Google I/O 2014: What to expect from the annual developer conference
The mighty Google has sent out the invites and is about ready to kick off its annual developer conference, Google I/O, this week. The event will start on 25 June and feature plenty of announcements.
From what we know so far, rumours and what we've been told there's plenty to look forward to. It's looking like not only software this year but plenty of hardware to be unveiled too.
From Android Wear smartwatches to new Nexus tablets and even the latest Android L operating system, 2014 Google I/O could be the best yet.
Android 5.0 Lollipop
Google will almost certainly announce, unveil or at least tease its new Android operating system. In keeping with tradition it will be the next letter in the alphabet after KitKat giving us L. Since sweet names are also tradition the name "Lollipop" is being punted about.
Android is generally updated between every five and eight months. It's been nine months since the latest KitKat OS was announced.
As Google merges the world of mobile phones and smartwatches with its Android Wear platform it's also expected to unify tablets and even computers, via Chrome. This new OS may do just that. Apple has already merged its platforms more with the latest iOS 8 and Mac OS X Yosemite announcements.
Google Android Wear watches
Google's Android Wear platform has already been announced, without too much detail. A few partner watches have also been revealed including the Moto 360 and LG G Watch.
At Google I/O we expect a full launch of Android Wear with far more detail both on the operating system itself and on launch partners. Watches are also expected from Samsung, HTC, Asus and more. There may be a Google made Nexus watch although we wouldn't expect that to arrive initially as it may tred on the toes of its competitors. Since Google owns Motorola's Moto 360 that will do for now.
Google Nexus 10
The latest in the line of Nexus 10 tablets is expected to arrive as an answer to Apple's latest iPad Air.
The Nexus 10 tablet, made by Samsung last year, may come from a different manufacturer this year after Samsung recently launched its Galaxy Tab 10.1. LG and Asus, who have made hardware for Google before, would be the obvious choices.
Asus is rumoured to be working on the Nexus this year. The Nexus 10 is rumoured to arrive with a "high performance" screen suggesting UHD. To compete with the Amazon Fire HDX that would mean a resolution of 2560 x 1600.
HTC Nexus 8 (Volantis/Flounder)
The HTC made Nexus 8, codenamed Volantis or Flounder, has been leaking plenty ahead of Google I/O.
The HTC made Nexus 8 should feature an 8.9-inch screen with a 2048 x 1440 resolution for 281ppi. It'll be powered by an Nvidia Logan 64-bit Tegra K1 processor backed by 2GB of RAM.
The tablet should come sporting two cameras, 8-megapixels of OIS shooting glory on the back and 3-megapixels on the front. With 16GB and 32GB storage options cramming pics in shouldn't be an issue.
On the design side of things the Nexus 8 is expected to be an aluminium "zero-gap" construction. It'll feature front-facing stereo speakers crammed into the 418g, 7.8mm thin body.
The HTC Nexus 8 should arrive with the latest Android L OS. Rumoured prices go from $399 for the 16GB version and $499 for the 32GB model to $600 for an LTE version.
Google Project Tango tablets
Google's Advanced Technology and Projects group, who are behind Project Tango, released a phone prototype in February that has already got developers making apps. From helping the visually impaired navigate indoors to 3D scanning objects or creating augmented reality gaming worlds, the possibilities are vast.
Now it is expected to give a release date for its developer kit tablets, which are powered by the Nvidia Tegra K1 processor, at Google I/O. That means 192 GPU cores for processing all the special data.
Armed with two back cameras, infrared depth sensors and advanced three-dimensional capture software these devices map the world. They are the solution to indoor mapping and directions, which are currently not possible with GPS.
Google is rumoured to be announcing Project Tango tablet release dates at Google I/O. It should be priced at $1024.
Google Project Ara
The last smartphone you ever buy could be given more details, including a price and fixed released date, at Google I/O.
Google's modular Ara smartphone, which lets users slip upgrades in when they need them, is expected to get plenty of attention. Hopefully we'll hear more about partners like 3D Systems who should allow users to print off parts' backs.
Sennheiser is another partner who has been announced. It will create high-quality audio modules for audiophiles that want to upgrade their phone for the best sound. More details on this would be a welcome part of Google I/O
At the moment Project Ara is expected to arrive in January. But how that will be sold, or for how much, isn't clear. Here's hoping Google I/O clears that up.
Google Auto Link in-car system
Google is expected to make a play for the car with its own in-car system called Auto Link to rival Apple's CarPlay.
With Google Maps already integrated this is an attractive prospect when compared with the sketchy Apple Maps offering. Google Auto Link, as it's rumoured to be called, is apparently built by Google's Open Automotive Alliance made up for Google, Audi, GM, Honda, Hyundai and Nvidia.
Google Auto Link is not an embedded infotainment system like Apple's CarPlay, or a true operating system, but rather a "projected" system that allows users to control their Android devices via car controls, according to rumours.