Google’s IO 2014 Conference will start on June 25 at 9am PST.
IO 2014 is Google’s biggest keynote address of the year. Google has previously used the event to reveal Android 4.1, the Nexus 7, Project Glass, and other flagship products.
Last year’s IO Conference was relatively boring. Google’s keynote address focused mainly on app updates for services like Google Play Music and Google Play Games.
This year, things are expected to be different. Google has been suspiciously quiet over the past few months and it will likely unveil new hardware, new software, and possibly even a new version of Android at this year’s IO 2014 conference.
Here are the top 5 things we expect at this year’s IO 2014 Conference:
5) Android 4.5 or Android 5.0
It’s time for a new version of Android. After KitKat debuted in fall 2013, Google has kept its next version tightly under wraps.
Android users are ready for their ‘L’ dessert operating system. It’s been nine months since KitKat. The next version of Android will likely be called Android 4.5 Lollipop or Android 5.0 Lollipop. Because let’s be honest, what other L-named desserts are out there? Lemon pie?
In any case, Google typically releases new versions of Android every eight months. We waited eight months between Ice Cream Sandwich and Honeycomb and eight months between Jelly Bean and Ice Cream Sandwich. Meanwhile, more recent versions of Android have debuted five months apart.
Android 4.5 or Android 5.0 will be Google’s main focus at IO 2014 and look for Android to blow iOS out of the water.
Rumored/expected features include:
-Cross-platform messaging similar to iMessage
-PC to Android video messaging and SMS, once again similar to iMessage
-Improvements to Hangouts
-Improvements to Google Glass compatibility
4) Nexus 8
As we get closer to IO 2014, we’re hearing more and more about the Nexus 8 tablet. Google’s Nexus 8 tablet has shown up on Chrome bug-tracking websites, which typically means that the tablet has been released to a select few Google employees.
The Nexus 7 is arguably the best Android tablet ever made and the Nexus 8 can only improve on that design. The Nexus 8 could be Google’s flagship device for Android 5.0.
Of course, there are rumors that Google will simply scrap the Nexus program in favor of Google Silver. That’s why a Nexus 6 is unlikely. It’s unknown at this point, however, whether or not Google Silver will apply to tablets.
3) Google Fiber expansion
Google Fiber’s is scaring the bejeezus out of ISPs across the United States. That’s good news because most of us hate our local ISPs.
Google Fiber may be the first ISP people don’t really hate. Google Fiber introduces fiber optic internet and 1000mbps (1 gigabit) speeds to households across America. Unfortunately, Fiber is limited to just three cities so far, including Kansas City, Austin, and Provo.
At the IO 2014 Conference, Google may announce further Fiber expansion. Cities across America have actively approached Google asking for fiber support in their communities. Expect a few cities to be added to the list.
2) Let’s talk more about Google Glass
Google clearly wants Glass to succeed. Every Google news conference over the past few years has featured at least some announcement from the Project Glass team.
Google’s IO 2014 conference will probably be the same. We may see a cheaper version of Google Glass aimed at consumers – rumors point to a price as low as $300 or $400.
Or, we could see the same old design changes and firmware updates for Glass. If you’re a Google Glass Explorer or wannabe Explorer, this will be exciting. The rest of us probably couldn’t care less.
1) A Google Watch?
Google has clearly taken an interest in wearable computing. Apple will likely debut the iWatch later this year and Samsung has already released the second generation of its Gear watch.
There’s a big question mark after this entry because we haven’t heard anything about a Google Watch yet. We don’t know if the Watch will focus on fitness or work similarly to Google Glass.
Out of all the things listed here, the Google Watch is the most unlikely. However, Google also has a history of being able to keep secrets under wraps when it needs to.