Google I/O kicks off next Thursday, May 28 up in San Francisco, California. TechnoBuffalo will be in attendance to cover all of the news as it hits. But what kind of news can we expect?
In the past, Google has unveiled new versions of Android during its developer’s conference, which makes sense given that crowd, but has also been quite a spectacle: during Google I/O 2012, for example, sky divers were used to show off some of the capabilities of Google Glass.
Last year, Google discussed plenty of new topics, such as Android Auto, Android Wear, Android L and more. This year could offer updates on all of those products, in addition to some new announcements.
Let’s take a look at what might be in store now.
New Android Wear devices
We’re almost certain that new Android Wear devices are on the way, and Google I/O 2015 is the perfect place to introduce what’s in store, especially now that the Apple Watch is on the market.
Lenovo, which owns Motorola Mobility, hasn’t been too secretive when it comes to the next Moto 360. The Moto 360 still remains my favorite Android Wear device, so any update with a sharper display, better battery life and more, paired with additional functionality, will grab my attention. Samsung’s original Android Wear device, the Gear Live, was also recently retired, so maybe we’ll see some other new devices to complement the new Moto 360.
Speaking of the Apple Watch: we expect to hear about iOS support for the iPhone, which might take away some of Apple’s expected market.
Google “Brillo” Internet of Things
Earlier this week a report from The Information suggested that Google is preparing to introduce a lower power version of Android that can operate on devices with just 32MB or 64MB of RAM.
The news outlet said that the new OS is currently code named “Brillo” and will be used to power “Internet of Things” devices, which means anything from fridges to smart home monitors like the Nest and more.
Google might simply mention that it’s working on this OS in passing, or it will take a deep dive and show us exactly how it works. That’s the best part of these shows: we’re not entirely sure what’s going to happen.
Android TV is kind of a dud right now, and Google should use its developer conference to show improvements to the software and added functionality.
It’s probably no coincidence that Sling TV just launched on Android TV, for example. Also, the original Nexus Player was sort of a reference design, but aside from NVIDIA and a handful of other companies, it hasn’t really been adopted by new OEMs. To be fair, though, it is slowly trickling into HDTVs that don’t require a separate box and should be on the market soon.
If Google wants to convince us that Android TV really has a rich future, then Google I/O seems like the place to show us why.
I don’t think that Google is going to introduce a full-blown operating system during Google I/O. Rather, I think it will be more on a par with what happened last year, when Google introduced Android L as a very early version of what eventually launched as Android 5.0 Lollipop.
Early evidence suggested that Google will be discussing a new operating system named “Android M,” and we’re not quite sure what new features will be adopted. Android L focused on UI and Material Design, and it seems too early to refresh all of the work that went into those changes. Maybe we’ll hear more about added security features, how Android smartphones will tie into a larger Android ecosystem and more.
The first cars with Android Auto should start hitting the market in the next couple of months. We already know how it works, and there are some third-party products that allow you to add Android Auto to your older automobile.
Google could take advantage of the show to introduce new apps and tools for its in-car software, and perhaps show how tightly it works with Android smartphones, tablets, and the Chrome Web browser. Imagine, for example, sitting on your computer and sending directions from your Chrome browser to a friend’s Android Auto car. Google should show us how it plays into the whole Android ecosystem.
We also expect Google to discuss how Waze has been integrated for even deeper traffic condition reporting.
I’ve been scratching my head with this one. I don’t really think we’re going to see new Nexus devices at the presentation.
Sure, we’ve heard rumors that Huawei is working on the next Nexus smartphone, and that LG is considering another, but I think those are more likely to hit when Android M launches in full — not simply during the preview stage of the operating system.
Remember: the Nexus 6 was announced in October of last year, 5 months after Android L was announced.
The Google Glass Explorer Edition was officially put to rest this year, as Google pulled the device back in house to revisit what the product can do for consumers.
Nest co-founder and father of the iPod Tony Fadell is in charge of the product now, but he only took over four months ago in January. That doesn’t seem like enough time to get a whole new product together, though it’s possible Google will tease a bit of what’s coming, sort of like what Microsoft has been doing with HoloLens.
Google Photos revamp
Another report from earlier this week suggested that Google is going to pull Google Photos out of its Google+ social network and launch it as a stand-alone product.
That’s huge news because Google Photos is probably one of the best backup solutions out there, and it could allow for stand-alone editing and other features, like quick sharing to social networks outside of Google+. It seems like a good move, too, since Google separates the Photos app from Google+ on Android, and it would be natural to do the same elsewhere.
Whether or not it will offer as many editing features as Apple’s Photos app remains to be seen, however. Still, Google has used I/O to revamp photos in the past (see the gallery above from Google I/O 2013), so it’s definitely possible that we’ll see new editing features, too.
There’s going to be a ton of news next week, that much is for sure. I think Google will probably address some of these topics, though not all of them, and it’s very likely it has other surprises in store. We can’t wait, and stay tuned for our live coverage just a week from now.