Google I/O 2015 Starts Thursday, Here’s Our Preview

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Google IO Sundar Pichai
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Google I/O, the annual developer conference by the software giant, starts tomorrow in San Francisco, California. We have been following the event for a few years now and definitely looking forward to this one. It runs from May 28 – 29, 2015.

The highlight of the conference usually is the opening Keynote that is likely to be presented by Sundar Pichai – Google’s Senior VP of Android, Chrome and Google Apps – as he did last year.

LOOKING BACK

Android Numbers

Impressive stats were shared by Mr Pichai at I/O last year and we expect Android to keep up with the upward adoption in smartphones, tablets and other devices. As to whether it is on course to be the computing platform for the next 1-billion we are yet to see.

Android One

Announced at last year’s I/O, the Android One initiative – aimed at providing emerging markets with well spec’d standardized devices with assured updates from Google. It launched in India and later Indonesia, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Philippines and Turkey by the time of this filing. Hopefully this rolls out to more countries faster than it has especially in this part of the world as many first time smartphone buyers stand to benefit.

Android 5.0 “Lollipop”

Android’s look was overhauled in the 5.0 update but adoption numbers remain low due to slow roll out by OEMs and carriers and made worse by sluggish Nexus 6 Sales likely due to large size and premium pricing.

Google seriously needs a new strategy on how Android devices will receive new updates as previous attempts have not been successful.

Android Wear

With Android Wear, Google had a bit of a head start in the wearable computing devices category. However, since the announcement at I/O, competing devices from Apple have been unveiled to wide critical acclaim.

We will be on the lookout for the moves they will make to remain competitive in an industry that likely has a lot of potential in the coming years.

WHAT TO EXPECT

Google Photos Service

Google Photos has been bundled in Google + and is one of the best features of the service. Google is said to be separating it to a stand-alone version. This is expected to be part of the next Android version.

Android M

Likely to take centre-stage at the event, the next version of Android – code-named M – is to be announced. We expect it to be mostly under the hood improvements unlike “Lollipop” which was a complete visual overhaul. Better performance, battery life bug squashing and such like fixes.

Specifically, rumoured around the web to be coming with the new Android version is; inbuilt support for fingerprint authentication and better privacy controls with users having more options for granular control over what applications access what data.

It is also likely a preview version will be made available before the final version release later in the year.

Nexus Devices

This year, Google is expected to launch 2 Nexus phone but no nexus tablet. The two phones are rumoured to be from LG and Huawei.

The LG Bullhead (remember, sea creature code names) will have a 5.2-inch screen and a battery in the neighborhood of 2700 mAh. The capacity is not completely decided, but neither is the ARM chip. LG is currently planning on a Snapdragon 808 in this device. That’s the same hexa-core chip used in the LG G4. Bullhead would basically be the 2015 Nexus 5 everyone has been begging for.

The Huawei Angler will apparently be a somewhat more hefty device with a 5.7-inch screen. For better or worse, the information we have says Huawei plans to use a Snapdragon 810 in this Nexus. Again, that might change before release, or maybe it’ll be fine with the additional time to tweak performance. The battery capacity in Angler is said to be 3500 mAh. This is more or less a 2015 Nexus 6, but with a slightly more manageable form factor. Both phones should be out in the usual Nexus time frame around October.

It also sounds like the Nexus 9 will be Google’s flagship tablet for another cycle. The information we have on this is from just a few weeks ago in April, and says no Nexus tablet is in the works. That makes it unlikely we’ll see one this time around.

Others

Updates to Android Auto, Android Wear, Android TV and Chrome OS.

MISCELLANY

Google I/O’s schedule. Look out for a live-stream of that event at 19:00 East African Time.

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