Another year, another Google I/O event. It seems that only days ago, we were waiting impatiently to finally learn what the ‘L’ in Android 5.0 stands for and how it is going to change mobile tech. Now, with the next event set for tomorrow, May 28 at 9:30AM PDT (4:30PM GMT – 7:30PM Beirut Time), we are only hours away from another exciting keynote, to fill us in on everything Google has been working on and plans for the future.
And as tradition dictates before such events it’s now time to wrap-up some of the rumors and see what we can expect to see onstage. First things first, after a brief cameo on the official I/O schedule, we are now fairly certain that Google is going to discuss, at least in some shape or form, the next major Android update, currently referred to as Android M.
We can’t really say for sure is the new OS is going to be officially announced, but, we are fairly certain that it is going to have a big focus on Android for business and multiple workspaces. Also, rumors hint at major optimizations in terms of RAM and battery performance. The finalized version of Android M is said to arrive at some point in August, though this timeframe is subject to change.
Past rumor suggest that the OS will offer native support for fingerprint scanners. As for the name, ‘M’ does leave quite a lot of possibilities open. Google could go with a partnership once again, like with KitKat, which puts things like M&Ms, Milky Way and Mars on the table. More conventional guesses are along the lines of Marshmallow or Muffin.
As for new handsets, we have been hearing a lot about Huawei making the next Nexus device. Recently, however, new rumors have suggested that the Chinese manufacturer might be joined by LG, for a total of two new Google devices.
Codenamed Angler, then upcoming LG-made Nexus Smartphone is said to have a 5.2” display. The device’s battery is said to have a capacity around 2,700mAh. LG has reportedly not decided on the chipset for the Angler. However, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 found in the LG G4 is said to be under consideration.
Huawei’s first Nexus device on the other hand, is codenamed Bullhead. Its specs include 5.7” display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 chipset, and 3,500mAh battery – right in line with a previous rumor. The handset will reportedly feature a “more manageable” form factor than the Motorola Nexus 6. Google will reportedly not unveil a new Nexus tablet this year. The search giant will stick with the Nexus 9 through one more product cycle.
There is also the possibility of a few other phones seeing the light of day, or, at least, being discussed at the conference. For one, we have Project ARA. The ambitious modular phone platform has been in development for quite some time and we can only hope that Google has made enough progress on it to be able to showcase some working prototypes. If not, an update on availability dates would be greatly appreciated as well.
Project Fi – Google’s recent move to offer competitive data plans, as a virtual carrier in the US, definitely stirred things up, but, as ambitious as it is, it has one huge drawback – it’s limited to Nexus 6 devices only. This caused a lot of controversy and a lot of people have speculated that launching an essentially budget service on a high-end device can only be a soak test of sorts. So now we can expect that Google will bring more devices to the table sooner or later, the only question is what tech should we expect. There is the possibility of a new budget-friendly Google Fi phone being announced at this year’s I/O to bring the service to the masses. But, this seems a lot less-likely than the aforementioned two Nexus handsets.
The rest of the device rumors we have heard are all pretty low in terms of probability. These include Fit Clip – a new fitness tracker, a new version of Google Glass and Chromecast 2. Also mentioned are things like a home automation speaker and a new version of Google Cardboard, made of plastic, Google Plastic, if you will.
As for the rest of the subjects we can expect Google to touch upon during I/O 2015, we should hear about the impressive growth of the Android user base, just like last year, also, perhaps some talks on home automation and the internet of things (IoT). Android’s specialized siblings – Auto, Wear and TV should also be discussed at length. A special kid-friendly version of the Google Play store could be unveiled at the venue. And we might learn more about the future on Google Wallet, as well.
Google I/O officially kicks off tomorrow at 9:30AM PDT with the all-important keynote presentation. We will be covering the event live, so, be sure to check back with us when the time comes. You can also actively participate in the conference remotely. Google.com/io hosts schedules, resources and tools to participate in lectures and workshops online, so, you can take part in the action .