Ahead of the 2019 edition of its annual I/O developer conference that’s right around the corner, Google offered a bit of a tease for the event during its most recent earnings call, hinting that we’re in store for a number of hardware announcements at this year’s event.
Normally, Google uses I/O — set for May 7 through May 9 at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View — to run through lots of software, AI-related and other Web-based announcements. There will definitely be a bevy of such news offered up this time around, including the expectation that we’ll get a look, if not a name, at the successor to Android Pie. Read on, though, for a look at some of the hardware introductions and other news Google is likely to make next week, as well.
This one is a no-brainer. All signs point to Google continuing its usual tradition of unveiling a new version of Android next week, following the first Android Q beta release in March.
The conference will run through the final official feature set, but the beta already points to details such as Google improving privacy controls, in addition to the inclusion of support for foldable handsets for the first time. We may also see a dark theme, a PC-like desktop mode for your phone and a Face ID-like face detection feature talked about next week, features that have reportedly been looked at as Android Q has gone through its development iterations. Hopefully, a quick release of Q will also follow last year’s release of an Android P public beta that came in tandem with I/O 2018.
On the hardware front, at this point the biggest surprise would be if we didn’t get to see the widely expected Pixel 3a and larger 3a XL unveiled at next week’s conference. “Something big is coming to the Pixel universe” on May 7, Google has already teased here, and a slew of leaks has already given us at least a preview of what we can expect from both of these devices.
They’ll both sports 12MP cameras, for example, along with the same two-tone back design, with the possibility of a headphone jack. The 3a will reportedly also feature a 5.6-inch screen with a 2160×1080 display, and a 6-inch screen with a 2220×1080 display on the higher-end model. Pricing and availability, meanwhile, are still a bit of a mystery.
There are also numerous reports that Google’s next smart display, the Nest Hub Max, could get an unveiling next week. This one is slightly more of a wildcard, since Google hasn’t exactly teased it the way it’s done with updates to the Pixel phones. Nevertheless, word is the device will feature a 10-inch display that of course supports the Google Assistant, in addition to including a Next camera that makes this a device for both video calls and the like, along with serving as a security monitor.
In terms of the “everything else” grab bag of possibilities, we could also be in store for everything from a WearOS smartwatch update to new details possibly revealed about Stadia, Google’s game streaming service the company announced a couple of months ago at the Game Developers Conference. Perhaps even more likely is a reveal of updates to Chrome and Chrome OS.
Look for Google to also continue beating the AI drum, something the company’s top executives like CEO Sundar Pichai take as many opportunities as possible to talk up — particularly its impact on almost every aspect of the company. I/O is a massive event that tends to highlight almost every facet of Google’s business, so suffice it to say there will be a ton of interesting news coming out of the event just a few days from now.