Preparations are in full swing at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View California for Google I/O 2017. Google has used this event historically to announce products, initiatives, or to share its vision for the coming twelve months.
I am not implying there is any pressure on Google, but it is important to remember Microsoft just concluded its “build” developer conference. The following are some of the most quoted announcements.
Microsoft Build Highlights
Windows 10 Fall Creators Update
The big focus is cross-device experiences: start something on your laptop and finish it on your Smartphone, or vice versa.
Pulling a page from Google’s material design, fluent design is an evolution from the current Windows interface that focuses on “light, depth, motion, material, and scale”.
Story Remix takes photos and video from your smartphone or other device and turns them into “instant video stories”.
Expanded Surface Pen
With the Fall Creators Update, Microsoft is working to eliminate any remaining impediments for using it across the entire system at all times.
New Motion Controllers
Microsoft announced new motion controllers which pair with the recently announced Windows Mixed Reality VR headsets.
Cloud powered Clipboard
The new cloud-powered clipboard will let Windows 10 users copy content from an app on their PC and paste it on mobile devices like iPhones or Android handsets.
iTunes Windows Store App
Apple will release a version of iTunes in Microsoft’s digital store by the end of 2017.
Rumors are heating up as specifications and pricing for the next iPhones are leaked. The design language will be similar to the Samsung S8 and pricing for the iPhone 8 is expected to start in the $850 and $900 range.
Amazon continues to apply pressure in the consumer electronics space with the introduction of the Echo Show.
What To Expect @ I/O
I/O features experiential learning, Google’s latest developer products, and talks from Google Product Managers & Engineers — plus a few surprises along the way.
Of coarse it’s the surprises everyone is interested in. Here are my picks in order of probability.
As the Android O preview has been out since March, it makes sense Google will announce new features or enhancement to the OS. It is expected Android O, under its new name, will be the OS included in the new Pixel smartphones scheduled for release this fall.
The “big” surprise may be a new version of Google Home to compete with the recently announced Amazon Echo Show. When you watch the video below just pretend the narration is saying “Google Home” instead of “Amazon Echo” and “Ok Google” instead of “Alexa”. It works. This kind of device is a great fit with Google’s other services (e.g. Assistant, Project Fi, Pixel, Chromecast, Hangouts, TV). I expect retail products this fall.
Google Assistant will keep getting better over time and I expect Google will announce the latest round of improvements.
Google Daydream and VR
Now that Tango is a part of the VR team, I expect Google to talk about how VR and AR integration will work. It will be interesting to see if Google has any plans to compete with the new low cost standalone VR headsets for Windows 10. For use cases like education, these devices make more sense than the smartphone solutions. There are also use cases where folks want a Google VR/VA experience but do not want to invest in a Daydream compatible smartphone.
Android on Chrome OS
Google has been promising this for some time and has made some progress in fulling this commitment with several Chromebooks (e.g. Samsung Chromebook Plus). I expect an update on this effort and an announcement as to when Android Nougat will be supported by Chrome OS. I would be surprised if there is any discussion on the rumored Fuchsia OS.
Replacement for Pixel C
There is a chance Google will announce a successor to the Pixel C. Many feel this will be a Chrome OS device with a detachable keyboard.
Enhancements to G Suite
Microsoft surprised attendees at Build with a new app named Story Remix and some folks are stating G Suite is in need of a surprise. Not very likely, but we can always hope.
Chromebook releases beat to the rhythm of a different drum. We may hear more on the release of the Samsung Chromebook Pro which now up for preorder, perhaps a detachable keyboard device, but I would be surprised if other Google branded announcements are made. This is not to say there are not new devices on the horizon.
Fundamentally Google I/O is a developer experience. There will be lots of sessions on coding and making applications shine in the Google ecosystem. This year more than most I sense additional pressure from Google’s peers like Apple, Microsoft, and now Amazon. If there are pending leaks, Google has done a good job keeping them contained as the number of rumors is low.
The event will be live streamed at the top of this post and the complete schedule is available here.