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Android N to New VR Headset: 10 Things Expected to Be Announced at Google I/O 2016

Android N to New VR Headset: 10 Things Expected to Be Announced at Google I/O 2016

Here's what one could expect from Google I/O 2016.

New Delhi: Thousands of developers from all over the world will be heading to the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California, starting today, to witness some of the most anticipated announcements coming from Google. The annual developers conference - Google I/O - is scheduled to run from May 18 to May 20 and other than the much-anticipated launch of Android N and Xiaomi's debut participation at the event, expectations are high about a new Nexus phone, a new VR device, and possibly something around the ambitious driverless car project. Here's a roundup of all that one could expect from Google I/O 2016:

1. Android N

Successor to Android Marshmallow, Android N is expected to bring in a host of improvements with new features and increased stability. One key innovation in Android N is the picture-in-picture function for using two applications simultaneously. The new version of Android OS will further improve battery consumption and also support Emoji Unicode 9. All that remains now is to find a suitable name. As tradition has it, all the previous Android versions have been named after sweets. However, during his India visit, CEO Sundar Pichai said that the company was open to naming it after an Indian sweet and that it could conduct an online poll to decide the name for the operating system.

2. New Nexus devices

With the announcing of Android N, Google is likely to bring forth new hardware to showcase the software. The search giant is therefore expected to use the I/O platform to announce an all-new Nexus smartphone. It is widely speculated that the company could either announce new phones or a phone and a tablet manufactured by HTC or Huawei. The purported Nexus smartphone is expected to feature a bumper 7-inch display, with an Nvidia Tegra X1 processor coupled with 4 GB of RAM. The device is further rumoured to come with Apple iPhone-like pressure-sensitive display and draw its juice from a 3000mAh battery.

3. Updates to Nexus 5X, 6P

Other than introducing a new hardware, Google could also introduce updates to the existing Nexus phones - the Nexus 5X by LG and Nexus 6P by Huawei. It is speculated that the new phones will feature Type-C and come powered by the newest Android N. Rumours also hint at a smaller screen size - with the Nexus 5X at 5 inches and Nexus 6P at 5.5 inches; the latter is also expected to run a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 CPU with Adreno 530 graphics. The new phone (Nexus 7) or the updated ones (Nexus 5X 2016 and Nexus 6P 2016) are unlikely to hit the markets before September.

4. Moving beyond Google Cardboard

In a time of Oculus Rift and HoloLens, Google's Cardboard clearly feels a tad too outdated and the search giant could finally use this opportunity to reveal a new VR headset that is fit for the competition, lest it meets a future like Google Glass. Recent media reports hinted at a new headset in the making which will work without the need of a smartphone, unlike the current Cardboard. The purported device will include a screen, high-powered processors and outward-facing cameras. Speculations also hint at a new operating system designed specifically for virtual reality environments (Android VR) instead of a stand alone headset. Well, we can only be sure once the Googlers take on the stage.

5. New 'Fiat'

With the recently announced partnership with carmarker Fiat Chrysler, Google I/O 2016 serves as a great opportunity for the search giant to reveal a word or two about its ambitious driverless car project. Google intends to develop 100 self-driving cars or minivans with Fiat to give a push to its driverless car programme.

6. Project Ara

Early this year, LG launched its first modular smartphone - the LG G5 - and it is expected that Google will also announce some update to its Project Ara. The long neglected modular smartphone could resurface at the Google I/O conference. Google is developing an environmentally friendly and cost-effective smartphone with a customisable design, made up of various small blocks containing the different components (processor, memory, camera, speaker, 3G chip, etc.).

Each of the phone's individual elements - including the screen - can be removed and replaced at any moment in the event of a fault, a breakage or simply to improve performances. This project also seeks to combat the planned obsolescence built into current smartphones.

7. Project Tango

Tango is another project in the works at the Google ATAP group which could make an appearance at the Mountain View conference, showing off advanced 3D mapping technology that adapts to the user's surrounding environment.

Lenovo is expected to be the first smartphone maker to launch a handset equipped with this augmented reality technology, with a device expected in June.

8. Google Glass successor?

Earlier this year, Google wiped away all data related to its $1,500 smart glasses as it reportedly started working on a new version of its face-mounted technology. The project on which Google is currently working is a product currently nicknamed Project Aura which will be redesigned from the ground up. The team is not only working on the next incarnation of Glass, but also developing other wearable technology.

9. Chat bot

After Facebook's idea of inserting chat bots to help users make the most of its Messenger, it seems Google too is looking at messaging and chat bots. Latest media reports hint at a WhatsApp-like messenger that could feature a chat bot that will also answer your queries within the app. This week Google introduced a messaging app meant for groups, called 'Spaces'. However, it is still a mystery if the purported chat bot or messaging app will be a standalone product or a part of Hangouts.

10. Other tidbits

Other than the big projects, the Google I/O 2016 could also see announcements including updates to Android Wear, Chrome OS, IoT, Project Loon among others.

You can go here to know how to watch Google I/O 2016 Keynote Live in 360-degree VR.