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The countdown is now on until Google’s big event of the year – Google I/O, and experts are tipping the tech giant will reveal some major new software including a preview of the next Android operating system, along with a hardware surprise or two.
Here’s an insight into what’s expected to be revealed at Google I/O 2019 on May 7…
Android Q is the next version of the operating system that runs across Android mobile devices. The system has been in beta testing for over a month and is likely to be made public later this year.
However, Google I/O might reveal some of the new features that will be available. Tech Radar notes these could include:
• A system wide dark mode that makes apps offer dark backgrounds and white text
• FaceID style authentication
• Support for more foldable phones
• Additional privacy options
• Extra developer tools
• Bubbles (AKA messaging notifications akin to Facebook Messenger chat bubbles which don’t require users to leave their current app.)
In 2016, Google introduced its flagship Pixel smart phone, effectively leaving a hole in the market by replacing its more affordable Nexus.
This year the company might be set to fill that gap with the release of the Pixel 3a and 3a XL. Digital Trends notes both the 3a and 3a XL are expected to be mid-range devices, with the 3a rumored to kick off with a starting price of just US$450. That’s about half the price of the flagship Pixel 3.
“As such, you can expect lower-end hardware,” Digital Trends continues, “with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 processor expected in the Pixel 3a, and the Snapdragon 710 in the Pixel 3a XL. The design is reminiscent of the Pixel 3, and includes some fairly chunky bezels.
“However, both phones are rumored to include the same 12.2-megapixel single lens as the flagship Pixel 3, and that could be a huge selling point for the range.”
The hardworking Google Assistant could also be in for an upgrade, if rumors are correct. Digital Trends tips AI will be a major focus along with progress on its appointment booking capabilities, and easier connections to other smart devices.
On the topic of smart devices, the Google Home Hub that was launched late last year may also be set for an upgrade, possibly under the name of the Nest Home Hub Max or the Google Home Hub Max.
Tech Radar notes it will likely offer a bigger display, measuring 10-inches, rather than 7.
“This would make it far better for watching media, either while relaxing or during a task (like a recipe or cooking tutorial),” Tech Radar says. “Crucially, this version is alleged to have a security camera, which the original Home Hub omitted due to privacy (and likely cost-cutting) concerns.”
Google mentions something called Project Euphoria in the event rundown, which is designed to cater to people with speech impairments and give them “their voice back”.
Tech Radar explains it remains unclear what this specifically entails, but could be a new software app or a feature coming to Android, “probably powered by machine learning”.
And it may be a while away from going live, with I/O offering a glimpse into the future.