From Android N to Self-Driving Cars: What to Expect at Google I/O

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2016-01-18
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    From Android N to Self-Driving Cars: What to Expect at Google I/O
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    From Android N to Self-Driving Cars: What to Expect at Google I/O

    Expect Google to make myriad product and technology announcements at its 2106 Google I/O developer conference, which it says will kick off May 18.
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    Look for a New Version of Android
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    Look for a New Version of Android

    Each year, Google at its I/O conference shows off a new version of its Android mobile operating system. This year, the company is expected to unveil Android N. While Marshmallow, last year's release, has yet to make it on some of the top smartphones on the market, Google already is looking to the future. Look for Android N to make an appearance at I/O.
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    Android Wear Will Get a Meaningful Update
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    Android Wear Will Get a Meaningful Update

    If CES showed us anything about the technology industry, it's that wearables will play a critical role in the future. Realizing that, there's a good chance that Google will unveil a meaningful update to Android Wear at Google I/O. Several popular device makers, including LG, are relying on Android Wear to make their smartwatches and wearables competitive. Getting an update that will help their wearables compete more effectively with Apple Watch will appeal to those vendors.
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    A Showcase of Cool Android-Based Devices
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    A Showcase of Cool Android-Based Devices

    Although it's a developers conference, there's no reason Google shouldn't take its center stage opportunity to unveil some appealing Android-based devices. Whether they're third-party smartphones, tablets or smart home products, it'd be great to see Google showcase hardware at its confab.
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    A Showcase of Android Wear Devices
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    A Showcase of Android Wear Devices

    In addition to smartphones and tablets, expect to see a slew of wearables at the event. After all, if Google makes a significant update to Android Wear, it would only make sense that the company would also ask partners to bring their latest wearables on stage. Perhaps even a few surprises will pop up.
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    Will We Hear About Project Ara?
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    Will We Hear About Project Ara?

    Project Ara, the modular smartphone technology that Google kept after it sold off Motorola, will also be featured prominently at Google I/O, according to reports. There is significant interest in the technology, and there is a belief among many in the marketplace that its modular features could be the future of smartphones. Google may try to make that case at I/O.
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    Look for Some Smart Home Talk
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    Look for Some Smart Home Talk

    The smart home is proving to be another growing trend, and with Google now owning Nest, it shouldn't be a surprise if the tech is featured at the event. Look for new Nest products, as well as improvements to the devices the company already sells. There's also a good chance Google will talk about updates it's made to its smart home software to entice developers to support it. Google I/O will prove clearly that the smart home war is on.
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    Chromebooks All Around
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    Chromebooks All Around

    Chromebooks are an important piece of the mobile makeup for Google. Realizing that, the company will almost undoubtedly announce an update to its Chrome OS platform and showcase some new and improved Chromebooks. Chromebooks have grown in popularity in both the education and enterprise markets, and Google will focus on that in its keynote at I/O. Image 7: Please use this image:
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    Major Updates to Old Favorites?
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    Major Updates to Old Favorites?

    Although much of Google I/O will focus on mobile and emerging technologies, the company isn't turning its back on the products that helped it achieve success. Quite the contrary, Google is rumored to be working on major improvements to Google Maps, Google Play, Google Now and even search. Expect to hear all about Google's enhancements to old-time favorites.
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    Yes, Self-Driving Cars Will Be There
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    Yes, Self-Driving Cars Will Be There

    Self-driving cars are getting a significant push. Nearly every major company, including Google, is planning to get self-driving cars on the market, and now the Obama administration wants to facilitate that. Because of that, Google could spend considerable time at Google I/O talking about its car technology and how it plans to be a leader in what promises to be a crowded marketplace by 2020.
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    Some Critical Expansion Projects
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    Some Critical Expansion Projects

    Google is also rumored to be planning to provide updates to some of its ancillary projects and ideas. For example, the company may announce that it's expanding its Project Fi service across the country or that its Google Fiber service is also getting additional rollouts. Google may even surprise us with some announcements we weren't expecting. Either way, look for some exposure to the projects Google doesn't always talk about but are critical to its future expansion plans.
 

Google's annual developer conference, Google I/O, kicks off on May 18, CEO Sundar Pichai announced on Jan. 12. The event will be held in Google's neck of the woods in Mountain View, Calif., and will once again play host to some of the company's most important updates for the year. Attendees of the developer conference can expect to sit in on developer breakout sessions, learn tips and tricks about the new platforms Google has developed, and more. But for the vast majority of people following Google I/O, it won't be the developer events that they are eagerly looking forward to, but rather what Pichai and his team will unveil during the keynote session. During the keynote, Google will talk about what it believes the future looks like, examine how the company fits into the marketplace, and showcase some new products and services. Just what can we expect to come out of the conference? This eWEEK slide show looks at some of the rumors swirling around Google I/O and provides insight into what the company may be thinking heading into its big day.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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