Google I/O, the company’s yearly tech conference, starts next week. As usual, all the new stuff Google has been working on for the last year will be front and center. Here’s a quick look at what we expect to see.
Android Q: Android is routinely a huge talking point at I/O, and this year will be no different. The Q Beta is already available on Pixel devices for developers and curious users to test, but expect to see more of what Google plans for the final builds as I/O progresses next week.
Stadia: Google’s upcoming game streaming service is something the company will be pushing hard this year (especially as availability draws near), so we expect to see a lot about Stadia. Hopefully, that will include some of the information that has been missing so far—you know, like pricing and model.
Pixel 3a/3a XL: These phones have been leaked into oblivion already, with full details, packaging, pricing, and literally everything else already out in the open. But we expect Google to officially unveil them next week, along with immediate availability.
Android TV and Android Automotive: Not only will Q get a heavy focus, but we’ll likely see Google talk more about Android TV—its set-top box OS that has been mostly kept alive by the NVIDIA SHIELD for the past three years. Android Automotive (not to be confused with Android Auto, which is a totally different product), will also get some attention.
Chrome, Smarthome, Assistant, and more: While the above list will likely be the most significant announcements made at I/O, Google will also probably highlight upcoming features in Chrome, talk about its smarthome products (including the recently leaked Nest Hub Max), and of course, Google Assistant.
In other news, Spotify wants to put podcasts in your playlists, Verizon is selling Tumblr, Mozilla bans certain extensions, and more.
- Spotify is testing playlists with podcasts: How would you like to have a personal playlist that also includes several minutes of people talking in between songs? That’s what Spotify is testing by throwing short podcasts into personalized playlist mixes. It just seems so weird. [TechCrunch]
- Tumblr can’t catch a break: Yahoo had it and did nothing with it, then sold it to Verizon. Verizon also did nothing with it, and now it’s trying to sell the platform off. I got five on it if anyone else wants to go in with me. [The Verge]
- Mozilla bans Firefox extensions with obfuscated code: Starting on June 10th, any Firefox extension that doesn’t meet specific criteria—including full access to the source code—will be disallowed in its store. [ZDNet]
- Pokemon come to Playground: You can now drop Pikachu, Charizard, Mr. Mime, and Jigglypuff into your world with the new Detective Pikachu Playmoji pack for Google’s Playground platform on compatible Android phones. [Google Blog]
- Mortal Kombat, Super Mario Kart, and Solitaire make it to the HoF: The National Museum of Play has announced 2019’s inductees into the Video Game Hall of Fame, with Mortal Kombat, Super Mario Kart, Microsoft Windows Solitaire, and Colossal Cave Adventure all making the cut. [Engadget]
- A guy swallowed and AirPod, and It still worked: Apparently, this dude fell asleep with his AirPods in and accidentally swallowed one. I don’t even see how that’s possible, but hey, that’s not what’s important here. What’s important is that it still worked. [9to5Mac]
Have you seen the Sonic the Hedgehog trailer? Lots of people have, and lots of people aren’t happy with how Sonic looks. The film’s director, James Fowler, acknowledged that people weren’t happy and pledged to fix it. Here’s to hoping for shorter legs and less weird teeth. As an aside Jim Carry as Robotnik looks amazing—especially the tease at the end. I’m into this movie just for that. [CNET]