Google I/O is happening in just a few weeks. This annual developer’s conference showcases Google’s focus over the next year, paired with many announcements and sessions to help developers build better products using Google’s services and APIs.
Their schedule of sessions originally starts off small, giving a few scant details. Late last week the schedule was updated, adding many new events and giving a clearer picture of what we should expect. Of course, there could still be sessions not announced, as often one must wait until the keynote to avoid any spoilers. All of the sessions will be livestreamed, so you won’t need to be there to learn everything.
Everything begins on the morning of Wednesday, May 17, with the main keynote. This is the biggest event, where many teams will talk about their products. Big topics this year will likely be VR, IoT, Firebase, and Assistant. Things were originally announced last year in these areas, but there’s likely to be major updates after a year of maturity.
Android TV Sessions
Of course, we’re mostly concerned with Android TV, and there’s a session about that. Thursday, May 18 at 10:30am PST is a session called “What’s new for Android TV” which may tease some big announcements in the keynote.
Developers will learn what’s new with Android TV, from recent system enhancements that help users quickly access relevant content, to an overview of new APIs for developers to build apps for Android TV. This session will cover new APIs, features and also upcoming platform enhancements.
What does this mean? Android O is likely to be a big topic as well, with many new APIs coming for developers. Will this include many changes for Android TV? The last major update with Android Nougat, 7.0, which brought PiP and DVR recording, but little else specifically in TV APIs.
Something new must be coming, as they mention “upcoming platform enhancements”. This could come in a new version of Android, but it could also be accomplished through updates in the Leanback Library, which supports devices down to API level 17.
Additionally, developers of Android TV apps will be able to visit Android TV Office Hours, where they can talk to Google engineers and ask questions.
Interested in learning more about the new ways you can help users quickly access relevant content on Android TV? Looking to discuss ideas about building apps for TVs, or want feedback on your TV app designs? Having trouble with getting your Android TV app pixel perfect, or want to improve your TV media playback? Come chat with the Android TV team! Bring your questions and ideas; we’re excited to hear what you’re working on, and to discuss how you can build apps for the biggest screen in the house!
This happens twice: once Thursday evening and one Friday evening. These two events are not live streamed. They’re not strictly sessions, but rather looser Q&A events. Another office hour session is more about taking your app into many different platforms. It is called “Office hours: Design guidance on enabling your app for Android Wear, VR, TV and Auto“.
Want to extend your app to new platforms including Android Wear, Daydream, TV and Auto? Our office hours are hosted by Google UX leads responsible for Play Store, Wear, TV, and Auto and during 1:1 sessions, developers can get guidance on 1) app design principles for these new formats, 2) how to find balance between design consistency with existing patterns and coherency with the medium, and 3) how to apply Material Design patterns.
There is a new session which should definitely encourage more content providers to integrate with Android TV. It is titled “Android TV: How to engage more users and earn more revenue“.
Learn about strategies and techniques for monetization and increasing engagement on Android TV. Hear how new features such as the Google Assistant, recommendations, subscriptions, and more can help seamlessly drive users to your app content, to help you build a happy and engaged user base.
Mentioning Assistant indicates that a launch should be at or around Google I/O. The session is being run by Global Head of Media Apps Business Development in Google Play, Serge Kassardjian, and Business Development Googler for Android Apps and Games EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) Albert Reynaud.
Google Cast Sessions
Android TV is more than just native apps. It also supports Google Cast to let other devices quickly send content. There’s a session Thursday evening titled “What’s new in the Google Cast SDK“.
Enabling your apps with Google Cast is getting easier and easier. Millions of users press the Cast button every day to connect their mobile device with Google Home or the best display in their homes. Controlling your favorite media apps with your voice has now become a reality. If you’ve wondered how this is done or are an experienced Cast developer, this session will take you through all the details. We’ll go through our new receiver, new web sender and recent updates on Android and iOS – including how we’ve made voice control easier, added support for ads. Come listen to Kevin Nilson, Technical Solutions Engineering team lead for Google Home, share these updates.
Supporting ads could improve adoption and help content providers with revenue. Voice control is also a nice improvement, especially in relation to Google Home and Assistant.
There are also several office hours for Cast-enabled apps and Google Home.
Last year at I/O, Android TV made an appearance. They had a few sessions about porting apps to TV, one on Live Channels, and a small booth where they announced the Mi Box, Spotify, and a few other TV-optimized apps. This year, it seems like they’re placing a bigger focus on helping developers make deeper integrations into the platform, which is likely due to better maturity of the platform. We will be making sure our audience hears the latest news as soon as it’s happening.