Google today announced that their annual developer conference, the Google I/O 2016, would be taking place from May 18 till the 20th, registrations for which start on March 8. A completely developer-focused event, Google I/O is the place where the Mountain View giant announces all the major developments on the software front.
As we get closer to the software jamboree, here is a list of things we expect from this year's Google I/O. Read on to find out.
Android N announcement
After confirmation from Google regarding the fact that every major Android update will be announced at each year's I/O conference, this one is a no-brainer. Google I/O 2016 will witness the launch of Android N, the company's latest mobile operating software. Preview mode of the OS is expected to reach developers, with the final build launching with the Nexus devices around September/October.
We have already done a roundup of what all is expected from Android N. Quick Notifications, Tap To Wake and Multi-Window may be some of the exciting new features coming with this new Android update.
Another futuristic software system from Google is Android Wear. Initiating a uniform and similar interface for smartwatches, Android Wear hasn't been updated for a long time and WatchOS from Apple and Samsung's Tizen OS seem to be taking the lead in terms of market share. With Google I/O, the company should be expected to launch major upgrades to their long neglected Android Wear, as OEMs threaten to abandon it in favor of custom platforms, sooner than ever.
Google has had Self-driving cars in the making for a couple of years now. With the company promising to get them onto the road by mid-2016, what would be a better time than to do so in front of the top developers from across the globe. With competition from Tesla Motors on the rise, Google has been rumored to be working aggressively on launching a self-driving vehicle really soon. Having advertised 36 new jobs in their automobile division, it surely is an indicator to the pace of developments.
Project Ara has been in the pipeline for Google, since they sold Motorola to Lenovo back in 2014. With LG recently making the modular design mainstream with the G5 flagship smartphone, Google must now be rethinking its strategy regarding Project Ara. With no hints from the company at MWC 2016, there surely will be some stage appearance for the ambitious modular smartphone project at Google I/O 2016.
Resultant of a unique collaboration between Lenovo and Google, Project Tango is expected to be announced during Google I/O 2016. Recently, at MWC 2016, Lenovo announced that the project - which involves use of augmented reality for a mature consumer audience - will debut its first device in July 2016. While no more updates regarding the smartphone were given, we can expect more hints and specifications as we get closer to the launch.
Succeeding the infamous Google Glass, Project Aura is a second attempt at making portable augmented reality a possibility. While the original Google Glass didn't quite see the light of the day after the Explorer Edition, Project Aura is expected to be the Enterprise Edition of the Glass, with a revised design with a hinge and a larger prism on the front. As Google has explicilty clarified earlier, there will not be a consumer edition for the Google Glass so we'll have to wait and see what unfolds with this Project.
Denying rumors of the Chrome OS folding into Android OS, Google might have some announcements up their sleeves for this hybrid software. While no major updates are expected on the lines of Chrome OS, we can expect a design refresh, with Material Design being the key upgrade for Google at the moment. Also, as the company's management has confirmed the launch of new Chromebooks by the end of this year, we won't be witnessing any announcements on that front at Google I/O 2016.
Google has tried to experiment with Virtual Reality a lot of times in the past with the Google Cardboard and Google Glass. Now, that Google has officially set up a sub-division in their smartphone department, named Virtual Reality, we can expect some exciting announcements from them at this year's I/O conference.
Rumors are pointing towards the integration of Android VR into stock Android to provide all users with an opportunity to experience VR firsthand. The company will also come up with a slightly-premium version of Cardboard for the improving the experience. Google might have been late to the show but it is promising to pack a punch with these interface-connecting announcements slated for Google I/O 2016. Oculus and HTC, better watch out.