Google's biggest show of the year, I / O 2018, starts in a few days. In addition to the many developer talks, the show usually serves as a coming-out party for a bevy of Google announcements.
I / O was not necessarily your typical tech announcement event, where monthly pre-leaks show 90 percent of what is going to happen. But while we do not know what exactly is going to happen ̵
Android P Developer Preview 2
This first one is simple. Every year, Google releases a new Android Android Developer Preview on I / O, and Google's own schedule says we'll get a new "May" developer preview in the same month as Google I / O. A new preview of Android P is pretty much a lock. The real question is, "What do we expect in the second Android P preview?"
More Material Design 2
The first Android P preview appeared in March with a major UI revision. There's a completely new notification panel and quick settings, a new main settings screen, and many redesigned system UI components such as the disk surface, text selection, animations, and dialog boxes. In recent months, other products have seen a significant increase in Google's UI changes, with a new design style in Gmail, Chrome in Desktop, Mobile, and Operating System, Google Account UI, and Google Pay. the Android developer website and the new Google Tasks app.
All of these redesigns could easily fit in the same overall design style that looks like an evolution of Google's current "Material Design" guidelines. The new design has no official name, but Google states "Material Design 2" and "Material Design Refresh". Whatever Material Design 2 means, at Google we expect Google to formalize the new design style, publish design documents, and hold multiple developer sessions on all new changes.
Google likes to keep the I / O schedule vaguely in front of the keynote, but there are a few sessions that suggest that Google talks a lot about Material Design 2. A session titled "How to Integrate What's New with Material Design into Your Code Base." Another session will discuss "how UX researchers helped test, refine, and develop the latest material design guidelines." I will interpret the mentions of "What's New" and "Evolution" as references to material design 2 news.
In Android P Preview 1 there was a fairly clear conflict between redesigned screens and old interfaces that had not been touched already. Hopefully, in Preview 2, we'll be redesigning more parts of Android so that we're approaching a closed operating system.
In this update round, Android borrows much from iOS. In addition to the iPhone X-style Notch support, Android apparently receives gesture support. This feature seems to have been leaked by Google itself, who inadvertently posted a picture on the official Android Developer blog, which shows a navigation bar that we did not see before. The Home button was a pill shape instead of a circle, the Back button used an older design, and the button for the last apps was missing. This was the Android development gesture interface.
There's a lot we do not know about gesture navigation, and it's clearly still in development from the screenshot. Although it seems inevitable that it will come to Android, we can not guarantee that it will be ready in time for Android P Preview 2. It seems to be a big change for Google, and it's something the company wants to publish in beta
Google Assistant "Slices"
The first Android P Developer Preview included a new "Slices" API and we are still not sure what exactly that will do. The Android P developer documentation says a slice is "a piece of app content and actions that can be viewed outside the app," but that's pretty vague.
Sebastiano Poggi of app developer Novoda has dipped into the Slices API since its release, and he thinks the most obvious use for slices is that apps display their own content in Google Assistant search results. The interface with slice rendering is currently very incomplete, but the layout is similar to a Google Assistant response. Poggi has created a full slice demo app that shows how a Google Assistant interface works. An app would be a primary "slice host" (a slice-enabled version of Google Assistant), and many other apps would be "slice providers" and provide information displayed in the host app. So, ask Google Assistant (the Slice Host App) for Infinity War movie times. Users who have installed the Fandango app (a slice provider) can also use the Google Custom UI wizard instead of the search results, which allows users to quickly buy a movie ticket.
Because Google app developers need to set up a slice feature for their apps, the company needs to clarify what the Slices API is and how developers should use it. Google's biggest developer show seems to be just right. Again, the pre-Keynote I / O schedule is very vague, but the saying "Integrate your Android apps with the Google Assistant" may have something to do with slices.
An Android TV dongle
When Google ended support for the Nexus Player this March, it suddenly found itself without a device for first-party Android devices. This is very damaging to the Android TV developer ecosystem as third-party OEMs, as is common on Android, enjoy their time updating a device. If Google released a new version of Android TV today, exactly zero people would have access to real hardware. Until Google fixes the update situation of Android, every good Android form factor will require a Google-developed developer device with Tag One updates.
For Android TV, it seems like a new developer device is coming into a Chromecast-like dongle form factor. A dongle with remote control from Google appeared at the FCC in April, making it an ideal candidate for a Google I / O launch. The dongle has similar hardware to the $ 69 2017 Amazon Fire TV, which for a good developer freebie for those who would attend the show. Android TV seems to focus mainly on a form factor that is directly integrated into televisions, but there are also set-top boxes like Nvidia Shield and Xiaomi Mi Box. However, there really is nothing in a dongle form factor for Android TV. A souped-up Chromecast-style device with the full Android TV interface would be ideal for wall-mounted TVs and people who do not want to buy a completely new TV.
Nothing on the I / O schedule screams "We're making new Android TV hardware!" But Google's TV operating system has not been forgotten in I / O. There is a "What's New with Android TV" session that could end up with a hardware freebie.