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Google I/O Preview: Ice Cream Social on Your TV. To Go.

by Noah Kravitz | May 9, 2011May 9, 2011 4:59 pm PDT

Note: Bookmark our Google I/O 2011 Home Page for all of this week’s news!

Google I/O kicks off Tuesday morning in San Francisco with a 9 am Keynote followed by two full days’ of sessions with a second Keynote, a few lunches, and a whole mess of parties sandwiched in between. I’ll be there starting bright and early Tuesday to bring you the relevant news, product demos, and whatever else I can scrape up among the halls of Moscone Center. Also: Livecast at 11am Pacific!

A quick scan of the I/O Sessions page, along with a few minutes spent perusing RSS feeds yields a handful of predictions worth making about this year’s conference. So take out your scorecards and prepare to play along at home:

Social: Google will be doing all they can to chase Facebook (and Twitter) all year long. Their employee bonus plan says so. Look for initiatives like +1 and Social Circles/Search mentioned in the Keynotes and throughout the event.

Music: An update on Google’s music initiative – or even, gulp!, a full-on launch – seems in order given both the launch of Amazon’s streaming service and the fact that Vic Gundotra, SVP of Social, teased the product at last year’s I/O. Integrating music, and even movies, into the Android Market is a move who’s time is nigh. And then there’s that leak

Ice Cream (Sandwich): Ever since Google CEO Eric Schmidt talked about it at MWC in February, Devs and Fanboys alike have been clamoring for the Android release to unify them all: Ice Cream Sandwich. Or is it just Ice Cream? Either way, the Android faithful are eager to hear more about the next version of Google’s mobile OS, and we’re all anticipating significant movement towards an environment that allows developers to easily craft wares for smartphones, tablets and … if you believe Rob over at Phandroid … Google TV boxes alike. Expect big news on the Android front during Tuesday’s opening Keynote.

Chrome: I’m not exactly sure how Google sees Chrome filling a tech world void like Android has, but they’re apparently still pretty fired up about it. Rumors are flying regarding a party Google and Samsung are hosting this Wednesday night, after I/O is over: We may just see a Chrome OS netbook launched this week, with a dual-core Intel Atom processor at its heart.

Google TV: Though it didn’t exactly debut to a chorus of angels singing its praises, Google TV is far from dead. The months-long silence around Google’s set-top box initiative should be broken this week, with developer sessions and YouTube’s expanded movie rental offerings both hinting at some Google TV news coming out of I/O. Google TV needs content, it needs developers to innovate on the platform, and it needs OEM partners to slim down and sexy up those crazy QWERTY remotes. I/O would be the perfect setting for a Google TV 2.0 launch party, don’tcha think?

Pot Shots at the Competition: Now a hallmark of all “Dev Conferences,” look for Google’s Keynote speakers to take digs at all comers – Steve Jobs in particular – during their speeches. Only question is, will the pot shots come as fast and furious in ’11 as they did last year?

Android, Android, Android: Ice Cream or no ice cream, oodles of developer sessions point towards Google emphasizing the technical and business potential of their mobile OS. From 3D Graphics to NFC, and multiple sessions on Games, Usability and Monetization, expect a ton of teaching, learning, and talk around the present and future of Android.

Free Android Device: Last year all I/O attendees walked away with a shiny new HTC Evo 4G complete with a month’s worth of free Sprint service. This year, I’m thinkin’ there might be a long line for free tablets in the main lobby at Moscone. A little birdie told me everyone’s going home with a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, but then another birdie said, “Naw, pops, it’s the Xoom.” Either way, it makes sense for Google to spur interest in Honeycomb development by seeding devs with a high-end tablet. Unless they pull a crazy end-around and launch/giveaway a new Google TV box, or even a Chrome netbook. But that’s not really Google’s style.

And you? Predictions for big news out of San Francisco this week? Best predictions might just get … an Ice Cream Sandwich?


Noah Kravitz

Noah Kravitz mourned the day that Star Castle was replaced in the pizza parlour he frequented as a kid. The sadness ended when he saw an older kid...

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