Android N, VR & AI: PC Tech Magazine’s predictions for Google I/O 2016

It’s that time of the year again when the internet giant holds its annual developers’ conference in San Francisco, showing off the cool stuff its army of engineers have been working on for the past months.

Outbox hub will be live streaming the Google I/O Extended 2016 (register here) from 7:00 PM each day for the three days of extreme “Geekery”. This is where those who were snubbed by Google, or were otherwise unable to attend, hold anything from a live streaming session to a hackathon. Alternatively, download the I/O app, that allows you to watch live streams for the keynote speech and major sessions, and will provide you with maps, reminders, the ability to organise your schedule, and more.

Google already went public with a detailed schedule of the Google I/O 2016 technical sessions. But what will be revealed in the opening two-hour keynote led by new CEO Sundar Pichai is a tightly held secret until.


Sure, we know VR will be a big part of it, as will VR and Android N, but what else? Let’s make some not so dumb predictions.

Android N will be announced and available

Some Android phone users are only just now receiving Google’s Marshmallow software update, but the yet unnamed Android N is just around the corner. To solve the slow adoption rate, Google released a developer’s edition of the software early this year, but there are bound to be some more features. Am excited to know what that ‘N’ stands for…


Augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and 360° video headlining

Virtual reality has already taken flight this year with the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, while Sony is readying its Playstation VR headset. You can be sure Google wants in on this heat too. Last year we were introduced to the new VR platform for YouTube, but this year should feature a lot more when it comes to virtual reality.

New Nexus Phones

HTC is rumoured to be developing upgrades to last year’s Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P smartphones. The new phones are thought to include some impressive hardware, with the new 6P rumoured to come with a Snapdragon 820 CPU and Adreno 530 graphics.

Nexus 6P and 5X
Nexus 6P and 5X

It’s also been reported that the 5X will come in a slightly smaller 5-inch form factor, while the 6P is also thought to have been slimmed down to 5.5-inches.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning will be made accessible to developers

Google doesn’t have a Jarvis-inspired assistant like Siri or Cortana for its A.I. system Google Now, but it’s one of the better systems on the market, thanks to the immense amount of data Google utilizes.

Now, it looks like Google is planning to port that system from the phone to a home device akin to Amazon’s popular Echo tower and speaker.

Firebase app development will accelerate and become cheaper

Firebase will get a lot of attention. It is a real-time database that provides an API that allows developers to store and sync data across multiple clients.

A broad range of mobile apps can be created using Firebase without building a backend application that, given the constrained supply of mobile developers, accelerates app development—especially with small teams of independent developers.

Google could offer Firebase at an even lower cost for more usage tiers, making it an economic first choice. Tighter integration with IDEs and build tools could make it a technical first choice, too.