This is a strange post to be writing, and I can all hear what you guys reading are thinking: this guy is complaining about Google I/O? is he nuts? Well, hear me out. Now, I wasn't lucky enough to get the chance to go there, being in the UK the flight costs alone would have been pricey but, I did watch every minute of the keynote live, as I do every year. As someone who has been interested in technology for as long as I can remember, Google I/O is sort of like a peak into the future of the Internet and in some ways, what technology is going to look like in the coming years. It would be wrong of me - or anyone, really - to describe this year's I/O as "disappointing" so I'm not going to. I think it was a fine thing for Google to focus on the technologies of the web, new services and giving even more power to developers, this was after all, a conference for developers. having said that, there are a few things that Google left out of today's marathon keynote. I'm not saying this because I am an Android fanboy, I'm saying this because I/O is the perfect place to show off new things. Let's go through the major things that we felt were missing from I/O this year.
A New Android Version
Well, this one goes without saying, a lot of you out there were expecting a new version of Android and the staff here at Android Headlines was thinking the exact same. However, there was no mention of a new version of Android. Now, Google did not leave Android completely out of the festivities, they focused heavily on giving developers new tools, including an easily managed way to beta test new code and of course, Google Play games.
Google I/O is the perfect place to announce a new version of Android, the world's media stares at I/O with intensity, and not just the tech media - news outlets all over the globe will be running stories about Google I/O. So, wouldn't it be great to show off something new? Of course it would!
On the other hand, this shows that Google thinks Android is now a matured platform, so much so they don't need to put new features into the platform, instead they focused on giving developers the tools to better take advantage of what we already have and for that, Google should be commended.
You can quite easily argue that Google I/O has never been a stage for product announcements and I'd be inclined to agree with you but, when you cast your mind back to just last year, and think about the Nexus 7, which was something that Google pushed more than any Nexus before it, and it's hard to see why they did not follow-up with a second Nexus 7. I can see why they didn't though, the Fall is a great time to announce a new line of hardware, just like they did with the Nexus 4 and Nexus 10 last year, I would not be surprised if October/November will be the time of year to start thinking about buying a new Nexus.
They did announce the Google Editon of the Galaxy S 4 that comes with stock Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and while it's quite pricey at $649 it's the first time that we've seen Google partner with an OEM to release an AOSP version of an existing product. A lot of people will be content with that and I cannot blame them, even for $649 it's a stunning device, what I did find interesting however is how people on G+ reacting. They believed the price should fall considerably without TouchWiz and the Samsung extras. Is stock Android really that boring these days?
During the Keynote there was no big news of Google Glass, unless of course you count the whole shower photo thing from Larry Page. This is especially poignant because Google have just rolled out their explorer program, and so you'd think that this would be the perfect time to show off even more of what Glass can do. When you see the negative attitude towards this new device out there on the Internet I really wonder why Google did not have more to say about Glass, and the practical uses that it will bring to our lives.
There's perhaps a good reason for this though, as I said above, Google just rolled out the Explorer Program and we'd imagine that they were still correlating data and getting all of the feedback they can from their explorers before they start working on new features or indeed announcing a general consumer release.
Well, It's Not Over Yet, Right?
No. Google I/O has not finished, and while the main keynote was today, there's nothing to say that we won't be seeing something out of the smaller events but, we'd be surprised, considering they are mostly for developers and not the press. If anything, this could mean something more exciting for Android, Glass, Chrome, Google TV et al because it could well mean that Google are going to be announcing news for these platforms on their own, giving them the attention they deserve.
What did you like the most about today's Google I/O keynote?