5 things to expect from Google I/O this year
It's that time of the year again when geeks round the world turn their attention to what's coming next from Google. The Mountain View giant will hold I/O, its annual developer conference in San Francisco on Thursday, May 28, and the rumours about what it will announce are flying thick and fast.Updated: May 26, 2015 15:46 IST
It's that time of the year again when geeks round the world turn their attention to what's coming next from Google. The Mountain View giant will hold I/O, its annual developer conference in San Francisco on Thursday, May 28, and the rumours about what it will announce are flying thick and fast.
Here's what you should watch out for this year.
Hold your horses, we're not getting a new version of Android till September or October at the least. But we will get a sneak peek at Android M (Milkshake? Marzipan? Meringue? Macademia Nut Cookie? Who knows!) this week.
Android got a complete design makeover last year with Material Design, so we don't expect Android M to look too different from what currently exists.
The focus, this time around, is rumoured to be around optimising Android for workplaces. A leaked description of Android M read: "Android M is bringing the power of Android to all kinds of workplaces. This opens huge new markets for hundreds of millions of devices to workers at small business, deskless workers, logistics and warehousing jobs; all be empowered by adoption of Android devices at Work."
Other smaller features inclue multi-screen and multi-window functionality and the ability to customise Android with a Theme engine.
Nothing too exciting.
Android Wear, Google's operating system for wearable devices may have launched well before the Apple Watch, but Apple's sleek timepiece has walked away with most of the hype (and sales figures) so far.
Expect lots of news around Android Wear, especially around Google Fit, Google's fitness platform for Wear devices to play catch up with Apple. We might also see some brand new Android werable hardware.
Brillo, which is likely a codename, is Google's rumoured version of Android for Internet of Things devices -- think WiFi-conected coffee machine, refrigerators, fire-alarms, thermostats, and more more.
This is one area where Apple, with its HomeKit platform that allows manufacturers of smart home devices to plug in to Apple's ecosystem, is much ahead of Google and the Mountain View company needs to catch up on.
Google acquired thermostat maker Nest last year but we haven't seen any updates on this front since then.
NEW CHROMECAST HARDWARE
Remember the Chomecast, Google's cheap-as-dirt HDMI stick to stream videos to your TV directly from your smartphone? That stick hasn't been upgraded in over two years now.
With Apple likely to announce a brand new Apple TV at it's own developer conference, WWDC, in June, Google might beat it to the punch with a refreshed Chromecast.
The 2015 Chromecast might be capable of playing back brand new video formats like 4K and may finally be powerful enough to support games that are controlled using your Android device as a controller.
Apple Pay, Apple's easy-to-use NFC payments solution that is built into the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and the Apple Watch, is off to a roaring success in the United States and a number of other countries around the world.
Google's Senior Vice President of Products, Sundar Pichai, had already confirmed at Mobile World Congress earlier this year that the company was working on a rival. So it's safe to assume we will see Android Pay launched at I/O this year.
There will certainly be more surprises at I/O and we'll be covering them right here, so watch this space.
Meanwhile, hop into the comments and tell us what you're most excited about, will you?
First Published: May 26, 2015 14:34 IST