Google IO 2018 is starting in less than a week, with the event happening in early May, and it's sure to be used to unveil a bunch of Android software goodies and potentially even some new hardware.
We've seen the schedule for IO 2018, but that has mostly given us an idea of what topics it will go over during the event. Fortunately, we've also received a few clues as to what we might see between May 8 and May 10.
We've also come up with a wish list for what we want from Google's annual developer conference, which you'll find at the bottom of this page.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? Google's annual developer conference
- When is it? May 8-10
Google IO 2018 news and rumors
What will we see at Google IO this year? Only Google itself knows, but there are plenty of leaks and rumors out there.
We'll be at Shoreline Amphitheater in California (where the last couple of IO conferences have been held) to see it all unravel, and we'll be piping it all through right here and on our live blog, which will launch soon.
Let us not forget about Fuchsia, Google's long-in-development operating system that might unify Chrome OS with Android.
Might we also see an official name for Android P? Google has released the official schedule for IO, which seems to contain a picture of a pineapple upside-down cake, which is an obvious hint that the next version of Android could borrow that name.
Android Pineapple Upside-down Cake is a bit of a mouthful, but Android Pineapple? That could work, although it doesn't follow the sweet treat theme Google has used to date.
There's just so much potential for this year's IO. Let's dig into what we want to see.
What we want to see
Google IO is sure to include some tasty Android news, but that's not all we want from it. Here are some of our main wishes.
1. More on Android P
Google has already released the first Android P Developer Preview, for the truly daring (but mostly for developers). The developer preview isn’t the only place to spot new features for Android P though. Recently a new set of UI navigation buttons were spotted, showing the normal back button and a new horizontal bar in place of the typical home button, with the Overview button absent. These changes put the Android P UI in line with the iPhone X, perhaps as Google tries to cater to more phones with notches.
We hope to learn a lot more about Android P at IO, including when more users can get access to the in-progress developer preview.
2. Android P's name
Though we might not find out at IO, we'd love to find out what Android P will actually be called. Our only clue so far is a picture of a pineapple upside-down cake, found by The Verge on Google's IO website, and we suspect that might be a red herring.
But we probably won't find out, as Google tends to reveal this information later in the year, so it could be anyone’s guess for a long time yet.
3. Dive deeper with Wear OS
Google recently re-branded Android Wear to Wear OS, but we're still hoping IO 2018 will bring more updates beyond the name change. More apps, improved efficiency and better support iOS would be a good start, among other things. If some new wearables land alongside it then all the better, like the rumored LG Watch Timepiece.
Adding to your expectations that an update to Wear OS will show up at Google IO, there’s a session in the official schedule labeled “What’s new in Wear OS by Google.” Google has already launched new features in a developer preview of Wear OS. Features include a dark theme, and a number of battery-saving changes, such as disabling radios when the watch isn’t being worn and limiting background activity.
How much more we’ll see at IO is uncertain, but so long as Google keeps adding on features as it recently has done with Google Assistant, we'll be happy.
5. A VR push
Google got more heavily into VR with Daydream, announced back at IO 2016, and we'd like to see another big VR push at this year's event.
That could mean the announcement of new VR games and experiences or even some new VR hardware – though we wouldn't count on that, as a new version of the Google Daydream View landed in late 2017 and the Lenovo Mirage Solo just hit shelves. We could see more manufacturers jumping into the standalone VR scene, which we would definitely love to see.
6. Assistant improvements
Google Assistant is arguably the best AI assistant around, but there's still room for improvement and hopefully a new and better version of it will be announced at Google IO 2018.
We already know that this year Google Assistant is becoming impressively multilingual, and the ability to respond to assigned names instead of "OK, Google" is a welcome change.
There's a lot that we'd like from it, but perhaps most importantly we want it to get even better at hearing and understanding what we're saying – and being able to usefully respond to our requests.
7. Google Home software updates
Google Home in its various forms is a decent smart speaker, and we wouldn't particularly expect to see any new Home hardware at Google IO 2018 (though news that the Home Max is coming to more countries would be appreciated), but what we might get is improvements to the software.
Whether that's a more responsive app, compatibility with more devices and services, or something else entirely, we want it.
One thing we always like at events like these is surprises, and with so little known about Google IO 2018 so far, we might even get some. That's if everything isn't leaked in the weeks before it kicks off.