The Google I/O 2018 developer conference is about to begin. The event will begin May 8 and conclude May 10. The search giant’s main event will be the keynote address on May 8 at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California. It begins at 1:00pm EDT and is expected to run about an hour and a half. During it, Google will highlight some of the major points of focus for this year’s event.
There are a lot of topics Google could touch on at this year’s three-day show. We won’t know for sure until the address is made, but there have been rumors regarding what Google might elect to discuss during the keynote. Google’s event schedule gave us some of the ideas, otherwise we wouldn’t be here talking, but some might only be addressed in sessions that follow the main event. Possible talking points include the various platforms such as Android P for mobile, Android TV, Chromecast, Wear OS, Google Assistant, Daydream VR, and more!
Some announcements Google might make are Android P, the Android P beta program, the second developer preview, and the platform’s major new features. It would be very typical of Google to discuss its plans for the roll out Android P, which has been the case with earlier large platform updates of the company’s mobile operating system. Plus, we know most people want to hear about it. In March, Google outed the first developer preview of its system overhaul Android P mainly for developers and manufacturers to test upcoming apps and hardware. We’ve had a few months to look at it, and so far it seems like a pretty big upgrade with both under the hood enhancements and visual changes. Among these are UI tweaks, a fresh launcher, a new Markup feature for screenshots, a relocation of the clock, notch support, a refreshed notifications panel, a new settings menu, updated volume controls, indoor positioning with Wi-Fi RTT, enhancements for notifications and notification channels, and more. We don’t have an official dessert name or version number yet, but Google should showcase some of the platform’s new abilities. To give us something more to play around with, Google could introduce the first preview update (Preview 2 of 5) and allow consumers with Pixel devices to enroll for OTA updates through a beta program and report their feedback (not yet available). Google should address the current condition of fragmentation with Oreo distribution yet to be arrive on some major phones, and Project Treble failing to gain support. This would be ideal.
See any of the below links for our recent Android P coverage and rumors.
Android Wear recently transitioned to Wear OS and a developer preview was outed a mere two months ago. Google renamed its platform for smartwatches ditching the word ‘Android’ because supported hardware also works with iPhones. Google also seems to be eliminating the word ‘Android’ in every place it can, due to perception people have about it being only for low and mid-range smartphones. Shortly afterward, Google released an overdue developer preview for developers and manufacturers, though it is not the major system overhaul the platform needs. Google needs to do something major to revive the platform to avoid getting behind Apple and others, at least so that Android OEMs start making offerings again. Google didn’t address all the issues last year, so we hope they do so this year. The Wear OS name change and apparent software update is a promising start and we just hope more than just two smartwatches receive the update that’s not through the new app. Maybe Google is planning some watches of its own, who knows?
See any of the below links for our recent Wear OS coverage and rumors.
Android TV / Chromecast
Android TV is another platform by Google that could use some revamping. Google didn’t talk much about the platform for TVs at last year’s conference, but the company did come out with some minor upgrades and enhancements over course of the year. We’d love to see better integration with YouTube TV, more content and ways to connect smart home gear like Google Home. Additionally, consumers have been left with few modern options to purchase. Google’s Nexus Player retired with Android Oreo and recently lost its support, leaving only the latest NVIDIA Shield TV as a premium option worth buying. We’ve been waiting for a substantial software upgrade that will make the platform more competitive against what Amazon and Apple going on, and hope this is the year. Google could make the platform more compelling to the average consumer, and manufacturers might then begin supporting it again in set-top boxes and standalone TV sets. Another way Google could go about reviving the platform would be to give us some actual hardware of its own to show off the platform’s abilities. We saw a Chromecast like Pixel Player device pass through the FCC in March, which might just mean Google is on to something. While some new and affordable 4K Chromecast dongles would be nice, a Pixel Player set-top box with the whole streaming experience would have it easily beat.
See any of the below link(s) for our recent Android TV and Chromecast coverage and rumors.
Google Assistant / Google Home / Smart Displays
The Google Assistant showcases the best of machine learning and AI, and is Google’s most important technology that links all your gadgets together. The digital assistant is only a few years old, but is already the world’s most popular and has come such a long way since the start. It’s on the most devices, in the most places, and arguably, the best assistant out there in terms of accuracy, predictability, convenience, and functionality. You can find it on all kinds of devices, not just Google Home, and it’s always getting better. This year we could see the technology inside more products thanks to Google’s SDK and Action on Google programs that open the technology to the developer and third-party community for their own utilization of the voice features. Expansions to new regions, more devices, and more languages could also be on the way, and Google Home upgrades are no stranger to this event either. Google has three speakers that automate the home in Mini, standard, and Max, all of which could use some new features and abilities to stay in front of the competition. Not to mention, Smart Displays by Google are now becoming available, which are essentially Google Home speakers with a built-in display, made by third-party OEMs. Google could talk more about its progress with these, how it will stay competitive with Amazon, any new hardware partners, a unit of its own, or some new software functions for the connected display. We’re most certainty looking forward to the creativity companies put into make their own creations.
See any of the below link(s) for our recent Google Assistant related coverage and rumors.
Virtual Reality & Daydream
Another theme of this year’s Google I/O could be improving virtual reality to what it was meant to be. VR no longer seems as exciting because there has been a period of time where innovation has shifted to things like AR (Augmented Reality). The latest word on Daydream, Google’s VR platform, was that there would be standalone headsets coming out with a built-in screen. Lenovo already has the Mirage Solo VR Headset with Daydream, but that’s about all. More than anything, we’d like to see a more partners create lower-cost options and Google make a third-generation Daydream View of its own that wouldn’t require your phone. This looks to be the direction VR is headed in and Google might want to stay with the times. Some new content and a platform update could very well be in the pipeline for 2018 as well, and we’d love to see support expand out to more Android phones.
Google uses the I/O developer conference to showcase and discuss software developments and new features, so we are expecting mainly software-related enhancements and existing products to be discussed rather than groundbreaking hardware. However, Google could hold a dedicated ‘Made By Google‘ hardware event later this year. Though, we might just get a preview of what’s to come later in the year. There’s plenty of active projects Google could touch on during the event, but only time will tell where Google’s focuses are for the 2018 year.
It’s anybody’s guess as to what Google will pick and address during its 90 minute long keynote on Tuesday. Droid Turf has a busy but fun and exciting couple of days planned. Let us know what you want to hear about most in the comments.
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