Tomorrow is like Christmas for many Android fans, including myself. Yes, Google I/O 2015 is indeed tomorrow. If you haven’t already, make your plans to catch the keynote tomorrow at 9:30 AM PDT. Actually before you do that, make your plans to join us for a live Google I/O pre-show Hangout on our High on Android Youtube Channel tomorrow morning. I will be hosting the show and we’ll take questions from as many people as possible. I hope that many of you will come discuss all things I/O with us, even if you need to put on headphones at work to do so! Max will tweet out the link tomorrow morning at 8 AM PDT and we will continue the Hangout for about an hour, leading up to the big I/O keynote at 9:30 AM PDT.
In this post I’m going to run down the biggest things we expect to see at I/O this year, and perhaps make a few bold predictions. You can all come tell me how wrong my predictions are if you join in the Hangout tomorrow. Now then, let us get right to it.
- Android M– We all know that Android M is going to make an appearance at I/O. In fact, we all knew this even before Google revealed as much in the official I/O program. Shane already told us several things to expect in Android M, but I’ll highlight my favorites. It looks like we’ll see some new privacy controls and other security improvements, including native fingerprint authentication. This could be a great step toward making fingerprint scanners ubiquitous throughout the Android landscape-not just for big flagships. We’ll likely hear more about Android Auto-I’m particularly excited about this since I have a Pioneer Android Auto unit in my car. Last year Google pushed out a Developer preview of Lollipop, we’ll likely get that again, which means we can check out everything new on our Nexus devices soon enough. Now, if only we knew what that M stands for…
- ATAP Wearable- Google’s Advanced Technologies and Projects (ATAP) told us they plan to unveil a wearable that will knock our socks off. I literally have no guesses on this one, but it is going to be fun to see what they are up to.
- New Android Wear Devices- Perhaps this is a bold prediction, but I have a hunch we’ll see more than one Android Wear device announced at I/O. We are awaiting a watch from Huawei, the follow up to the Moto 360, and there are some rumblings that HTC might have a Wear device in their pipeline. My bet is that we see a couple of these come to fruition at I/O or just after. We will also see several sessions targeted toward expanding developer interest in fitness applications with Android Wear. Overall, I expect a big I/O for Google’s watch platform.
- New Photos App– Photos is finally breaking away from Google+, and it should bring a slew of new features. I already wrote an article detailing what to expect, and there is a lot to look forward to. New sharing and privacy options, a revamped interface for cropping photos, and more. We also expect to see Auto-Awesome get rebranded and add more features that focus on adding user control.
- New Chromecast- The original Chromecast is getting a bit long in the tooth, many are predicting an update. I can see Google putting these in the I/O goodie bags. As long as they keep the price at $40 or under, I’m in to buy an upgraded Chromecast for sure.
- Android Home- Now that Google has made their way onto and into our pocket, wrist, and car-they now want to invite themselves into your home as well. Google has been working for a long time on building better home integration, so that in the future our phones can interface with everything, including all of your appliances at home. If Google provides their software (codenamed “Brillo”) to other smart home product producers this could create a standard for your home to all run as one. Expect quite a bit about Android at Home at I/O.
- User Control of App Permissions- We’ve already heard that Google plans to give users more control over what permissions they allow when installing a given app. The question remains how much control users will really have. I am interested to see how Google plans to handle this delicate issue at I/O.
- Android Auto- We should hear more about Android Auto at I/O, particularly announcements regarding new partners. Hyundai announced yesterday that they are the first to offer Android Auto in their factory head unit. Chevy is rolling out 15 models with Android Auto later this year. We should see more auto manufacturers jump on board. Perhaps we will also hear more about software updates for Auto, I’d sure like to know that my Pioneer head-unit will be updated semi-regularly, but that might be a lot to ask in the auto industry.
Those are my predictions for I/O. I think most of what I listed is a safe bet, save for perhaps the prediction of two new Android Wear watches at the show. I’m definitely excited to see what Google has in-store for us. Come tell us your predictions and ask questions at the High On Android Google I/O pre-show Hangout tomorrow morning, 8 -9 AM PDT. Enjoy the show everyone!
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