In less than one day, the Google I/O 2011 will begin. It is an annual developer conference in which Google is expected to announce its new products. Before the curtain raises, let us see some of the amazing things that we are likely to see.
Chrome OS Devices
In late 2010, Google announced a pilot programme to distribute thousands of prototype Chrome notebooks, Cr-48, to users in the US. It’s believed that some 60000 units were built and dispatched. In March the VP of Google’s Product Management said in his tweet that all Cr-48 notebooks were distributed and “we will have partner devices out mid-year.”
By the effort of the Chrome user community (particularly Chrome Story blog), it was discovered that a number of Chrome OS devices are in the making. Samsung will hold a press conference right after Google I/O 2011, probably to make public their Chrome OS devices. It is therefore reasonable to expect that Google will officially introduce the line up of devices to the world.
Chrome OS Commercial Release (and Enterprise Version?)
Google has never stopped improving Chrome OS. Being a Cr-48 user I can find new beta channel updates to the OS frequently. In April a stable channel is added, despite that it contains no update as of today it is a signal that Google is serious in producing a stable (commercial?) release of Chrome OS.
Traces of Google’s attempt to go for the enterprise market have emerged in recent weeks. There have been rumours that Google will launch a rental programme that corporate users can lease Chrome OS devices from Google with free software update and broken hardware repair/replacement. Besides, as discovered from Chromium OS bug reports we can see mentions of functions like remote control of devices.
A New Google TV
In 2010 Google released the Google TV platform which turns ordinary TVs into internet console and digital video streaming device. However, the debut devices by Logitech and Sony have not been so successful. After months of fine-tuning, it is expected that Google may table a new Google TV (let’s call it Google TV 2.0?) with the following alleged new features:
- No physical keyboard
- Ability to run android apps (or perhaps the merger with Android platform?)
- Better navigation
- More supporting TV networks and content providers
Google’s Multimedia Streaming Services
Firstly, video. In face it’s not a rumour but something already confirmed. TechCrunch reported that Google will partner with Universal, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros and other content providers to provide online movie rental service via Youtube. 3000+ movies are added to Youtube’s collection available for rental. Head to Youtube Movies to see more.
And then music. All Things Digital reported that Google will launch a music streaming service. But unlike the movie service this one is yet to get the support by content providers.
“Unfortunately, a couple of the major labels were less focused on the innovative vision that we put forward, and more interested in in an unreasonable and unsustainable set of business terms,” says Jamie Rosenberg, who oversees digital content and strategy for Google’s Android platform. (from All Things Digital)
Without license to provide songs of major labels, I doubt if Google could compete with rivals like Apple, Amazon and Spotify. One thing we should note, however, it that music streaming seems to be the next major battlefield. Apple may be preparing for a cloud streaming service called iCloud.
Latest Android Version (Ice Cream Sandwich)
Google has announced that the latest version of Android will be called Ice Cream Sandwich. It has been suggested that this is a move by Google to merge the tablet version (3.0) and smartphone version (2.3) of Android into one single version.
Among all things above, my major wish is that Chrome OS and devices running it could come out as soon as possible. If you have a choice, which one of the above is your most expected product?