If it’s summer, it must be developer conference season. That
blessed time when behemoth technology corporations show off their
new operating systems, products, and services to throngs of
programmers and by extension, consumers. First came Microsoft
Build, next was Apple’s
WWDC, and this week we’ve got the last big bash of the season,
As dictated by ritual and tradition, the service shall take
place in San Francisco’s Temple of Moscone — better known as the
Moscone Center. It kicks off on 25 June at 9am Pacific time. While
shrouded in mystery and enigma, we have at least some idea of what
may be coming — or at least what the tea leaves indicate. Roll the
bones, people, here’s what to expect.
Given that Google updated Android to version 4.4.4 this week,
rolled out new Glass frame designs from Diane Von Furstenberg,
announced a bunch of new Glassware today, and made a major
overhaul of Google+ Photos just last month, we’re expecting
some Very Big News — otherwise it would have saved some of that
stuff for the keynote. Likely, it’s going to be the Android
Everywhere show. Google has proved Android on handsets and tablets.
Now it’s time to see where else it can roam.
The Safe(ish) Bets:
Android Inside Your TV
If you take a quick look at the session guides
for this year’s I/O, something really pops out: What’s all this
Google Cast stuff listed everywhere? It seems a safe bet that
Google is going to make a big deal of Android TV, it’s latest
attempt to crack the big screen in your living room. And why not,
it has a hit on its hands with Chromecast.
Time to blow it up. And, hell, I’m sure it will be a lot better
than Google TV or the Nexus
Q, right? Right?
Android All Over Your Body
Google has already announced Android Wear — a wearable version of
Android meant for devices like watches. But now we’re
expecting, or at least hoping, to see some actual devices built on
Google Up in Your Car
Remember the Open
Automotive Alliance? Sure you do. It’s Google’s joint effort
with carmakers like Audi, GM and Honda and technology firms like
NVidia to bring Android into your vehicle. It’s been teased as
“starting in 2014″ and we’re expecting to hear a lot more about it,
and see it in action, at this year’s I/O.
Design Focused, But Money Talks
Google is emphasising three D’s at I/O this year: design, develop
and distribute. Google wants you to think of it as a
design-oriented company every bit as much as you do Apple. That’s
unlikely! But it’s going to push the theme at I/O this year. Expect
to hear the D-word repeated on stage quite a lot. Develop? Well,
that’s the whole conference, isn’t it? But expect lots of looks at
what Android makes possible across a range of devices and
activities. As to distribute, Google wants to make a case to
developers that they can make lots of money by writing applications
for its platform. It’s going to trot out lots of evidence of how
well the Play store has done, and how much revenue its generated
for third parties who have embraced it.
Colour us skeptical on this, but not ruling it out. This is, after
all, the Android show this year. Hopefully, we’ll at least see a
preview of some of its features. But we would be pretty surprised
to see Android 5.0 get a full coming out. Update: We’ve moved this
into the likely column after seeing Brad Stone of Businessweek’s report that Google will in fact
preview the next version of Android at I/O.
Google up in your house
Google announced the Nest Developer program just this week. It lets
your Nest talk to your other existing devices. So, for example,
before you roll up in your Benz, your Nest can turn on the heat in
your house and get it warm and toasty for you. Given Apple’s
HomeKit splash at WWDC, and the effort to show how Android can work
on all sorts of platforms other than phones and tablets, this seems
likely to get at least a mention.
Google Glass consumer version
Well Google has made it clear that the consumer version of Glass
is coming at some point this year. And of course the Explorer
version (the one you’ve seen) debuted at I/O.
A new Nexus tablet? Ehhhhhh. There will certainly be some devices
at the show, likely something Google wants developers to focus on,
but most of the leaks are pointing towards releases later this year
for a new Nexus tablet — along with a possible rebranding as
Naw, dawg, no way
YouTube streaming music service
Nope. Not this week. Despite it getting some press this week and
last, along with some official confirmation, we’ll eat a tyre tube
if this ships this week.
Nexus 6 Handset