Wireless Technologies

Google I/O 2016: What can we expect?

Apple’s events have largely become a chore. Gone are the days of “One more thing...” and instead we get slightly different sized iPhones. Google however, still has plenty of interesting little tidbits going on, and so here’s a preview of what you can expect at Google’s annual I/O event next week.

Google recently set up a dedicated hardware division headed by former Motorola CEO Rick Osterlohm, meaning there could be plenty of news about new devices.

Android & ChromOS

Updates and opinions on the Oracle/Google lawsuit over Android are likely to be kept to a minimum. What you can expect, however, is the official sugary name for Android N, plus what’s new in the latest version. Both Android Wear and Auto will probably get a bit of spit and polish, too.

Will Chrome and Android be merged? The WSJ suggested a potential unification of mobile and desktop. Expect some sort of definitive answer either way. Word on the street is that Google’s Play store will be coming to other desktops.

Virtual Reality

After the success of Cardboard, Google is rumoured to be making some big VR announcements. Android VR could be a possibility, as well as a more ambitious phone-powered headset and even a full rival to the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.

Phones – Nexus, Ara, Tango

A new, HTC-built Nexus is likely to be announced.

Project Tango, Google’s 3D world-sensing technology, could finally have a confirmed commercial device. Perhaps it will be rolled into the new Nexus.

Google’s modular phone – codenamed Project Ara – has been pretty quiet of late. Google recently set up a dedicated hardware division headed by former Motorola CEO Rick Osterlohm, meaning there could be some new information. No news, however, could be bad news for the once-promising concept.

Smarthome & IoT

Expect reports about trouble at Nest plus questions about Revolv’s recent bricking to be largely ignored. More news on its Internet of Things-focused Brillo OS is likely, plus more IoT goodies and updates from the likes of Thread and Weave. Some publications have even suggested a rival to Amazon’s Alexa could be on the cards.

Google Glass?

We know there is a second iteration of Google’s head-mounted technology, perhaps we’ll get some updates on what’s going on and the company’s plans.

A new messaging app?

It’s no secret Google has fallen behind – if it was ever in the race - on messaging; Messenger, WhatsApp, Slack, WeChat, Snapchat, Skype, et al dominate the market, while Google has Hangouts. Could we see a bot-dominated messaging revival?


Google Fiber is doing well, expect greater expansion plans.

Aside from Android Auto, we might get more news about the company’s self-driving car efforts and the recent partnership with Fiat Chrysler.

Project Fi, Google’s auto-mashup of phone networks and Wi-Fi could open to non-Nexus devices.

Project Soli, the hover-gesture controls, could make an appearance.

The smart-textile Project Jacquard may get an expansion.

Visual search app Google Goggles is rumoured to be getting a revamp.


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Dan Swinhoe

Dan is a journalist at CSO Online. Previously he was Senior Staff Writer at IDG Connect.

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