New Delhi: The anticipated Google I/O developers conference is just a few hours away. From a new version of the popular Android mobile operating system, new authentication solutions, to a possible Apple Pay competitor, and much more; the annual two-day event is going to be packed with some of the coolest technological innovations that developers are looking forward to. As the event kick starts at 10 tonight, we bring to you a roundup of the speculated products and technologies the search giant could show off in San Francisco.
Android M: Google’s Android Lollipop could witness a successor - unofficially dubbed Android M. It is expected to have more robust security by allowing users to have more control over personal data such as phone numbers, locations, names and addresses. It will also include a more refined Material Design and support fingerprint authentication. If Google unveils it at the conference, it will be the 10th major update to the operating system since it was first released six years ago. The next version is expected to include a more refined Material Design and support fingerprint authentication akin to Apple’s iOS system for iPhone 5s and onwards.
Speculations are rife that Nexus devices could also be announced during the two-day event. There have been reports that both Huawei and LG are working on their own Nexus handsets, with the former supposedly introducing a larger 6-inch phablet.
Android Pay: Taking cue from Apple Pay, Google could introduce a mobile payment service, possibly replacing the older Google Wallet service. Android Pay will allow retailers to accept tap-to-pay transactions in-store. It is also expected that its existing Google Wallet app will be reintroduced as a peer-to-peer payments app that consumers could use to send money to each other directly from their debit accounts.
Google Pay can also be used at brick-and-mortar stores in addition to letting merchants accept credit card payments from their mobile apps. When integrated with loyalty programs, the system can automatically add points to the program.
Google Photos: In tune with Google’s plans of segregating the photos service from its Google+ social network, we might as well be able to see that coming true at this year’s conference. The tool is expected to carry forward the existing features like automatic GIFs and ‘auto awesome’ photo enhancement options. However, a addition is said to be the ability to post the images directly to Twitter or Facebook.
Android Auto: Venturing into the connected-car field, Google could throw some light on its Android Auto dashboard system. Hyundai has become the first carmaker to offer the still-in-infancy system in its 2015 Sonata. The Android Auto system connects to drivers' smartphones and lets them access certain apps by voice, steering wheel controls or touchscreen graphics on the dashboard. Google could use the I/O event to talk more about how developers could use its system to further generate products which could possibly change the future of driving and related technology.
Internet of Things: While the entire Silicon Valley and beyond are joining the IoT bandwagon and developing future devices which seamlessly communicate with each other; from connected cars to connected refrigerators, Google could possibly introduce concepts in this segment as well . It is speculated that it could unwrap a rumoured Brillo OS which is a lighter version of its Android platform and meant especially for Google’s Nest Internet-connected smart devices, including a smart thermostat, smoke detector, and home security cameras from Dropcam.
Android TV and Chromecast: While its smart TV operating system- Chromecast took off when it was introduced a year and half back, Google’s Android TV didn’t hit the spot quite right. It is expected that Google could introduce a simplified experience for its Android TV, along with updating its Chromecast and possibly rebranding it as Google Cast.
Consolidation of Android and Chrome OS: Currently offered as a separate entity, under senior vice president Sundar Pichai’s supervision, we could see a merger of the two operating systems. Google could provide more insight about what it has in store for the future of the OSes.
Android Wear: A session meant to ‘blow our socks off’ in the wearable technology category could mean either a wearable by the search giant or an update to the existing products. Google has been continually improving its operating system for wearables and recently it added WiFi support and the ability to draw emojis to its Android Wear smartwatches. While the features will be available on will be available on the LG Watch Urbane, Moto 360, Sony Smartwatch 3, and Samsung Gear Live; we expect to see either a wearable or a smartwatch at tomorrow’s event. It is speculated that either a Motorola Moto 360 2 smartwatch or a $1400-priced Tag Heur smartwatch based on Google’s Android Wear could be introduced. There are also indications about a possible Android Wear for iPhones.
Authentication solution: Google recently tweaked its log in page and split the process into two. It said that the minor update was part of its larger goal of introducing authentication solutions that complement traditional passwords. There is a possibility that these solutions could include two-step/two-factor authentication, hardware dongles, or perhaps even some web-based variation of Android's 'Smart Lock' system.
Virtual reality: Google is rumoured to debut the polished version of the Google Glass. There is also a possibility that Google’s Cardboard will be shown off at the event, again. Last year the company introduced a crude but functional VR device that uses lenses to create a 3D effect after inserting an Android phone into it. With Microsoft and Facebook’s own virtual reality projects, we could be able to see how serious Google is with its own Cardboard project.
Satellite Imaging: A session called ‘The Earth in real time’ developers might get to know about the future of satellite imaging. When Google acquired satellite mapping company Skybox last year, it hoped the technology could be used to improve Internet access worldwide and help during natural calamities.
Live gaming on YouTube: After a failed attempt at acquiring Twitch, Google could use its existing YouTube platform to allow live gaming. YouTube has added 60fps and HTML5 live streaming which could be seen as a precursor to an introduction of gaming.
Project Fi: Google recently unveiled its own Internet-based mobile network that switches between WiFi and cellular networks to curb data use and cut down on the phone bills. The search giant could use the conference to explain more about the service.
Project Ara: Google keeps working on multiple projects targeted at the future of technology. Project Ara being one of them aims at offering consumers with the freedom to build their pown smartphone- the way they want it to function in terms of hardware. As the modular phone makers draws closer to a test debut in Puerto Rico, we could witness a brief update about it and also a possible date when it could finally be rolled out to all.
Google Play in China: Due to the country’s strict Internet rules, Google Play is currently unavailable in the nation and Android phones sold in China do not come preloaded with Google apps. As Google aims to break into the country, it is possible that we could hear a word on how much Google tweaks its existing norms to bring the software store to the People’s Republic.
Google Cloud: Although Google doesn’t traditionally use the I/O event to talk about its cloud services, with Microsoft and Amazon’s recent announcements regarding their flourishing cloud services, there are speculations it could use the event to woo developers to use its cloud platform.