although Microsoft’s take is completely different from Google’s.

It’s not clear at this time when project Hera will be released as a next-gen Android build, and whether it’ll be introduced at Google I/O 2014 in a few months, or whether it will be part of a major update later this year.

Concept images showing the Hera user interface follow below.

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