at the I/O schedule tells us about the future of Android

BY GreenBot Staff

Published 26 Apr 2016

I/O may be a conference for developers, but what happens there will have a major impact on how you interact with Android ’s other services in the near future.

The conference covers all of ‘s projects, but Android is definitely the star of this year’s show, which will be held in Mountain View from May 18 to 20. Some of the focus will be on better app performance design, which is always in dem. will also have plenty to say about how Android will usher in a future of virtual reality connectedness across your phone, car, television, other devices that may not even be here yet.

After studying the schedule, there are four key themes that emerge, each illustrating how Android will move forward in the next year what it will mean for putting your digital life in ’s hs.

Virtual Reality is big

has big ambitions in virtual reality. Cardboard is just the start, as there have been rumors of the company building its own VR headset indications from Android N about how the operating system will give more native support to VR. So set your eyes on the VR at session on May 19, which is hosted by Clay Bavor, ’s vice president of virtual reality (who also has a fascinating photography blog). Right now Facebook-owned Oculus is leading the VR game ’s frenemy Samsung makes the most popular consumer device in the Gear VR.

So expect to invest heavily to ensure the company’s services are where the Internet is going. YouTube, as an example, recently added support for VR 360-degree video. And the outdoor venue for I/O may not be a coincidence; it could be a showcase for all plans to do with digitizing the outside world.

youtube cardboard YouTube

YouTube now supports videos shot specifically for VR.

have more tangible evidence of the company’s plans for augmented reality with oject Tango. Two sessions are devoted to the technology, which empowers phones tablets to see sense the environment around them: one focused on gaming with oject Tango another titled, “Introducing oject Tango Area arning.”

novo announced at CES that it would have a first phone with oject Tango technology by the end of this summer, so perhaps we’ll get to see a near-final version of this. Either way, oject Tango is inching out of the lab into actual consumer products soon.

And let’s not forget about Android Auto. There’s a session titled “Android Auto for everyone,” which is all about helping developers extend their apps to the car dashboard. Android Auto has been gaining steam this year with expansions into new vehicles, which makes it a key piece of ’s strategy to have Android ’s contextual information follow you wherever you are.

Going global

Another session that caught my eye was, “Building for billions on Android.” d by a team of Android developer advocates, it’s likely to include strategies for making apps work across the wide swath of Android hardware. 

roid one phones

Android One is part of ’s effort to make Android the OS of choice in the developing world.

’s OS is growing strongest in what’s called emerging markets, places like India, China, South American nations where many people are just now getting their first smartphone. Usually such phones are lower cost than a flagship sold in the U.S., they’re powered by Android. That’s why sought to get directly involved with phone sales with Android One, though the program has had a mixed record.

In order for to keep people hooked into Android, the ecosystem needs good apps that will work well on devices that have lower computing power Internet speed access. It’s the reality for developers who want to build on the platform, it’ll be interesting to see what solutions offers.

Material Improvements

Material Design is nearing its second birthday, as first announced the design language guidelines at the 2014 I/O conference. However, even now some apps still haven’t fully embraced the look, which is probably due in part to how many mobile app developers put their initial emphasis on iOS. It also doesn’t help that, as a recent App Annie report revealed, the App Store earns almost double the revenue as does ay despite half the number of app downloads.

plaid app

The aid app is all material, all the time.

Day one has two different sessions focused on design issues: “Material improvements” “Discover the exped material design motion guidelines.” The former is to highlight all the tweaks to Material Design during the past couple of years, while the latter will give developers details on how the language has evolved.

Butcher, a design developer advocate at , will lead the first session. He’s one of the major evangelists for Material Design, which is highlighted notably in his Android app aid. These sessions should also serve as a reminder that Material Design is an evolving design language, not a static textbook. 

Speeding up Android apps

No one likes a slow app. doesn’t either, there are multiple sessions geared towards strategies for faster performance less memory usage.

For example, a workshop entitled “Android battery memory optimizations” is led by two rs who should offer good insight into this area: Ashish Sharma heads Android’s Volta that focuses on lengthening battery life. Meghan Desai works on Android framework battery memory management features for .

roid battery life

The less battery Android apps use, the longer your phone will last.

Then there’s “an fast: putting your app on a diet.” The goal is to reduce the size of an app’s A, which will certainly be welcome in an era where many phones don’t offer expable storage. Hopefully there will be some game developers in this session, as they tend to be some of the heftiest apps around.

There’s going to be a lot to devour during the conference’s three days, the entire team will be there for all the action. Be sure to check our live coverage of the keynote on the morning of May 18 follow along as we provide analysis of all the major reveals.