Google I/O 2014: The likely and not-so likely Android announcements

BY Rita El Khoury

Published 23 Jun 2014


Google I/O will be kicking off in almost 48 hours, and we’re all getting really excited about Google’s annual and most important conference. This is where we usually see the evolution of past products and the announcement of new and intriguing ventures. This year won’t be any different, and from the rumors we’re seeing, the next few days are gearing up to be very interesting. Below is a list of what we expect to see at I/O and what probably won’t be making an appearance anytime soon.

Certainty: Android Wear

It doesn’t take a psychic to tell you that Android Wear will be launching in full swing at I/O this Wednesday. Ever since this extension of Android was announced, we knew that the first devices — namely the LG G Watch — would launch toward the end of Q2 2014, and that happens to be this week. We’re also expecting to see more details about the Moto 360, and maybe a third partner will unveil their own Wear watch. Rumors of Samsung joining the party started trickling recently, so they are the most likely candidates at this point.


High Likelihood: Play Fitness, Android design revamp

Google Fit — to be named Play Fitness — is very likely going to be announced at I/O. Not only have the recent rumors been getting frequent, but the service makes a lot of sense in light of Android Wear. So far, Google has only shown how to push data to the watches, in terms of stacks and pages, but as that recent video let us know, Wear watches will be able to run apps and collect data. That is the exact foundation of a fitness service that ties most of your health data from various apps or sources and shows it in a unified, Play-Games-like interface (and probably with the same level of gamification).

From “Hera” to “Quantum Paper”, rumors of an Android revamp are abound. We wouldn’t normally expect a major OS release now — these happen around Q4 usually — but the evidence is mounting up, namely in Google’s own I/O sessions with one aptly titled “What’s New in Android”. So there must be something new in Android, right? For now, we don’t really know how that will be presented. Will Google do a small release with a major redesign? Will Google give a sneak preview of what’s to come in Android in Q4, a strategy Apple has succeeded at for the past several years, and hence give developers time to be ready for that? Or will Google surprise everyone with a major release of the next L version of Android?

What we know for certain is that there will be a massive focus on design this I/O, and mostly on cross-platform designs thanks to these scheduled panels: “Cross-platform interaction design,” “Cross-platform design panel,” and “Cross-platform visual design and imagery.”

Possibility: Android TV, @Home, In the Car

Besides Wear, there are a few different iterations of Android that we should expect to see more of this I/O.

  • Android TV has been rumored for a while, and should be the reincarnation of Google TV with a bit of Chromecasting thrown in for good measure.
  • Android @Home has been put on hold for a while, but with Google acquiring Nest, and Android TV’s rumors, it might be time for Android to start expanding further into the home. After wearables, homes are the logical step, and we might see @Home APIs and SDKs being announced, in preparation for an official release of @Home later in the year.
  • The Open Automotive Alliance was announced in January, and we have yet to hear anything from it. Now might be the time to see some of the first fruits of its labors.


Quite Unlikely: Android Silver, new Nexii

As much as we’d like to hear about new Nexus devices — and I/O 2012 is where we got the first Nexus 7 — they are very unlikely for this year’s event. That rumored HTC tablet should be released toward the end of the year, not now. The same applies for the Android Silver program and its handsets, which won’t make an appearance until 2015.

What do you think is in store for us this I/O? What are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments!