Updated: Google IO 2015: news, rumors and predictions



Google IO 2015 hashtag-970-80

Latest Google IO 2015 news and predictions

We’re expecting big things from Google IO 2015, set to invade San Francisco’s Moscone Center May 28 – May 29. It will be a well-attended affair, and TechRadar will be a front row and center for all the proceedings.

Google revealed it’s hosting a two-and-a-half hour long keynote on Day 1 (9:30am PT/5:30pm GMT to 12pm PT/8pm GMT on May 28). Like years previous, we expect a smorgousborg of Android, Chrome OS, Android Wear, Google Glass, self-driving cars and everything in between.

For those unable to attend, Google is broadcasting the keynote and livestreams, and you can find streamed sessions right here. Of course, you can also follow along with your friends at TechRadar.

What to expect from Google IO 2015

In the months since the IO 2014, Google has teased us with a number of tantalizing products and intriguing concepts, including the Project Ara modular phone, Project Tango tablet, and more Android Wear smartwatches than we can count, that have us looking forward it its 2015 conference.

But there’s something else making us extra excited for the upcoming show: competition. Microsoft’s latest Surface 3 and the ever-closer release of Windows 10, not to mention is new Microsoft Edge browser and HoloLens AR viewer, should have Google on alert.

Then there’s Apple, which is seeing record iPhone sales and the generally positive reception of its first wearable, the Apple Watch. Plus, it’s got its own WWDC conference coming on the heals of IO.

Apple Watch vs Android Wear

Even Google’s more far-flung projects, like its self-driving car, are seeing alternatives arise, such as Mercedes and its F 015 Luxury in Motion pod-car of the future.

Where Google balked from making a big splash at Google IO 2014, we think IO 2015 needs to reinvigorate developer, press and consumer imaginations with the company’s classic panache. Read on for our predictions for Google IO 2015, along with the latest news and rumors.

Android M

If you’re still waiting for Android Lollipop to land on your device, you may want to turn away.

An Android at Work session description that’s since been pulled from the Google IO website reveals Google plans to announce Android M, the next version of its mobile OS, during the 2015 conference. The Verge spotted the session before it disappeared, and Android Police also managed to get a screen grab of the description.

The description offered few details on the upcoming OS specifically, expect to say it “brings power of Android to all kinds of workplaces.” We expect it will do much more than bring more functionality to the workplace, of course.

Google Drive for work

Lollipop, which debuted at IO 2014, may still be making its way to users, but Google is clearly not pumping the breaks on discussing – and even releasing – the next version of Android.

Project Ara and Project Tango

The intrigue around Project Ara, Google’s modular phone, is palpable. The biggest question surrounds whether this thing will actually work with so many options for parts, which we’ll get to find out in the second half of 2015 when a pilot program launches in Puerto Rico.

It looks like we’re in for some Project Ara discussion during a Day 2 session focused on Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects team (ATAP), featuring ATAP head Regina Dugan. This may be the session to attend: Justin Lin of Fast & Furious 6 directorial fame will also debut a live action short to showcase for Spotlight Story.

Project Ara

Project Tango, Google’s tablet that combines VR, AR and 3D mapping into one, also has a dedicated session at IO. It’s been almost a year since Project Tango was unveiled, the description notes, and now it’s time for developers to learn how to create location-aware and spatial experiences using the device. The session will offer a “sneak peak at how Project Tango will help users connect the virtual world with the real world.” Sounds fun.

New wearables

ATAP also plans to unveil some new wearables during Google IO. The wearables will come during a same session entitled “Badass and beautiful. Tech and human. Love and work. ATAP.”

According to the session description, the team will debut “wearables that we hope will blow your socks off. (We mean this more literally than you might think…).

“Our goal: break the tension between the ever-shrinking screen sizes necessary to make electronics wearable and our ability to have rich interactions with them,” it continued. “Why can’t you have both? We like to build new things. Sometimes seemingly impossible things. We can build them faster together.”

What could these be? Holograph-projecting smartwatches? A re-imagined Google Glass? A modular smartwatch? A device we haven’t imagined yet? We’ll find out on May 29.

Android 5.0 Lollipop and Chrome

Android 5 is pretty sweet, but it’s having a hell of a time getting to flagship phones. Will Google IO ring in the release of Lollipop onto more smartphones? We sure hope so.

If we won’t see more phones join up with Lollipop, we will for sure see some improvements at IO. According to the description for a session entitled Notifications, Interruptions and Volumes: Coming Attractions, Google has worked to refine notifications and other alerts on Lollipop. Lollipop has already done work to transform these “unwelcome interruptions,” as Google puts it, into something useful, but we should see even more improvements at IO.

Android Lollipop

Chrome also seems likely for lots of IO love. While we haven’t heard anything specific to IO, we do have a sense of things to come. Google announced in mid-January Chrome Remote Desktop for iOS, letting users access their PC on their iPhone or iPad. The concept is nothing new, but the fact Google released this specifically for iOS gives us a clue that more cross-OS functionality is top of Google’s mind.

Cardboard (or other virtual reality)

Oculus Rift may rule the VR roost, but don’t count Google Cardboard out before it gets a chance to shine.

In December 2014, Google announced some choice updates for its VR viewer, including a dedicated page for apps on Google Play and a number of places to purchase Cardboard so users don’t have to make their own. Developers (the target IO audience) were also given access to Cardboard SDKs for Android and Unity. New viewer specs and a wave of VR-related hiring rounded out the year-end announcements.

Google Cardboard

Google has several sessions dealing with VR during IO. One May 28 session is called “Make Believe” and it’s here developers will “explore virtual reality and how it may change our lives.” The session will go over how VR works and how to create VR experiences. The session description never mentions Google Cardboard by name however, so perhaps Google is changing the name or showcasing a new device entirely?

Android Auto

Besides wearables, there’s really no hotter space for companies to get into than cars right now. Google, as you know, has been very active on the auto front.

Let’s start with a no-big-deal project (not) – its self-driving car. Google followed up the buzz around its initial mock-up by revealing in December 2014 it has a self-driving prototype that, you know, actually drives its self. Google is currently testing this version and plans to put functioning vehicles on Northern California roads sometime this year. A Google IO 2015 demo feels very plausible.

Google self-driving car

In addition to its self-driving car, car companies are signing up for Android Auto left and right. Several Android Auto-related announcements were made during CES 2015, including ones from Pioneer, Volkswagen and Parrot. Following Android Auto’s debut at IO 2014, you can bet your left blinker Google has more car talk planned for this year’s gathering.

Google has a two Android Auto sessions planned for each day of IO, focusing on helping developers create apps for the road. We may not see anything radically new come out of the conference in regards to cars, though Google will want to keep pace with Apple CarPlay.

Android TV

Say hello to the new king of Google’s TV OS ambitions. Google TV is dead, the company announced in early January, usurped by the burgeoning Android TV platform.

With support ending for Google TV and the one-year anniversary of Android TV’s emergence approaching at IO, Google is sure to spend plenty of time talking about the smart TV system this year. Sony plans to put Android TV in all its 2015 models, and developers are now encouraged to create Android TV and Cast-enabled apps.

Android TV

Google Cast looks to be a big focus for Google at this year’s IO, with several sessions dedicated to the music and video streaming platform. Gaming via Android TV and the smart home also look to be important parts of Google’s IO plans.

  • These are all the products that work with Google Cast

Google IO: What we want to see

Read on for what we want to see during the annual developer confab, and tell us know in the comments what showstoppers – or showsleepers – you think Google will whip out.

Pull out your Google Wallet

Now that Apple has gotten serious about mobile payments with Apple Pay, we anticipate Google Wallet getting some love during IO 2015.

Mountain View’s mobile payment platform has bounced like a bad check, but as Apple gets into the game in a big way (have you been to a McDonald’s in the US lately?), Google can’t sit idly by as its biggest rival gobbles up NFC payment-dom.

The world is still wary of mobile payments, especially in the wake of massive credit card hacks, so it’s yet to be proven if Apple Pay (or any service) is the silver bullet to the anti-credit card conundrum. Despite that – or maybe because of it – we want Google to swing for the fences with a revamped Google Wallet.

The timing may be tricky as some US retailers are shunning Apple Pay in favor of their own mobile payment system, but we wouldn’t put it past Google to corral some big names into its tap-to-pay service circle.

Where the heck is Google Glass?

OK, Google. The Explorer program is several years old, more apps have found their way onto your loved/loathed wearable and you’ve allowed US consumers to have their hand at Glass, but when are we going to see the final consumer version and its (hopefully) cheaper price?

Yes, Google Glass is part of completely new device category and there’s want to get it right, but there’s a feeling we can’t shake that now that Android Wear has shown its face, Google has relegated its first wearable to the basement.

Not helping matters is the fact the consumer edition release date has reportedly been pushed until 2015, and app makers, including Twitter, are distancing themselves from the Glass.

To top it off, the Glass poster child, Google Co-Founder Sergey Brin, left his company-made headset behind in the car while he attended a November Silicon Valley event, not exactly sending a singing message that Glass is something you can’t leave home without.

Google Glass

That sets the stage for a pretty telling IO 2015. Google has two choices, really: either try to re-capture the public’s imagination with Glass (or, more fittingly, show it has real-world applications), or keep quiet and let Glass slide quietly out of sight.

We think Google will go for the former, otherwise all those years of pushing Glass on developers and executives sporting them on their brows will be for naught. More critically, with other head-worn wearables like Oculus Rift gaining greater visibility, Google can’t afford to let Glass’ future get any foggier.

We expect Google to place lots of emphasis on apps made for Glass, especially since its Glass Development Kit will be around a year old by then, plus show us hardware that’s vastly improved and/or vastly cheaper than what one sees bobbing on heads around the Valley these days.

When Google met VR

Speaking of things you put on your face, Google’s DIY Cardboard VR headset was a fun yet potentially conspicuous surprise during last year’s IO.

Google handed out the headset as a little something extra at the end of its Day 1 keynote, but you didn’t need to be in attendance to get one because anyone can build the “no frills” viewer with a few acquired materials.

Could Google flush out the concept during IO 2015? We think so, especially since Samsung’s Gear VR does virtually the same thing with more premium materials.

Cardboard

Whether this means Google delivers a more durable headset, reveals apps and games developed for Cardboard as-is, or introduces some virtual reality features somehow tied Glass, we don’t know, but we can say the VR market is too hot for Google to pass up.

Update December 10, 2014: Google showed how serious it is about Cardboard by filling us in on the work it’s been doing since the viewer was revealed. The company added a dedicated collection page on Google Play for Google apps. There are now more places to pick up a Cardboard viewer, developers have access to SDKs for Android and Unity and makers scored some new building specs. Finally, Google said it’s hiring for positions in Cardboard and VR, signaling this is far from the last we’ve heard about the DIY VR viewer.

Focus on your Fit

Another carryover from IO 2014 we’d like to see at the 2015 run is Google Fit. The Apple HealthKit rival officially launched as a Google Play app in late October, while developers were given full access to the platform’s APIs.

As developers create health-enhancing programs for Android users and devices become better equipped to use Google Fit’s feature set, there should be plenty to relay come dev con time. We’d like to see just how far Fit has come in a year’s time and what the future holds for Google and health. What’s more, who’s to say Google won’t have a fitness tracking wearable to show that puts Fit front and center?

The living room, Google watch and other stuff

Coming to your living room … again!

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before, but Google will make a play for your living room during IO 2015.

What we hope is different this time around is Google coming at your favorite four walls with some kind of cohesive plan in place.

The company recently announced Nexus Player, perhaps its most robust and practical entertainment offering to date, but don’t expect it to stop there. Even if it should.

Google struck gold with Chromecast, the dirt cheap dongle some people own more than one of, so no one would be surprised if the firm returned to the formula with Chromecast 2 or another bargain bin-priced device. In fact, Google is reportedly already working on Chromecast 2, making an IO reveal seem all the more likely.

Chromecast

Whatever Google does, we want it to, you know, make cohesive sense. So far, this “scatter gun approach” (hat tip James Rivington) is only creating a series of half-baked products that no one is buying into. That is, except Chromecast.

It might be time for Google to put its money on the winning horse, if you catch our drift.

‘Android Wear, where you at?’

“In watches like the Moto 360, LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live, that’s where, TechRadar!”

Yes, Google’s wearable OS has taken hold in a surprisingly quick turnaround from announcement to market. The only thing missing? Google’s own smartwatch running its home-grown Android Wear OS. No biggie, right?

Like the Apple Watch before it, the Google watch has been the stuff of legend for what feels like ions. Unlike the Apple Watch, the Google watch is still unannounced. Even more unlike the Apple Watch, the Google watch probably won’t be on sale by the time IO 2015 rolls around (the Apple Watch release is slated for early 2015).

This leaves Google out of a growing hardware product category while others grab hold. One could argue Google has more than enough of a stranglehold on the smartwatch market with Android Wear, and it’s certainly a valid point.

However, in order for Google to truly be in the wearable conversation, we need to see its own branded hardware serve as the hallmark for what Android Wear can really do.

So, Google, give us the Nexus Watch, or whatever you want to call it. Give us something we can point to and say, “Hey, Apple, you see what Google came up with?” Give us something to strap on our wrists so we can complete the look with our Nexus phone, Nexus tablet and Google Glass.

Give us the wearable we’ve been waiting for.

YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQHVfNSVmH4

Update December 10, 2014: With the release of Android Lollipop for Android Wear, Google introduced a bevy of custom watch faces for the wearable. The firm also released its Watch Face API, letting developers take a crack at creating their own watch faces. We have an inkling the many faces of Android Wear (plus a whole lot more) are due for some major airtime at IO 2015.

And the other stuff

Just like ice cream flavors, everyone seems to like the idea of vanilla Android, so don’t drop your jaw if Google announces another Google Play Edition flagship phone.

Google seems to be spacing its hardware reveals further and further apart, making a new Nexus phone or tablet reveal at IO 2015 feel unlikely.

Like last year, the company will probably focus most on its software platforms, stressing the ease of developing for Chrome and Android over OSes-that-shall-not-be-named. Another Android iteration after 5.0 could definitely come (Android 5.5, for example), as could improvements to Google Now and the other services Google offers.

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Source:: phones revews