So this week, Google published the Google I/O schedule, which is slated for May 28th and 29th in San Francisco, so just under 3 weeks away. There are lots of hints in the schedule about what we’ll see at Google I/O this year, including Android M being mentioned. Which shouldn’t be a huge surprise, as we were expecting the next version of Android to be previewed at Google I/O this year, and after L comes M. But what does Google have planned for Android M? That’s where the real speculation starts.
First let’s take a look back at Android L at Google I/O 2014. That was a huge update, in more ways than one. Not only did we get an entirely new UX and design, but it also brought the whole ecosystem together. With Android L or Lollipop, we got Android Wear, Android Auto, and Android TV all from Lollipop. So this year, most bets are on maturing last year’s huge overhaul. As most of us know, Lollipop is still full of bugs, even though we are 5 updates into Lollipop now, there’s still plenty of bugs.
Android Auto and Android TV might see some upgrades, but they might be pretty small. Especially when it comes to Android Auto. Seeing as those head units just went on sale about two months ago. Android TV on the other hand could use some extra features as well as more content. It would be great to see Google partnering with more content providers to get more content on the platform. It’d also be great to see Android TV integrated into more TV’s. Sony has already jumped on board and so has Sharp. Would be great to see Samsung, LG, and others jump on board as well.
Now onto the core Android, the version that runs on your phone and tablet. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say we won’t see a huge update, but it’ll still be a pretty substantial one. After Lollipop, we don’t really need a huge update, but a more stable update. I’d expect to see plenty of bug fixes, as well as stability improvements. Hopefully we get Silent Mode back, or at least an improved interruptions setting. We do know that Google is planning to allow apps to be controlled entirely with your voice, as we saw that on the schedule as well. Now this just sounds cool, but I’m betting that, that is more for Android Auto than anything.
Another feature in Android that I think will become a bigger deal is smart lock. Many of us don’t lock our phones. I know I don’t. But Smart Lock makes it easier to keep your device secure, without needing to put in a password a million times a day. Smart Lock allows you to connect Bluetooth and NFC devices to your smartphone. And while those are connected, your phone remains unlocked. In Android 5.1, there was a feature added where it could tell when your phone was on you and stay unlocked. Not sure how secure that would be, but it’s definitely a cool concept.
Whatever Google has to unveil at Google I/O for Android, you can be rest assured, we are going to be excited about it. As we always are. We will be at Moscone Center on May 28th for the keynote to see what Sundar Pichai and team have in store for us this year.