Google I/O 2014 is certain to be one of the largest Android events (if not one of the largest tech events) of the year, and, as always, some surprises are on the horizon. With Google I/O 2014 set to begin today, many are asking the question, “What can you expect?” We’re here to reveal some juicy tidbits for those who can’t contain their excitement.
There’s much to expect from Google I/O, so sit back and enjoy the rundown; it’ll be a while.
Android Wear, Moto 360, LG G Watch, and Galaxy Wear
Google has already announced its Android Wear platform for wearable devices, but we’ve heard little about Android Wear in recent days. Alongside of the Android Wear platform will come a few smartwatches, particularly Motorola’s Moto 360 and LG’s G Watch. We’ve heard that LG’s G Watch will be given as a freebie to Android developers, perhaps as a way to promote the G Watch and spread the word about it. LG didn’t unveil the G Watch at the company’s G3 presentation, but LG did give us a few glimpses of the G Watch from powerpoint and video.
The Moto 360 is poised to be one of the most luxury Android smartwatches of the year, with its sapphire glass display, round watchface, and timepiece that makes the watch look as though it is a real luxury watch from days gone by. A recent Moto 360 contest seems to place the Moto 360 retail price at around $250, but the contest watches are likely early prototypes – and the price provided may be more of an initial estimate. It’s likely that Motorola will’ve to provide another estimate for the actual watch. Design, implementations, and so forth will likely price the Moto 360 higher – but we’ll wait and see.
Samsung has set up its Galaxy Gear, Gear 2, and Gear 2 Neo smartwatches for the calming waters of its new Tizen OS, but that doesn’t mean that Samsung won’t provide a Galaxy Wear smartwatch for the Android fan who isn’t comfortable with Tizen. We must warn you, however, that, if you’re considering a Galaxy Wear smartwatch, beware of the drop in battery life. The reason why Samsung decided to remove the Galaxy Gear from Android had much to do with battery life. We also suspect that Google and Samsung’s “closeness” since Mobile World Congress back in February involved Samsung removing its smartwatches to make room for Android Wear. Samsung will release an Android Wear smartwatch, but we believe Google deliberately forced Samsung’s hand in this area. With Samsung’s growing work in its own operating system, however, we don’t think Samsung had too many issues with removing its smartwatches and replacing them with a Samsung Android smartwatch that would obey Google’s wishes.
Android TV and Google Auto Link
We’ve got it on good authority that Google will launch its Google Auto Link today that will use Android smartphones with in-car dashboard navigation. Audi looks to have a press conference today, so it appears as though Audi will be one of the first manufacturers to integrate Google Auto Link into its newest vehicles.
As for a new TV, we also hear that Android TV will work well with large screens – despite Google’s tablet-like interface with Google TV that didn’t cooperate too well. Google revealed its Chromecast tool last July that allows you to push YouTube videos and other web content to your television (no matter the model, Android or not), but the $35 Chromecast tool is still not enough money for the kind of technology Google’s into. TVs are big business for any manufacturer (just ask Samsung about its 1080p TVs with curved OLED displays), and Google’s not one to be left out of the TV race.
Android 4.5 or 5.0 Lollipop as next Android update?
Google revealed Android 4.4 KitKat last September, but Sundar Pichai has said that Google will announce a new Android update today at Google I/O. Google’s reason for doing so is so that the world will “understand what we are doing sooner,” showing that Google desires consumers to become more educated about Android.
Google’s push to educate consumers can be seen in the recent requirement that all Android smartphones come with the phrase “powered by Android” that appears on each Android smartphone’s startup screen. This is, so Android is seen as a unified whole, rather than the work of individual manufacturers. This is likely the reason behind why Google approached Samsung regarding the company’s Magazine UX interface on its latest Galaxy NotePRO and TabPRO tablets. Pichai said in a recent interview that Google approached Samsung because it seemed as though the top Android OEM was pushing Android aside for its own interests.
As for the next Android update, we’ve seen Chrome tracker indications that an “L” release is on the horizon. Will it be “lemon merengue pie,” “lollipop,” or something else? Google surprised us with “KitKat” that replaced the “Key Lime Pie” moniker tech analysts believed would show up next – so, who knows? Google’s good at surprises, so we can expect that the “L” will likely be something we can’t predict.
What will it bring? From reports that’ve surfaced the last three months, Google Stars will likely appear at Google I/O 2014. Google Stars refers to a bookmarking service that many have said will operate similar to the Pocket app that’s famous for storing articles to be read offsite. Others have said that it will likely replace Google Keep, providing more functionality than Keep does already – and under a different name at that.
Whatever it’s called (Android 4.5 or 5.0, “Lemon,” “Lollipop,” or any other interesting “L” desserts), it’ll have home automation and vehicular integration that’ll take Android places it’s never been in worldwide homes and cars. These innovations will increase the meaning of “mobile” in our generation and generations to come.
Nexus 6 and 9
HTC will make the Nexus 9 tablet that we reported on earlier this week. It will feature an 8.91-inch screen as well as a metal build quality.
As for the Nexus 6, an earlier report said that Google had scrapped plans for the Nexus 6; rumors say that the Nexus 6 is still in the pipeline for a reveal later this year, so it seems as though Google’s back on track with two devices that were said to have been terminated.
While we’ve received word on the HTC Nexus 9 tablet, we’ve heard nothing about the Nexus 6 (despite Ausdroid’s claim), so we can only recommend that you take the Nexus 6 rumor with a large teaspoon of salt. Android Silver is said to be on the way, and we may hear something regarding it at Google I/O 2014. If Google intends to start the Android Silver program in February, it doesn’t seem to be proper timing to release two new Nexus devices – unless both the Nexus 6 and HTC Nexus 9 will run on Android Silver. We’ll have to wait and see if Google announces Android Silver. While LG’s Ken Hong has said that he knows nothing about a Nexus 6, LG has been rumored by leakster @evleaks to be responsible for the first Android Silver device. As a result, LG’s leader could’ve said this to dispel rumors and maintain the surprise rather than state an obvious fact.
The Nexus 6 is still fabled, but the HTC Nexus 9 seems to be a reality already.
Google I/O 2014 looks to provide us with some more goodness from Android land. While we’re glad to see Google I/O come, we’ll be even more pleased when Google’s announcements come to fruition.
What’re you excited to see at Google I/O?