Google I/O 2016 – from Android N to virtual reality

Hexamob | Alberto Mulas 05/17/2016

A new preview version of Android N, but also updates on virtual reality, ChromeOS and Project Tango. The Google I/O 2016 will be -as always- a very rich event for news from one of the most innovative companies in the world.

One day before the traditional Google conference, the spotlight is now focused on the new version of Android, Android N. But since May 18 the focus will also rise on other news on which Big G (from Alphabet) is working. In particular, this year all eyes will be on virtual reality and Chrome OS in addition to the popular operating system for smartphones and tablets (as well as cars, TV and more). The real news, however, is the location: to host the convention will no longer be the San Francisco Moscone West Center, but the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View (California), Google headquarters. A large open space, where the Google I/O 2016 will stage. Here are the most expected news.

Android N. Most of the attention is naturally directed to Android N, the new version that many eventually called “Nutella” -and if so Google will also have a partnership with Ferrero similar to the one signed with Nestle for KitKat. A lot of features of Android N are already known thanks to the preview version for developers published in recent weeks. Among the new features, we found native support for multiple windows and Vulkan API. Certainly, however, during the conference more details will emerge, and probably will be an opportunity to publish a third developer preview.

Google I/O 2016 - from Android N to virtual reality 1

Virtual reality. In recent months we have finally see on the market the arrive of Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive, the two known VR goggles for PC. Thanks to them, this technology has found a new commercial way, which finds its conjugation also on smartphones and tablets -among others, and the great success of Samsung Gear VR certify that the public is very interested in the news.

This new form of entertainment (and others) has been developed very quickly, considering that the Google Cardboard was introduced only two years ago. In this regard, it is also rumored that a more advanced version of the cardboard goggles is coming in 2016, and who knows, we’ll see just at the Google I/O this year. Indeed, some even believe that the new Android VR is coming, a platform on its own that would add to Android TV, Android Auto and others. A portable VR system without the power of Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, but also much cheaper.

Project Chirps. The Amazon Echo does not exist in Europe but in the United States has had great success, so it is not surprising that Google is planning to make an alternative to it. It is a device to keep at home that give voice commands: is used to make purchases on Amazon, but also to listen to the radio, control the home automation (heating systems, etc.). The Google alternative is called “Chirp” in code, and whether it’s an object from the design similar to their OnHub router. A device to get in the house, to which we can say “okay Google, order the pizza” -or something like that.

Google Play on Chromebook and ChromeOS. Chromebook and ChromeOS are another of the projects that have found great success in the United States but were only half-heartedly welcomed elsewhere. In fact, several US schools have adopted this solution as a reference for teaching, favoring the spread. In Europe, however, few people know what Chromebook or ChromeOS are -probably because there still very little trust of online resources. To make the product more interesting Google has been working to bring Android apps on ChromeOS, and it seems that it is finally ready to make it official. With the Google I/O 2016 we could finally see a real new version of Google Play.

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Project Tango. We not very often talk about Project Tango, a project that plans to enter smartphone hardware and software necessary to make a real 3D environment scanning, collecting the necessary data and then play virtually the same environment. The idea, however, is more relevant today than ever, precisely because of the success and spread of VR. How many more people will have access to Gear VR, Oculus Rift and the like, as many virtual environments will be needed to meet all needs. In a few years, if things continue like this, we may want to use a smartphone to “virtualize” the home you want to sell or rent, and enable comprehensive visits even from a distance. According to Bloomberg, the Google I/O 2016 will show the status of jobs, while in June it will be the turn of Lenovo to unveil a prototype.

Google I/O 2016 – from Android N to virtual reality