Google's I/O 2015 officially kicks off tomorrow at Moscone West in San Francisco. The annual developer conference is generally used to show off all things Android, but the Mountain View company likes to throw in a few surprises every now and again just to keep the tech press on its toes.
During the company's scheduled 2 and a half hour keynote, expect to see an array of exciting updates on the company's software offerings and maybe a sprinkling of new hardware for good measure.
Here's what I'm looking forward to seeing:
- Android M — Probably dubbed Marshmallow (at least that's where my money is), the next version of Android will be one of the main announcements at I/O. It won't be the radical redesign that Lollipop brought, but it is expected to bring some significant security and privacy updates, improved voice controls, and better battery performance. Fingerprint support is also coming to Android M, so manufacturers may be more inclined to embrace Touch ID-like sensors.
- Android Wear — Since Android Wear was announced, a steady stream of compatible devices have hit the market, some taking off (Moto 360) more than others (basically the rest). There's some evidence that developer sessions will focus on fitness aspects and little else, but wouldn't it be nice to have some hardware unveiled too? Plus, there have been rumors of upcoming compatibility with iOS.
- Android Pay — Google's home-baked mobile payment infrastructure anyone can build on will be a keen focus as Google tries to get developers on board and take on Apple Pay. It will be good to hear more about the company's vision for it and Google Wallet.
- Google Cast — With Google Cast for audio debuting earlier this year and the Chromecast due an update, I expect to see some stage time dedicated to the over the air streaming tech.
- Chrome OS — Android and Chrome remain separate, but are clearly moving toward one another. I want to see Google's grand plan for a cohesive mobile and web experience.
- Project Fi — Google recently dipped its toe into the mobile carrier market with Fi and, while invites are only now beginning to slowly trickle out to Nexus 6 owners, I/O gives Google a good opportunity to explain more about Project Fi and its long term ambitions.
- Nest — Will we hear from Nest and Tony Fadell at I/O? There are rumors floating around about new Android@Home-esque software dubbed "Brillo", but I'd much rather hear about the company's plans following its $3.2 billion Nest purchase over a year ago. Either way, Internet of Things will be a hot topic at I/O.
There's way more Google could, and probably will, talk about including Android Auto, Android TV, Google Cardboard and VR, a standalone Google Photos app, Android for Kids, Google's Advanced Technologies and Projects (ATAP) and any other crazy moonshot ideas the company is having. If tomorrow's keynote follows tradition, it will be jam-packed.