GOOGLE'S ANNUAL I/O CONFERENCE kicks off later today, and the rumour mill has been rife with speculation regarding what we can expect from the event.
Google I/O takes place in San Francisco's Moscone Center and begins on 25 June at 5pm UK time. We've rounded up everything you can expect from Google's 2014 I/O developers conference before we bring you all the news from this evening's keynote.
It's very likely that Google will use its I/O keynote to unwrap the next iteration of its mobile operating system, expected to arrive as Android 5.0 Lollipop or, as later rumours have suggested, Android 5.0 'L'.
Android 5.0 is expected to introduce a major redesign, with leaked images and speculation suggesting that the user interface will feature a "flat, minimalistic" design similar to that of Apple's iOS 7.
Android 5.0 is expected to add support for low-end phones, including those with as little as 512MB of RAM, with Google looking to put an end to Android fragmentation. While it's expected to support affordable handsets, Android 5.0 is also likely to add support for 64-bit processors.
Fitness is likely to be a big deal in Android 5.0, too, with Google set to take a leaf from Apple's recently announced Healthbook app. This, although unconfirmed, will likely allow users to track their calorie intake, exercise and steps.
Google Babble is another feature rumoured to debut in Android 5.0, a cross-platform instant messaging service that will sync conversations from Hangouts, Voice, Facebook Messenger and more.
If these rumours are to be believed, Android 5.0 likely will start rolling out to devices this autumn.
Rumours surrounding the so-called Google Nexus 9 have picked up pace ahead of the I/O conference, with reports claiming that the HTC-built tablet will be unveiled at the developer conference.
Codenamed the HTC Volantis, the tablet will arrive running Google's Android 5.0 mobile operating system and reportedly will be powered by Nvidia's 64-bit Tegra K1 chip and have an 8.9in 2048x1440 resolution touchscreen display.
The device, set to mimic the iPad Mini with its aluminium design and skinny 7.9mm-thick frame, is also tipped to feature an 8MP rear-facing camera, a 3MP front-facing camera, optional 4G LTE support and 2GB of RAM.
According to the latest rumours, the Google Nexus 9 will be made available in 16GB and 32GB models, which will be priced at $399 and $499, respectively. A 4G model will also be made available, which is tipped to cost around $600.
Google has spent a lot of time this week talking about its Glass spectacles, but smart watches are expected to be another big focus at the I/O conference this year.
Google is widely expected to reveal some more details about its Android Wear operating system, and likely will show off the Moto 360 and LG G Watch devices for the first time.
There's also chatter that Google might show off its own smartwatch at the I/O conference, but we'd take this rumour with a pinch of salt.
Geoff Blaber, VP at analyst outfit CSS Insight said ahead of I/O's kick off, "We expect Google to provide more detail on Android Wear, including full demonstrations, details on APIs for developers and potentially the launch of the first devices with partners such as Motorola and LG.”
"Android Wear is a no brainer for application developers given its broad support by numerous device makers. Getting developers to commit resources to other smaller proprietary platforms or rivals such as Tizen is going to be increasingly challenging. Android Wear has the potential to become the defacto software solution for wearables."
While Google already has made a name for itself in the connected TV market with its Chromecast dongle, it's widely expected to show off an Android TV set-top box during its I/O press conference on Wednesday.
Android TV reportedly will run a custom version of Google's Android mobile operating system, and apparently will be powered by Nvidia's Tegra 4 chip. According to the Wall Street Journal, gaming will be the main selling point of the device, allowing users to suspend progress on a smartphone game and continue playing it on their TV.
If leaked screenshots are anything to go by, Android TV will also launch with apps including Netflix, Youtube, Google Play Music and Pandora.
Following Apple's recent unveiling of Homekit, Google is expected to announce its push into the connected home market during its I/O conference keynote.
This is likely, as Google's Nest Labs announced earlier this week that its APIs are now open to outside developers, and the firm also announced its acquisition of surveillance firm Dropcam. With this in mind, Google is widely expected to announce how these devices, along with others, will integrate together.
We'll be bringing you coverage from Google's I/O conference keynote today from 5pm UK time, so check back then for all the latest. µ
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