Google I/O 2019 Preview: Android To Stadia, And Everything In Between
Google’s annual developer festival, Google I/O, is getting ready to kick off next week on May 7. While Google has kept a pretty tight lid on what we might see at the festival next week, we still have a pretty good idea of what Google will be showing off. Here’s everything to expect from Google I/O next week.
This year, Google I/O is going to be a bit different than previous developer festivals. In the past few years, it has been mostly about software, and the little hardware that was shown off, came later in the year. That’s not how things are going this year. As the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL are going to be announced at this year’s Google I/O.
Pixel 3a & Pixel 3a XL
The Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL have been heavily rumored since before the Pixel 3 was announced late last year. These are going to be slightly more lower-end smartphones from Google, but many of the same features and specs from the Pixel 3 will be available on the Pixel 3a. It’ll sport a 5.6-inch and 6-inch display on the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL respectively. Putting them right in between the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.
These two smartphones will also sport a lower-end processor in the Snapdragon 670. It’s not quite on the level of the Snapdragon 845, but it should provide better battery life, as well as better RAM management.
Google releasing these two phones at Google I/O is a bit strange, it hasn’t ever announced and released a phone at Google I/O before, even going back to the Nexus smartphones. So it’s definitely a big change for Google. And releasing these phones six months after the Pixel 3 launch, as well as having basically all the same features, is also a bit puzzling. But we’ll learn more at Google I/O next week.
Nest Hub Max
While Google did confirm in its earnings call this week, that the hardware team does have an announcement coming at Google I/O, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the Nest Hub Max will be part of that announcement. However, this device has leaked, and was even shown on the Google Store for a short time. Which leads many people to believe that this is going to be coming sooner rather than later.
The Nest Hub Max is essentially a larger smart display, using the “Nest” branding, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see Google rebrand the regular Google Home Hub as well. This has a 10-inch display, and does have a camera built-in. The documentation we saw on the Google Store pointed to the Nest Hub Max having a Nest Cam built-in, that is always on and keeping an eye on your home. Something that many may not be super excited about.
While Android Q has been available in beta form since March, Google is likely going to give us a lot more details about Android Q – along with the third beta – at Google I/O next week. This follows Google’s recent trend of releasing the first beta ahead of Google I/O and then releasing a much larger beta at the developer festival, where it can actually announce all of the major features that are coming in Android Q. And that’s exactly what we expect to happen at Google I/O again this year.
It’s true, we have already uncovered a number of features in Android Q, the majority of those features are pretty small. Like a few design changes to the battery icon in the status bar and such. Though we do also know that there will be a system-wide dark theme – which is currently kind of broken. But Google will go more in-depth with what to expect with Android Q. Most of this is going to be developer-related with APIs, but some are going to be user-facing features.
Google is also expected to open up the Android Q beta program to more smartphones at Google I/O. This is something that started last year with Android P, where it launched the beta for a number of other devices from other manufacturers. Like the Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S, Sony Xperia XZ2, OnePlus 6 and a few others. It allowed others to get their hands on the beta, and also gave these manufacturers earlier access to the code for Android P so that it could roll out the update faster.
In the opening keynote, Android Q may be a pretty small blurb, like it has been in recent years. But it will still be one of the bigger software announcements at Google I/O, as it typically is.
Google Stadia is a bit of a dark horse for I/O this year, since it was only announced earlier this year, and there’s still a lot of questions remaining about Stadia. Google does have a number of sessions on the schedule for Stadia, so it may not be part of the opening keynote on Tuesday, but we will definitely hear more about Stadia at Google I/O next week.
Given that this is a developer festival, it wouldn’t be too crazy to expect to hear more on the technical side of Stadia, and how developers can get their games ready for Stadia when that does finally launch – which is slated for later this year. Right now, there’s a lot of questions about Stadia, like how it works, and how easy it’ll be for developers to bring their games over to Stadia.
For those that might be unaware, Stadia is Google’s gaming platform, which will essentially allow you to stream and play games in the Chrome browser. This means that you’ll be able to play games on your smartphone, tablet, laptop and even on the big screen with Chromecast. It’s a pretty interesting concept, but right now, games are pretty limited, which is to be expected this early on.
Chrome and Chrome OS is always present at Google I/O, it’s still a big part of Google as a whole. But, don’t expect much, in terms of consumer products. Chromebooks don’t get announced at Google I/O, really the only thing to expect from Chrome OS at Google I/O this year, would be on the developer side of things. We haven’t heard a whole lot so far, about what Chrome might have in store at Google I/O this year, so when it comes to what to expect, your guess is as good as ours.
When it comes to products that Google is focusing on, Assistant is one of those big name products. Google is looking to get Assistant into virtually everything that you own and use everyday. Last year, Google introduced some new features for Google Assistant, like new voices (including John Legend’s, which only just arrived), as well as Duplex – which is what really stole the show. Duplex was able to call businesses and set up an appointment with someone, like a hair stylist or a doctor. It even included the “hmm” that we typically do on the phone. It was really impressive.
So what does Google Assistant have planned for Google I/O 2019? Well, we are definitely going to get some more features for Google Assistant. We might also get some expansion when it comes to Duplex, seeing as that is only available in a handful of markets and a handful of businesses right now. Google Assistant will also likely get more seamless integrations with apps and other services, though it does have plenty of those already.
One thing is for sure, it’s going to continue to get updated, as Google looks to push it into every way of our lives. Soon, Google Assistant will be the only thing that we use.
Google I/O is the company’s biggest event of the year. It’s essentially where we find out what Google has been working on all year, and what to expect later this year. Google typically previews things like new Google Home hardware and new versions of Android, which will come later in the year. Typically, we don’t get a lot of things that we can take home from Google I/O, or purchase after Google I/O, but that is changing this year with the Pixel 3a. And possibly with the Nest Hub Max, if that does get announced next week.
If you’re interested in watching Google I/O, and can’t make it to Mountain View, you can watch the live streams on Google Developers’ YouTube channel. The opening keynote starts at 10AM PDT on Tuesday, May 7. The developer festival will last until May 9. Many of the sessions will also be livestreamed, but if you’re not a developer, you may find them a bit boring – fair warning. If you are just interested in seeing what Google has in store for 2019, then the opening keynote is the one to watch.
It’s a pretty exciting three days, especially if you are a big Google fan. As you’re going to get to see what Google has planned for the future. Some of it may be pretty cool, while some of it may also be pretty creepy. But with a company as big as Google, that can’t be a huge surprise.
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