Google I/O kicks off Wednesday morning at Moscone West in San Francisco, and we're all looking forward to a giant bucket of awesome getting dumped on our heads from the good folks from Mountain View. It's the biggest show of the year for Android lovers, one where we see what may be coming up, what is under development, and how it all works together. Because Android and Chrome have grown so popular, and other platforms like Google TV are seeing growth as well, I/O has been bumped to three days instead of the two day events we've seen in the past. We still get our two big keynotes (some of the best in the industry) but we get another full day to meet with developers and designers, as well as dive into the developer sessions. We think it's going to be a great conference, and we'll be there to keep you abreast on everything Google and Android. Hit the break and let's talk about what we expect to see at Moscone West.
A lot of the big news will come from the two keynotes on days one and two. (At 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, and 10 a.m. Thursday, Pacific time.) It's when the folks in charge of the different Google products get a chance to tell us what's been happening and what they have planned. We expect to hear a lot of talk about search, enterprise computing, Gmail and other products, but we've got an idea that some things will stand out more than others thanks in large part to Internet buzz. There will be Google TV news, and we think it will be big (hopefully with great hardware). We also expect to see more about Android at Home, and maybe even some music playing hardware will be part of it.
Keynotes are also where we get to see the new product hardware, and we're looking forward to a couple things that make a big noise across the tubes. And we can't forget the software updates, because everyone thinks we'll be seeing a new version of Android here as well. We've broken out what we think will make the biggest splash into separate sections.
Chrome and ChromeOS
We focus on Android around these parts, but it's hard to ignore Chrome. It's one of Google's biggest and fastest growing projects, and the guys and gals working on it have every right to be proud of what they've done. And since they have to be part nerd, they also want to show it off in some uber-geeky ways.
Google will tell us everything we want to know about the latest Chrome version, what to expect in the next phase of development, and how it all will work with the ChromeOS hardware. Hopefully we get a chance to see some demos of the new ChromeBooks and ChromeBox, and a deep look into the direction ChromeOS is heading. We all use Chrome, so after the Android goodness this will be our favorite part.
We've heard rumors, we've seen supposed leaks, and every one of us here is certain Google will announce a 7-inch Nexus tablet sometime this week. Some folks think we'll be seeing other models as well, but our bet is just the 7-incher and a slew of features and news that makes it worth buying. We've said it before and we'll say it again -- the secret to Android tablet success is not to release yet another tablet. Google has to announce or release a compelling reason to choose Android tablets. We know they can do it, we think they know they have to do it, and we're earnestly waiting to see it.
The Interwebs also seem pretty certain they will be handing these things out to attendees, so expect a lot of news about them if that turns out to be true.
What better way to have a mess of new Android features to make consumers want a 7-inch Nexus than to do it with a new version of Android? The collective mind of the Internet says we'll see Jellybean released as Android 4.1, and it will be a minor increment to the current version. That sounds completely reasonable, because at this point all the OS itself needs is some polish. The APIs are what will make or break Android as it goes forward. Android 4.1 will likely have a bunch of new ones, but more importantly be written with amazing new APIs to come later. We think we'll see features that will come to Jellybean as it progresses with point releases, and they will blow our doors off.
Alex and I have also bet a frosty beverage over Jellybean -- he thinks it will be released this week (and ship on the 7-inch Nexus), while I think we just get to see a preview. I hope Alex is right, and will be happy to buy him a glass of something delightful when I'm wrong. We shall see.
We'll get to see and hear a little bit about Project Glass at IO 2012, but don't expect anything we don't already know. Like self-driving cars, this one is still in its infancy and we only get to see it because it's just too damn cool not to show off. In a perfect world each attendee would get a pair that fully work and the units are ready to sell, but we think this is still in it's project phase. You can bet that we'll share everything Google wants to tell or show us about Project Glass, but don't expect it to be a big part of the festivities.
Developer sessions and code labs
This is the meat of Google I/O, and for everyone but members of the press, the main reason to go. Google I/O is not about free hardware or schmoozing with Googlers we all know and love (although we have to admit that part's cool, too), it's about developers getting ideas and tools to write the best damn apps they can write.
Android has it's own track and all three days are full of sessions. Too full in fact, and since GoogleClone isn't ready yet we'll all have to miss a couple. Thankfully, between the three of us we'll be able to cover them and pick out the goodies you guys need to know about. Here's the list of all things Android at Google I/O.
- What's new in Android
- Android apps in Google Play
- The sensitive side of Android
- Monetizing Android apps
- Google Play: Marketing 101 for developers
- Making Android apps accessible
- Android fireside chat
- What's new in Android developer tools?
- Making Good Apps Great: More advanced topics for expert Android developers
- For butter or worse: Smoothing out performance in Android UIs
- Doing More With Less: Being a good Android citizen
- Up Close and Personal: NFC and Android Beam
- Multi-versioning Android user interfaces
- Building Android applications that use web APIs
- Ten things game developers should know
- Android design for success
- So You've Read the Design Guide: Now what?
- Android WebView
- Navigation in Android
- Measuring the end-to-end value of your app
- Playing with patterns
- Security and privacy in Android apps
You can see, Google I/O is all about the developers. Everything is covered, from developer tools to marketing, and done by the folks who know how to do it. If you're a developer you really need to try and attend at least once, but luckily this year all the sessions will be streamed for those who can't attend. For those who don't develop, and have little or no desire to sit through 60 minute sessions by nerds for nerds, we'll be there to cover all the highlights.
We're really looking forward to this week, and can't wait to bring you all the news!