From a consumer perspective, this week’s Google I/O will be relatively light. We’ll see customary Android improvements, and maybe a product or two. But otherwise Google is allegedly planning to focus on its relationship with developers. It sounds like Android 4.3 and other improvements to existing software products like Hangouts will be the most notable announcements, though the search giant may have a surprise or two in store.
With that said, AndroidAuthority cites a source who claims this year’s event will be all about building a foundation for the long term. “We will get some poignant future developments that have their roots at this year’s I/O,” AndroidAuthority wrote.
One of the first changes Google has planned is a fullscreen Maps, which was rumored at these past few weeks. And, according to the source, Android’s version will get prettied up to more closely resemble the version on iOS, which has cemented itself as a staple in Apple’s ecosystem despite being dropped last year.
The biggest of the site’s claims is the existence of an Android smartwatch that’s “set for a release sometime soon.” Probably not as soon as this week, but the device is allegedly in working form, and has been shown off to executives at three different Google offices around the globe, including the company’s hallowed Mountain View campus. The source claims the device will function a lot like Glass. It will run the same interface and will need tethering to work properly.
Notably, the watch is being made by Motorola, which sounds insane but also believable at the same time. Motorola has done very little since Google purchased the company last year, and it has had previous experience with its MOTOACTV device (pictured above). While that product didn’t become a household name, Google may combine Motorola’s technology to create an experience similar to Glass in some key ways—a watch is much more accessible than wearing a computer on your face.
AndroidAuthority doesn’t definitively say if we’ll see an Android smartwatch at I/O, but it also doesn’t rule out the possibility. When Google executives say the event won’t focus on products, we tend to believe them. But who knows. Motorola is due for something great this year, and a watch would certainly be a huge surprise. We’ll know in less than 48 hours.