Google I/O 2014: What to expect including Android, Nexus, Glass and more
- 11 June, 2014 22:54
Google I/O is coming up later this month so here we take a look at what to expect including new Android, Nexus devices, Android Silver, Google Glass 2 and more.
Although it's a developer conference, which might sound pretty boring, like other firms, Google uses the I/O event as a platform to announced and launch new products. While new APIs and SDKs might not float your boat, a brand new version of Android and new Nexus smartphones and tablet probably will.
Google I/O 2014: What to expect (and not expect)
New Android 4.5 or 5.0 Lollipop
One of the more likely announcements for Google I/O is a new version of Android for smartphones and tablets. We're up to version 4.4 KitKat and now that's been around for a while, we expect Google to at least talk about the next major version, even if it doesn't get released until sometime after the event.
Codenamed 'Moonshine', it's unclear whether the next version of Android will be 4.5 or 5.0 but we think we're due a new number. It is thought that the new Android OS will focus on tablet optimisation but will, of course, include other new features.
The spanner in the works here is that Sundar Pichai, Google's head of Android, has said Google I/O is "not a time when we have much in the way of launches of new products or a new operating system."
New Nexus smartphones and tablets
With the help of various manufacturing partners, namely LG and Asus, Google's Nexus products have been hugely popular and Google I/O could be when we hear about some new Nexus smartphones and tablets.
We all like a decent tablet, whether we need one or not, and the much rumoured Nexus 8 is the most likely device to be announced at Google I/O. There have been many leaks on the Nexus 8 recently, with even an image on the event's website showing an unknown tablet which could be the Nexus 8 (below).
As the name suggests, it will come with an 8in screen rather than the 7in display used on the Nexus 7. The Nexus 8 will probably be the launch device for Android Lollipop.
Nexus 10 2014
We've been waiting for a new and updated Nexus 10 for a long time now - it launched way back in November 2012 which in the tech industry is forever. Nothing arrived last year and we've heard barely a peep on a follow-up this year.
Although there is a possibility of the Nexus 10 2 arriving at Google I/O, it's 50/50 for us. The fact that the current model is sold out on the Google Play store is a good sign for a new model, though.
Nexus 5 2014
Google shook the smartphone market with the Nexus 5, offering a flagship smartphone at a very mid-range £299 price. It was a great phone when it launched and is still one of the best value deals around today.While a 2014 model of the Nexus 5 is expected (the Nexus 6?), it looks like Google will wait until Autumn to launch it so it's unlikely to make an appearance at Google I/O.
Android Wear/Nexus Smartwatch
Google has already announced Android Wear but we're pretty sure that we're going to hear much more about it at Google I/O. See also: Google Gem smartwatch specs leaked: Set to team up with LG.
Android Wear is a version of the mobile OS specifically made for wearable devices like smartwatches. The firm is likely to show-off the platform to developers, explaining the features and benefits.
Hopefully we'll get live demos and more details on upcoming devices which will run on Android Wear. After all, the LG G Watch (below) which will be the first Android Wear smartwatch is due to launch in July. We could even see a Nexus smartwatch.
After launching the Chromecast, another possibility for Google I/O is Android TV. Leaked screenshots show Google TV as an interface rather than a computing platform but it will still be taking on the likes of Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire TV.
The Verge reported that Google TV is 'about to launch' and that the firm is in talks with partners for launch apps. Gigaom reports, according to multiple sources familiar with Google's plans, that Google TV will be announced at Google I/O.
Android in the car
The technology is often about keeping up with the Jones' and with the launch of Apple's CarPlay, Google I/O could well be a platform for the firm to discuss plans for an Android rival. Google has already partnered with car makers including Audi, Honda and Hyundai so we expect to hear more on the subject at the event.
You might not have even heard of it yet, but Android Silver is one of the less likely announcements for Google I/O - the firm hasn't even confirmed its existence yet. However, there are still a number of details floating around regarding it.
It's thought that Android Silver is thought to be a set of standards which Google will set for devices, similar to Intel and Ultrabooks. Smartphones and tablets which meet the requirements will get the Android Silver classification.
It's unclear whether, if this does go ahead, Google will stop doing Nexus devices. It may even make Nexus devices with the Android Silver brand. Whether we get any information on Android Silver at Google I/O is up in the air but it seems unlikely to us. Google is rumoured to be launching it next year.
As you probably know, Google acquired and sells Nest (the smart thermostat system) so naturally thoughts turn to the possibility of home automation. Mentions of 'Android@Home' have appeared online but only briefly and we'd be surprised to hear anything on this subject at Google I/O.
Google Glass 2
You've no doubt heard a lot about Google Glass, the firm's smartglasses. The expensive gadget went on sale recently in the US for one day only so this could be Google's way of gauging consumer interest in the product. Google I/O could well produce details on when Google Glass will hit the mainstream or even a new version which will be the final retail product.