One of the biggest events in the Android universe is Google I/O and the next one, already this friday, will bring major news and innovation. Besides the next-generation Android upgrade, we’ll see updates to other Google platforms, and maybe even new devices.
Here are 8 hot toppics that you won’t want to miss:
The next-generation Android M upgrade will probably be the main highlight of Google I/O, just like the previous years. Maybe it wont bring as many changes as Lollipop did last year, but even so it’s worth looking forward to.
Things like Material Design will be sticking around for a few years now, but Android M will refine and improve upon the current layout. We’ll have to wait until next week to see exactly what they will bring us, but is expected some focus on bringing greater control over privacy settings and better notifications.
Android M will additionally bring native support for fingerprint authentication, in order to the devices with a scanner won’t just use the fingertip to secure the device, but also the apps, just like Touch ID does on iOS.
Since the I/O will only present the Android M, we’ll have to wait until this fall for the final release, but previews are expected, mainly for Android developers with Nexus devices.
Android Wear (for iOS?)
Google may have just released a major Android Wear upgrade, but you can be sure it has more saved up for I/O, since the platform celebrates its first birthday.
It’s well known that Wearable devices need some improvements, mostly in order to compete with Apple and other companies that are aiming at this market, but we aren’t expecting any particularly groundbreaking announcement. Like Android M, the next-generation Wear update will likely focus on enhancing what we have.
One big change that might occur is iPhone support. Google still hasn’t confirmed it is going to bring Wear to iOS, but plenty of reports from reputable sources say it might happen at Google I/O.
Wear watches may not be the only wearables we’ll see at Google I/O this year, since according to the official schedule, there will be devices from Google’s ATAP (Advanced Technology and Projects) team that “will blow your socks off”.
There is no idea what that could mean right now, but so far, we haven’t seen any reports about Google working on new wearables, except a second-generation Google Glass that is expected to be significantly better than the first.
Although it seems a little early to see that, since it’s only been a few months since Google tasked Tony Fadell, founder of Nest and former father of the iPod, with reinventing the devic, a new completely original device may also be in the menu… we have to wait and see.
A new Nexus
Even though Google has already launched new Nexus devices for 2015, there is evidence (according to its most recent financials) they aren’t selling as much as the previous devices. Therefore, there is evidence suggesting the company might be investing with Huawei to launch for a new Nexus smartphone in an effort to change that.
This device is expected to be smaller than the Nexus 6 from Motorola (having a massive 6-inch display that could put many consumers off) and could carry a 5.7-inch Quad HD display from Samsung. Recent rumors indicate it will be powered by Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 810 processor.
Despite all those rumors, it seems unlikely Google will launch a new Nexus phone at Google I/O, but even so, the company may surprise us.
The Android TV platform is also just 1 year old this June, but with a significant growth during this period. It’s available on Google’s own Nexus Player, but also in a whole host of third-party set-top boxes and even Smart TVs from the brands like Sony, Philips, and Sharp.
Android TV will certainly get some focus at I/O, although there aren’t expected many significant changes in the platform. We are then expecting some partnership announcements, in terms of new hardware, or some innovation regarding the Nexus or Chromecast.
Google certainly won’t be launching any self-driving cars at I/O, but these are definitely becoming a reality.
Android Auto has appeared in most car shows this year, and it’s now supported by hardware partners like Pioneer, and a long list of car makers that includes Alfa Romeo, Audi, Bentley, Chrysler, Ford, Infinit, Maserati, Nissan, Volkswagen, Volvo, and many more.
But despite all of that support, anyone who’s ever used Auto will tell you that there’s plenty of room for improvement. Since they are already being tested in real street environment, we expect to see some nice Auto updates at I/O, not only in terms of improving things like performance and stability, but also to add new features.
One of the smaller but most interesting products we expect to see at I/O is Google Photos, a brand new photo sharing and backup service meant to compete with the likes of Instagram and Flickr. Rumor has it the service will let users share photos via Facebook, Twitter, and of course Google+.
Google Photos is expected to be a Google+ spin-off, by replacing the backup service already integrated into the Google+ app, while maintaining features like Auto Awesome.
Making many of Google’s announcements at I/O will be Sundar Pichai, the company’s senior vice president, who oversees Android, apps, and Chrome. He impressed on stage last year with presentations that kept us fixated for hours, and we’re expecting the same this year.
Pichai now reports directly to CEO Larry Page. He’s famous for being a genuinely nice guy, and for building incredible teams that are capable of producing just as incredible products and he’s been with the company just 11 years, but he’s quickly worked his way up through the ranks, earning promotions off the back of a series of successful projects, such as the Google Toolbar and Chrome.
Pichai will be Google’s main keynote on the first day of I/O (May 28) which will be streaming online.