It's shaping up to be a big week for Android, the Google-driven software designed for mobile devices. At its annual Google I/O conference, Google is expected to detail the latest advances and preview where Android is headed, which reportedly will include a "Smart TV" initiative with Intel.
While Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) is best known for its market-leading search engine, the company has cast a wide net of investments in other technologies, all of which are expected to get attention at the sold-out Google I/O. In addition to Android, Google is also at work on another operating system called the Chrome OS, which is targeted at netbooks and similar devices, as well as social media, cloud-based applications and mobile hardware development efforts.
But it's Android that's likely to be the chief focus for a large portion of I/O. Google is expected to show a new version of the Linux-based, open source Android for mobile devices -- Android 2.2, codenamed "Froyo" -- that is significantly faster than the current version 2.1.
A new Wave of software?
The big news at last year's I/O conference was the unveiling of Google Wave, the company's cloud-based collaboration system. Google hasn't said too much about Wave since its beta release and just last month introduced Wave-like collaborative features to its Docs & Spreadsheets applications.
But Wave is on the I/O agenda, including a session on Thursday entitled "Google Wave and the Enterprise Environment." Wave is part of a Social Web track of sessions that includes Google's controversial Buzz add-on to Gmail, and OpenSocial, designed to aid the sharing of content between social networks.
Google said it couldn't provide further details on news announcements beyond the published agenda for I/O, which at this point does not include the identity or focus of the keynote addresses. A number of other sessions on Android and Chrome also lack any detail. The Chrome OS will be at the heart of a new generation of netbooks due out this year that will be designed to run cloud-based services rather than traditional desktops applications.
Several reports indicate Google and Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) are planning a joint announcement of a Smart TV platform designed to bring Internet services to televisions. Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO) has been an early leader in this area, working with Intel and a number of TV makers to offer widgets for a variety of Web services like sports, financial and weather updates. According a report in the Financial Times, Google and Intel will announce that Sony plans to bring out the first Smart TV powered by Intel's Atom processor that will include a number of Google services and a way for Android developers to bring their apps to the Smart TV platform as well.
Google I/O starts with a developer's Bootcamp on Tuesday followed by the main conference of keynotes and various track sessions on Wednesday and Thursday of this week.