Monday , October 23 2017

What we’re expecting from Google this September

It’s no secret that Google traditionally holds a hardware-focused event towards the end of the year. If timelines for multiple products are kept, then we are expecting an event before September 23rd this year, and that’s just two and a half months away. This year is shaping up to be Google’s biggest ever hardware event ever.

So what might we be seeing come September (or a little later if our math is off)?

Google Home
Following its anticipated launch at Google this year, the Google Home has to be one of our most anticipated hardware releases of the year. It is scheduled for released by the end of the year however, we will be very surprised if it doesn’t at least show itself at next Google Hardware event, if it’s not announced for sale.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 4.42.26 AM

We already know Google is planning on releasing the Google Home in Australia ‘soon’ after the US launch. Now, Google’s definition of soon could very well differ from mine and yours.

Phones

Google releasing new phones this year is almost a certainty. Firstly, this event is traditionally about Nexus phones and devices, and secondly, we know they are working on a Daydream VR-ready phone for this year, and finally we’ve had the specs of the larger Marlin leak out, as well as recreated renders of the devices show up (thanks to Android Police).

HTC Nexus

We’re expecting to see two phones by Google this year, a 5-inch and a 5.5-inch model which, if rumours are true, will differ only in their screen size, resolution and their battery capacity. If the launch follows normal timelines, we should see US availability in October with Australia getting the handsets not too long after.

The exciting prospect is that HTC is tipped to be manufacturing both models this year. The big question still surrounding these devices will be how will they be branded? Nexus? Google? Pixel? Something else? Will the OEM’s get co-branding? We’re guessing the answer to that won’t be known until Google wants it to be.

Android Wear Devices

Since the launch of Android Wear in March of 2014, Google hardware fans have been clamouring for Google to make and sell their own Android Wear devices. Until now they have not done so, instead by locking down the Wear platform more than Android for Phones and Tablets they have been able to maintain control of the ecosystem without the need to develop reference devices.

However, recent rumors have broken firstly revealing the potential existence of a Google-designed Android Wear devices and subsequently recreated renders of the potential devices. The two suspected models would provide both a fully featured and a stylish showcase for Google’s new Android Wear 2.0 platform.

marlin sailfish 2

Google finally entering the Android Wear market could signify many different things. Perhaps they don’t feel existing devices have pushed the boundaries of Andri d Wear and want to showcase the true potential of the category, ala the purpose of the Nexus program? Alternatively, they may be bolstering the Wear devices on offer to ensure the platform they started has a strong hardware offering to support it through its infancy?

It could also signify that Google is moving to become a larger player in the Android Hardware space, directly competing with the rest of the Android ecosystem. Sundar Pichai certainly indicated that Google would become more opinionated about their hardware, and would be offering differentiation at the software level beyond what has traditional been found on their devices. That said, Sundar was equally clear that they were not doing their own phones, so time will tell.

While we think there is a very strong chance that these rumoured Wear devices from Google will be included in the September hardware event it’s still not clear if that is the case. Google only recently formalised their hardware division under Rick Osterloh, so unless this project was already in the works it may just be too soon for it to be released.

Tablets

We haven’t heard any credible rumours about a new Google tablet as yet, however, a Huawei Exec from South Africa was quoted as saying that they would be involved with making a future Nexus device. Her exact quote was “We’re doing the Nexus again this year, by the way”.

There’s not a lot of room to move in that comment, and seeing as all of the rumours are pointing toward HTC manufacturing both phone models for Google this year some think/ hope that perhaps this indicates that Huawei is working on a Tablet device for Google?

The Pixel C more than meets the needs for Google to offer an Android Tablet, however, it is at the larger end of the spectrum so perhaps Huawei could be working on a smaller and cheaper device based on their MediaPad platform.

Chromecast

To be honest we don’t think that the Chromecast is in need of a refresh yet. The existing Chromecast (2nd Gen), and Chromecast Audio offer all the feature the platform currently supports and with no new features requiring new hardware coming out of Google IO this year it seems unlikely they will get a significant refresh.

There is an outside possibility that a ‘Chromecast Home’ device could come out to sit alongside the Google Home (seeing as it’s basically a Chromecast itself). However, with the Home not even launched yet it seems unlikely that Google would release a “mini” version of the Google Home alongside it at the initial launch.

Android TV

We did spot a refresh of the Asus Nexus Player passing through the FCC, however, nothing ever eventuated from that. It is important to note that the refresh was just a minor change to some internals, and considering how underpowered the Nexus Player was it would be strange to see Google relaunch that product.

Out of all of their new platforms, Android TV is definitely in need of careful attention and expert stewardship. Just like the Google TV platform before it, Android TV is stagnating with little development happening from either the 3rd party developers or Google’s end.

Whilst new hardware would be great a more hands-on approach to getting more over the top services onto Android TV may be a better first step. In Australia, none of our large TV networks have released a “catch-up” app for Android TV. As a result I now don’t see any Australian TV, this is something Google needs to be working on.

ChromeOS

Typically the release of a new Google ChromeOS device gets its own hardware event, and with the existing cycle for Chromebook Pixel releases we’re not really expecting a new device this year. We’re happy to be wrong but we’re calling this one unlikely.

That’s it for what we’re expecting to see out of Google this year. 2016 is definitely shaping up to be the biggest year in Google Hardware we have ever seen. If all of the rumours come true I think I’ve got a very Googley Christmas coming up!

What are you most excited for out of Google suspected product range? What devices will you be putting on your wish list? Let us know below.

 

Duncan Jaffrey   Journalist

Duncan has been interested in technology since coding "Mary had a little Lamb" in Basic on his ZX Spectrum. A fan of all things Android, most days you'll find Duncan trawling the web for Android news or quietly editing away on Map Maker.

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10 Comments on "What we’re expecting from Google this September"

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Ramiro Fernandez
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Ramiro Fernandez

“In Australia, none of our large TV networks have released a “catch-up” app for Android TV”

Actually they have… just exclusive to Sony TVs. Also they’re pretty bad.

Daniel Tyson
Ausdroid Manager

Hi Ramiro, these actually arent Android TV apps on the Sony TV, they’re apparently a weird web app.

Graham
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Graham

Can we just get access to this stuff in a timely manner here in Australia?

Phill Edwards
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Phill Edwards

Well then roll on September! I need to replace my Nexus 5X which has been a disappointment. And I need some sort of fitness watch and the current crop of Android devices don’t tempt me.

The thing that would get interested in Android TV is full catchup TV support for Aussie free to air. Don’t the normal Android apps work on Android TV?

Daniel Tyson
Ausdroid Manager

Keep an eye on the Nixon Mission, it looks pretty good in terms of sports Android Wear watches – but battery life could be key.

Android TV catchup apps are just not happening from everything we’re hearing – sucks, but there it is.

Some Android Apps work on Android TV, some don’t. Some have issues with rotation, some want touch inputs when there’s no way to input them. It’s a hit and miss type of thing.

Phill Edwards
Valued Guest
Phill Edwards

Yeah I signed up to their list to be notified. I get hundreds of notifications from them, but none of them have been about the Mission yet.

Fred
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Fred
Hmm, seems similar to my post of 5 days ago …. The things you didn’t cover : First, we know Tango is due to actually become something this year, and I’m doubting the leave it to Lenovo / Phatboy. It fits well with Daydream and the whole VR/AR thing, so I’d expect something to be released around then. Here’s an idea – swap out the rear of the new bigger Nexus phone/tablet for a case with Tango cameras…. Second, kind of obviously, Daydream, the visor and the controller, go together well with the new phones. It would be v. strange… Read more »
Daniel Tyson
Ausdroid Manager

Who are you and which post?

Fred
Valued Guest
Fred
Same name in the “Rumour: Google working on their own Android Wear devices.” story – pointing out roughly the same collection of potential hardware launches that would make for a rather nice event in September. As I say, not sure if google will go for one event – but given how much of a mess they usually make of low key launches, I can see them looking at combining the lot into an integrated package of launches. Oh, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a collision between Assistant and Auto pushed at the same time either – such that… Read more »
Daniel Tyson
Ausdroid Manager
Ok, never read your comment, so not sure how you’re insinuating this is a clone of your comment. Not sure what you’re talking about in point one re: Tango and DayDream but Google has no plans to integrate the two at this stage. This was clarified with them at Google I/O. DayDream hardware from Google will be coming in ‘the Fall’ whether this is a separate event or not as it’s a fairly major focus isn’t clear. It could be a separate event based on the inclusion of a number of partners releasing or announcing their own hardware. Chromecast inclusion… Read more »
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