May, 05 2013

google-io-2013-logoWith just ten days left for Google I/O to kick off, I can hardly contain my excitement. This edition will be the first time I’ll be attending, and I will also be at the Google Developer Group Summit prior to the event.

So, what am I expecting to see at I/O this year?

Big news regarding Chrome and Android

When the agenda for I/O was announced, the change from the typical two keynotes to only one this time got a lot of attention. My belief is that this probably has to do with Chrome and Android coming closer together strategically. Typically, Day 1 keynotes have been about Android and Day 2 about Chrome, besides other announcements. Other signs have pointed towards a coming together of the two platforms, such as the Chrome-styled Android statue, following which we saw Sundar Pichai add the title of Senior Vice President of Android to his roles of Chrome and Google Apps.

It could simply have been scheduled so that Sundar’s two keynotes are on the same day. However, with a significant number of developer sessions that match a mobile web theme, I think we should be seeing some news regarding improved performance at least. Google Now on Chrome for desktops should make an appearance, too, and so should Babel.

Bluetooth Low Energy

There have been rumors in the last day or two that Bluetooth Low Energy support would be added to the next iteration of Android, with HTC supposedly having “leaked” the feature ahead of the release. HTC have come out and said that they are not hinting at anything unannounced, but Low Energy support makes a lot of sense since Google Glass connects to the user’s Android device over Bluetooth, and so do other connected peripherals such as smartwatches. Which reminds me, I’m hoping for a Google Watch, too.

Game Center for Android

Rumors surfaced in the middle of April that Google would be launching a Game Center-like service for Android, and separately we heard about a recent hire for a “Chief Game Designer at Google Play“. A number of sessions, particularly on Day 1, are on mobile gaming with one of them (that I believe was added only today, though I’m not certain) dedicated for multiplayer support. With Android forming the base for upcoming gaming devices such as OUYA and Nvidia’s Project Shield, Game Center seems a question of when and not if.

Devices

The Motorola X Phone is without doubt what everyone wants to see at I/O, and though the belief is that the device will only hit shelves in July or August. However, I’m still confident about seeing it next week. Nothing that I have mentioned so far has been a showstopper, and after the Google Glass antics of last year, sounds a little underwhelming. If the X Phone offers all the customization it is rumored to, that problem would be solved. We might not see them given away to attendees, though I cannot completely rule it out considering Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 was given away in 2011 before the customer release.

The Nexus 7 should see a refresh with it’s screen now an eyesore in comparison to the other Google devices such as the Nexus 4, Nexus 10 and Chromebook Pixel. There should be some news from the Google TV side of things, too, but I’m not holding my breath. Ideally, I’d like to see a box with Miracast.

I will be sharing my experience from my trip half way across the planet as regularly as I can via posts on Phandroid, though I suggest circling me on Google+ and following me on Twitter.

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