GOOGLE I/O: What to ex­pect

Google's an­nual con­fer­ence runs at the end of May. What will the An­droid maker bring to the ta­ble in 2015?

Android Advisor - - Adroid Advisor -

Google I/O will be held at Moscone West Con­ven­tion Cen­ter in San Fran­cisco from 28- to 29 May. We take a look at what to ex­pect from Google in 2015 in­clud­ing An­droid M, Google Glass 2.0, Project Ara and more.

An­droid M

One of the most ob­vi­ous things to ex­pect this year from Google is a new ver­sion of An­droid. Fol­low­ing the al­pha­bet­i­cal list of sweet deserts, this ver­sion will begin with the let­ter M (place your bets for the name now). Don't be ex­pect­ing a big new ver­sion, though:

An­droid M is likely to be 5.1 and bring along new fea­tures and tweaks. Af­ter all, 5.0 Lol­lipop was the big over­haul with the Ma­te­rial De­sign.

As to when An­droid M will ar­rive is un­clear, but it's likely to be dur­ing the sum­mer and in the sec­ond half of the year. The first time we're likely to hear about it from Google is at Google I/O.

Google Glass 2.0

Whether or not you think Google Glass is a pass­ing fad, we could well see a new ver­sion this year. Google closed the Ex­plorer Pro­gram on 19 Jan­uary

so you can no longer pur­chase the Ex­plorer Edi­tion, but that's not the end of the wear­able gad­get. Google has con­firmed that it is "con­tin­u­ing to build for the fu­ture, and you’ll start to see fu­ture ver­sions of Glass when they’re ready". Ac­cord­ing to the Wall Street Jour­nal, we'll see a new ver­sion this year that will use an In­tel chip. And at Google I/O we could get some more de­tails.

Google Glass was first in­tro­duced at Google I/O, so this year's con­fer­ence seems like the per­fect time and place to un­veil the new ver­sion – even if it is in a pro­to­type stage of devel­op­ment.

An­droid Sil­ver/Nexus

A grey area is An­droid Sil­ver, which is Google's sup­posed scheme for cre­at­ing An­droid de­vices un­der a set of re­quire­ments, a bit like Ul­tra­books. This would mean any man­u­fac­tur­ing part­ner to make a smart­phone or tablet within the rules would get the An­droid Sil­ver brand­ing. Google has not con­firmed plans for this and re­cent re­ports claim it's been scrapped due to a lack of in­ter­est from part­ners.

It's also un­clear whether An­droid Sil­ver will re­place the Nexus range of de­vices. That Google will

con­tinue with Nexus is more likely, and as we'll see on page 9 we're ex­pect­ing to see at least one new Nexus phone (and likely a tablet or ph­ablet) this year.

Project Ara

One thing we can def­i­nitely ex­pect for 2015 is Project Ara, Google's mod­u­lar smart­phone con­cept. It will al­low you to up­grade in­di­vid­ual parts of the phone such as the cam­era or pro­ces­sor in a plug-and-play fash­ion. There is some com­pe­ti­tion in this area, but eyes are on Google to lead the way.

"Project Ara is a devel­op­ment ef­fort, not an of­fi­cial Google prod­uct. Con­se­quently, we don’t have a mar­ket launch date. How­ever, we’re work­ing to­ward a limited mar­ket pi­lot in 2015," said Google on its web­site for the project.

An­droid TV and An­droid Auto

Google spent some of its 2014 I/O con­fer­ence talk­ing about An­droid TV and An­droid Auto, ver­sions of the OS for the living room and the car. We ex­pect to see the firm push on with th­ese in 2015 as

An­droid TV re­places the failed Google TV. Sets from Sony, Sharp and Philips will come with An­droid TV this year. We ex­pect to see some set-top boxes, too.

It might take a lit­tle longer to see An­droid Auto in­te­gra­tion, as this is still a new area for this kind of tech. How­ever, big strides are set to take place in 2015. For ex­am­ple, we saw Par­rot an­nounce the RNB6 at CES, which is both An­droid Auto- and Ap­ple CarPlay ready – it's due to launch later this year.

An­droid Wear

For a while it seemed as though Google would in­tro­duce an up­date to the An­droid Wear OS for smart­watches at I/O 2015, but it didn't wait for May and in­stead got out its up­date out there around the time of the ri­val Ap­ple Watch launch. The 'Di­a­mond' up­date brings var­i­ous new fea­tures, in­clud­ing Wi-Fi sup­port, new ges­tures and emo­jis.

That news doesn't mean we won't hear about An­droid Wear at Google I/O 2015, though. It's likely we'll hear about what the firm plans to do next and we could even see new de­vices at the con­fer­ence.

We're hop­ing Google will launch its own Nexus-branded smart­watch.

Child-friendly prod­ucts and ser­vices

Ac­cord­ing to a re­port by USA To­day, Google is look­ing to launch child-friendly ver­sions of its prod­ucts and ser­vices this year. We're talk­ing kids aged 12 and un­der. This should mean new ver­sions of Chrome and YouTube at least.

"The big mo­ti­va­tor in­side the com­pany is ev­ery­one is hav­ing kids, so there's a push to change our prod­ucts to be fun and safe for chil­dren," said Pavni Di­wanji, vice pres­i­dent of en­gi­neer­ing.

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