For Google, its annual I/O developer conference isn’t just a place to show off the next major version of Android and get coders excited about building apps. Though that stuff is a big part of the show, I/O is also a chance for Google to flex its AI muscle and emphasize its massive reach at a time when every major tech company is racing to best each other in artificial intelligence. And with its emphasis on cloud-based software and apps, I/O is the most important event of the year for Google—as least as long as its hardware efforts are still such a small fraction of its overall business.
WIRED will be on the ground covering it, but until Google CEO Sundar Pichai kicks off the keynote Tuesday May 8 at 10 am Pacific, here’s an idea of what to expect.
Android P Is For … Probably?
Just like every year, Android will be front and center at the 2018 edition of IO. It’s almost a guarantee that we’ll see a new version of Android P, which was first released as a developer preview in March.
So far, we know that a lot of the changes from Android O to P have been visual in nature; notifications have been redesigned, and the quick settings menu has gotten a refresh. There’s also been a lot of chatter around “Material Design 2,” the next iteration of Google’s unifying design language. Material Design was first unveiled at I/O four years ago, so it’s quite possible we’ll see the next version’s formal unveiling this week. Newly redesigned Chrome tabs have already been spotted as part of a possible Material Design refresh, along with references to a “touch optimized” Chrome.
Chrome OS has been an increasingly critical part of Google’s overall platform strategy,…
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