Google likely to use I/O conference to debut Android M, enterprise and cloud messaging updates

Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) will kick off its I/O developer conference on May 28 with a keynote from Sundar Pichai, the company's senior vice president of products, and he will likely unveil the next version of Google's Android software, Android M. According to the schedule the company released for the conference, the search giant will also be debuting new features related to enterprise mobility and cloud messaging.

The opening keynote for I/O will start at 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time on May 28, is scheduled to last two and a half hours, and will be Google's showcase for new Android features and plans for the rest of the year.

One major area that Pichai likely will focus on during the event is mobile payments. In March, Pichai confirmed that the company is working on a new API called Android Pay to ensure that, for banks and credit card companies, payments services as part of Android apps can be handled in a standardized and consistent way that can be scaled globally. Android Pay is expected to be one of the key features announced at the conference. Pichai said during Mobile World Congress that Android Pay will do things such as tokenize credit card details for security and ensure that authentication works. He said Google Wallet will be "a customer" of Android Pay but that it could support platforms like Samsung Pay or mobile payments services in China. Pichai added that it will support Near Field Communications technology but that NFC could eventually be replaced by other payment methods, including biometrics.

Also during I/O, Google will likely focus on Android in the enterprise. For example, Google had a session on its I/O schedule called "Android for Work Update." The description of the session said "Android M is bringing the power of Android to all kinds of workplaces." Google has since removed that session. However, according to a screenshot of the session taken by Ars Technica, Google said "this opens huge new markets for hundreds of millions of devices to workers at small businesses, deskless workers, logistics and warehousing jobs; all be [sic] empowered by adoption of Android devices at work."

Separately, a session on May 28 at I/O on cloud messaging promises to discuss "the next big things from Google Cloud Messaging (GCM), simplifying your mobile messaging and notifications solution."

Google also might be adding more voice commands to a whole host of apps. A session called "Your app, now available hands-free" talks about app inputs going beyond touchscreens. "What if you could provide users with a new method of access to your apps with little to no development overhead?" the session's description notes. "In this talk, we will discuss ways to give anyone access to their Android device through voice alone."

Meanwhile, a session on May 29 from Google's Advanced Technology and Products division promises a whole bunch of interesting developments. ATAP's most well-known team is Project Ara, which is designing modular smartphones that will go on sale first in Puerto Rico this year. At a session titled, "A little badass. Beautiful. Tech and human. Love and work. ATAP," Google notes that "the engines on Project Ara are revved. We're on the road to Puerto Rico."

As The Verge notes, ATAP will also debut its newest "Spotlight Story" during the event, which has apparently been directed by Fast & Furious director Justin Lin. The session description says the story will be a "live action short" that will be displayed in "full 360 with 3D soundsphere."

The session also promises a discussion of "wearables that we hope will blow your socks off. (We mean this more literally than you might think…) Our goal: break the tension between the ever-shrinking screen sizes necessary to make electronics wearable and our ability to have rich interactions with them. Why can't you have both? We like to build new things. Sometimes seemingly impossible things. We can build them faster together."

For more:
- see this I/O site
- see this Ars Technica article 
- see these three separate articles from The Verge

Special report: Smartphone OS rollouts: The top 5 items to expect from iOS 9, Android M and Windows 10

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