Google’s annual developer conference is just around the corner. Every year the company welcomes developers from across the globe to showcase its software, services, and devices. It goes without saying that the next major Android update is going to be formally announced at this event and the company might also announce some major improvements to Chrome OS. Quite a bit is expected from Google at this year’s developer conference and with this post, we’ll get you up to speed with everything you can expect at Google I/O.
The spotlight will most certainly be on Android N, the next major update for Google’s mobile system. The company hasn’t confirmed yet what dessert-inspired moniker this release will get, and if it will indeed be version 7.0 of Android, these crucial details will be confirmed at Google I/O 2016.
Since Google released Android N developer preview prior to the actual announcement we already have a good idea of what some of the new features are going to be. The company will formally announce the next major update for Android during its keynote, confirm what it’s called and explain some of the improvements it has made since. New features expected to be showcased at I/O 2016 include improved battery management options, the inclusion of native pressure sensing technology and the Dark Theme that just didn’t make the cut when Android 6.0 was released. We might also get a release date, at least for Nexus devices.
Expect Google to talk about its wearable OS, Android Wear, as well during its Google I/O 2016 keynote. It’s been a while since the wearable OS received a major update and that could be detailed at the upcoming developers conference. We might also get to hear about some new Android Wear-powered smartwatches that some of Google’s OEM partners could be working on.
One major update that has been reported recently is the possibility of Android apps coming to Chrome OS. If the report is to be believed, Google is going to bring over the entire Google Play Store to Chrome OS enabling users to access tens of millions of applications that are currently available for Android. Even though Google has maintained that it’s going to keep Chrome OS and Android separate rumors have started circulating again recently that perhaps it might talk more about a merger of the two operating systems at I/O 2016.
Virtual reality is something that a lot of tech companies are interested in these days. Even though the Google Cardboard is a great entry-level VR viewer that introduces people to virtual reality it’s not a proper headset, one that the make Google money. It was rumored a couple of months ago that Google is working on a new virtual reality headset that will be able to provide a VR experience independently. It’s said to be a completely untethered VR headset which won’t require a smartphone or PC to function, and that it will have high-powered processors, a high-resolution display, and outward-facing cameras. The product may not be released immediately but Google could showcase it at the developers conference. Google does have a session scheduled for May 19th where it’s going to talk about its vision for the future of virtual reality.
Android Auto is the extension of Google’s mobile OS into the car. It has gradually been improved over the past few months and it’s likely that Google will talk about some of those efforts at I/O 2016. It may announce new additions to the list of car manufacturers who commit to installing Android OS in their new vehicles and aside from that, Google may also confirm the arrival of more third-party apps for Android Auto.
Google is likely going to talk about its self-driving car project at I/O 2016. It was recently said that the project is close to graduating from Google’s moonshot division which would mean that the company thinks it can now be positioned as a standalone business. It may provide details of the improvements made to the system and the tests conducted to further showcase the power of its autonomous driving technology
Recently there has been a lot of talk about Google linking up with a legacy car manufacturer to produce more prototypes of its self-driving car. Ford was said to be in the running at first but the car maker has since confirmed that it doesn’t simply want to be a contract manufacturer for Google. It appears that Google and Fiat Chrysler might have come to an arrangement that will see the company’s technology in the latter’s minivans.
Since this is a developers conference above all, it’s quite likely that Google will talk about Project Ara, its modular smartphone project. Google introduced it some three years ago and is yet to ahead with the test version launch which was first delayed and later cancelled. It was confirmed recently that the Project Ara device will go on sale in the United States later this year, but the specifics haven’t been confirmed yet, which is why I/O 2016 is the perfect place for Google to talk more about Project Ara.
We can’t forget about Project Tango now, can we, the Project Tango smartphone was shown off privately at the Mobile World Congress earlier this year and it’s possible that it will be showcased at I/O 2016. Google does have many sessions scheduled that are particularly focused on Project Tango so it goes without saying that the company will certainly be talking about this device at this year’s developers conference. Back when the Google and Lenovo partnership for Project Tango was officially confirmed it was said that the device would arrive in the summer of 2016. No further details have been confirmed since then.
Internet of Things
Internet of Things is another area that Google is heavily invested in, it picked up Nest for $3.2 billion just two years ago to expand its footprint in the developing Internet of Things market. At Google I/O 2015 the company announced Project Brillo which is an operating system for the Internet of Things. It enables connected smart objects to communicate with each other regardless of the platform they support. The company said back then that it would provide Brillo to developers and its OEM partners if they wish to integrate Brillo in their connected devices. We will hear more about how Brillo has progressed since then at this year’s developers conference.
The Numbers Game
The numbers game is almost always played at these developer conferences, so it won’t be surprising when Google reveals how many Android-powered devices there are in the world or how many apps are being downloaded from the Play Store every day. It may also talk about how far Android Pay’s user base has come after the mobile payments service was unveiled at I/O 2016. Speaking of Android Pay, the company may confirm international expansion plans for its payments service.
Registration for Google I/O 2016 has already closed. The company randomly draws names of people who registered and they are then given a chance to purchase a $900 ticket to I/O 2016. If you can’t travel to California or don’t have a ticket to get inside, don’t worry as the keynote will be streamed live on YouTube and some of the most important sessions will also be streamed live. The full sessions schedule is now up on the Google I/O . Google I/O 2016 takes place from May 18th to May 20th at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California.