What to expect from Google I/O May 10-11th

Posted by Charbax – April 29, 2011

Let's have high expectations for this upcoming Google I/O developer conference to happen on May 10-11th in San Francisco, to be live streamed on the web. The Google engineers have been working very hard for months, even years, on a culmination of new software solutions that will likely dominate most of the devices to be found in the next years of Consumer Electronics tradeshows. Get ready for the biggest most action packed Google I/O event in the history of Google, read my following list of expectations.

1. Honeycomb to get open sourced. While the first Tegra2 based commercial Honeycomb tablets have been released and are being released, I expect Google will announce the opening of Honeycomb and Google's support to optimize it for all the ARM SoC platforms, all including TI, Qualcomm, Rockchip, Freescale, Marvell, Telechips, NEC/Renesas, AmLogic, all should be getting it! All must get it! If it's a long shot to expect Google to announce their support for all ARM Processors, them open sourcing it sure will make it happen anyways. I expect that several of these major ARM SoC vendors already have been working on Honeycomb for a while, and they all may start their announcements around Google I/O timing.

This is a big deal because it is the first truely tablet optimized OS ever made. See my video interview with Matias Duarte a product manager on Honeycomb UI design at Google.

2. Ice Cream Sandwich to be shown for the first time. One of the reasons Google said they delayed Honeycomb open sourcing was to provide an integration of the new Honeycomb features that can scale down to Smartphone sized screens, and that also means to certain previous Froyo tablets which may not either be totally compatible with at least the initial Honeycomb source code. Basically, it may be Gingerbread with Honeycomb's improved multi-tasking, improved widgets, improved web browser and more on top.

While Google will integrate the full optimizations for flashy impressive Dual-Core next generation super smartphones, I also expect Google to bring a light version of Ice Cream Sandwich suitable for Sub-$50 Android smartphones to reach 2 Billion more people around the world. See my initial video review of the $87 FG8 Android Smartphone that I found a couple of weeks ago in Shenzhen China.


3. Chrome OS to be released and open sourced. I expect a dozen Chrome OS notebooks to be released during the show, half of which to be ARM Powered, possibly using Tegra2, TI OMAP4 and possibly also the Qualcomm Snapdragon Dual-core, if not even more SoC to be demonstrated with Chrome OS installed. Google and ARM having optimized the V8 javascript engine on ARM, they should be achieving awesome speeds for multi-tab heavy javascripts and flash web browsing. Although that may require new optimized memory bandwidth on those processors for them to perform fast enough for all consumers not to notice any slow downs. The big deal is also for Google to demonstrate full offline functionality, even video editing, photo editing working perfectly offline and online in Chrome OS. They need to show very impressive 3D games support in Chrome OS. Other native code functionality in Chrome OS. They will announce the pricing schemes for consumers being able to buy those Chrome OS notebooks starting in June, price could be as low as $99 for a unsubsidized ARM Powered Chrome OS notebook, but they will unveil subscription plans at $10 or $20 per month to include HSDPA/LTE wireless bandwidth, the bandwidth that can easily be topped up for people who need more wireless data.

This is a big deal because it finally makes ARM Powered laptops a mass market possibility. Sure enough, Ubuntu 11.4 Netbook Edition is fantastic also on ARM, but Chrome OS will make Linux and ARM Powered laptops for the first time a reliable choice for the consumer buying laptops on the mass market.

4. Google TV 2.0 for ARM to be open sourced. This improved UI, with full Google Marketplace support. I expect it to work on all the ARM Processors, including even the cheapest platforms such as Rockchip, Telechips, AmLogic and more. I expect Google to fork two versions of Google TV, one Full and one Basic, the Full version doing all the advanced HDMI pass-through, overlay stuff and IR blaster, the basic version doing just HDMI out and WebTV only. If TV networks in the USA still want to block Google TV regarding it as their worst enemy and trojan horse, Google and Adobe will probably unlock full undetectable Desktop User Agent Flash support, making it impossible to block full screen Flash playback. Adobe and Google still may want to fight it over with the TV networks to get some kind of distribution deal still, but if their lawyers don't come to an agreement, Google simply will be forced to unlock full access that cannot be detected in a full Desktop class web browser on the TV. Expect though Google to announce Movie distribution deals with all the major Movie production companies, at least for the USA. I expect Google TV 2.0 to be released worldwide. Pricing to start at $59 for an unsubsidized ARM Powered Google TV basic box.

This is a big deal because it makes the ARM Powered Set-top-boxes a useful mass market opportunity. Easy video-on-demand on the TV can change how people watch TV.

5. Google's Social Network premieres. I am expecting them to come with the first really useful social network. Not some wall for stalking old high school connections, and not some for following famous people's SMS messages, and not just the types of experimentations that were Wave/Buzz, but something now really useful to the point people will be using it to find new colleagues, find new friends, do new activities locally and far away, create new content in new collaborations, be productive socially but also enable a new type of fun through social, once they succeed this is going to be a big deal and will make people wonder why tech bloggers have regarded so highly of Facebook/Twitter/Linkedin/Friendfeed.

What do you think Google will announce by the Google I/O conference on May 10-11th? Post your ideas in the comments.