What to expect at Google I/O 2018

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It’s somehow already May, which means Google’s I/O developer conference is right around the corner: next week, in fact. The show is once again being held in scenic Mountain View, California, and with its keynotes, sessions and musical acts, I/O feels like a developer conference with just a hint of Coachella. Personally, we’re going for the hard news, and we expect a lot of it, even despite a recent, massive Google news dump. In anticipation of all that action, here’s a quick primer on what we know Google has in store for I/O, along with a few things we’re likely to see once the show kicks off on Tuesday.

Android P

Google’s latest version of Android is already available for tinkerers, so the broad strokes are well known at this point. Expect to hear the company lay out its vision of how these features fit together in greater detail. On a more mechanical level, lots of sessions are dedicated to getting developers acquainted with under-the-hood changes that come with Android P. If that’s not applicable to you, we’re also hoping to get an in-depth look at the new gesture-based navigation system coming to Android P (though it may be a Pixel exclusive) along with Google’s lighter, rounder new take on Material Design.

For those of you who haven’t felt comfortable flashing early software onto your phones, I/O typically marks the release of a second, more stable developer preview. These releases are much closer to full daily driver quality, and since we haven’t run into any major issues in the initial release, you probably don’t need to worry too much about taking this build for a spin. (Disclaimer: Please don’t install the second dev preview unless you’ve made backups and know what you’re getting into!) We aren’t expecting a confirmation on what Android P will actually be called when it launches, but we’ll let you know if the company starts serving popsicles.

The future of Wear OS

There was a time when you couldn’t escape Google-powered smartwatches, but those days seem mostly over. That doesn’t mean Google has given up though: It recently rebranded Android Wear as Wear OS to better reflect the fact that a solid chunk of its users have iPhones, and it baked new Google Assistant features into the platform for good measure. That Google is hosting a “What’s new with Wear OS” session at the show suggests that something interesting for wearable fans should pop up, but at this point, it’s anyone’s guess as to what new features Google has planned.

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