Google I/O 2012 will kick off tomorrow, June 27th and run until the 29th. The three-day event will most likely feature Google’s future plans and products that would hopefully see the light of day.
Google is known for being a bit fickle: buying startups only to dissolve them or discontinue their services, and of course making major announcements that we often do not see or hear of afterwards.
Let’s take a look at what Google promised at last year’s conference and see which announcements were a bust and which actually made it to the promised land.
They exist! Kind of…
Android 4.0 a.k.a. Ice Cream Sandwich – when this mobile operating system was unveiled, Google promised that it would come out late 2011 to be the unifying OS for Android smartphones and tablets. Well, it did come out late last year, but unfortunately, very few Android smartphones and tablets were compatible for the OS upgrade, and the debut of new ICS handsets has barely made a dent. Though the latest Android smartphones and tablets run ICS, the market overall is still experiencing fragmentation – Android’s worst nightmare.
Google Music – They unveiled this service as Music Beta and after a few months, it was officially announced as Google Music. While it’s real, no exact numbers on usage have indicated how successful the launch was. Google faced a slew of obstacles with its Music initiative, including non-participating record labels, and has similar challenges with its cloud-based TV service as well. In many ways Google recognizes it needs to offer integrated media catalogs, but competitor Apple has a few years on them.
Chromebooks – These are ultrabooks running the Chrome OS, yes, Google has their own software for ultrabooks, it’s not a joke, and now they have Chromeboxes – the desktop version of Chromebooks. Not many people know about this, as Chromebooks are quite pricey and the devices were either made by Acer or Samsung, so when you see one, unless you notice the Chrome logo on it, you’d probably just think that it’s another Samsung or Acer laptop. Chrome OS is another project that’s lagged in growth: see here for the top five things Google’s OS needs to be successful.
Android@home – Google had big plans for a smart/connected home. When they introduced Android@home at the conference last year, people started to think that they’re going head-to-head with Apple’s AirPlay. And while that may be what Google had in mind, it’s still a dream.
While we haven’t seen any commercially available products for Android@home, the past year has seen its fair share of rumors regarding an entertainment device that accesses WiFi and Bluetooth-enabled gadgets being tested in some of Google’s employees’ homes. Helping along the rumors was the fact that Google filed a request with the FCC asking permission to test the device in 4 US cities, launching 252 devices total. Then there was the voice-controlled GoogleTV remote, which lets users transform their smartphone or tablet into a remote access TV controller, letting you turn on your smartTV when you’re away from home, or off after you’ve left the house.
The latest news for Android@home is that it will probably be released at this year’s conference together with the Android Jelly Bean or Android 5.0 OS update. Some are saying that the next OS will be made especially for connected home devices.
So let’s see what Google is hiding up their sleeves this year and hopefully, whatever they announce, will see more successes in the coming 12 months.