Expectations for Google's October 4 event in San Francisco were already big. And then Hiroshi Lockheimer, the company's Senior Vice President in charge of Android, Chrome OS and Google Play tweeted this:
So what will be so big that it will be reverberating almost a decade from now? A boatload of new Google hardware, and possibly some new software and services to pull it all together, if the rumors are to be believed.
According to published reports, here's everything Google may show on stage on Tuesday:
- Two new phones that drop the Nexus name in lieu of " "
- Pricing, availability and more details on , the Amazon Echo competitor the company announced earlier this year
- An video streamer
- A Wi-Fi router
- More information on , its new VR platform
- A new Pixel tablet (or laptop)
- And maybe, just maybe, that combines elements of Android and Chrome OS
Let's break down what we know so far, with the big caveat that most everything is still firmly in rumor territory -- albeit with some meaty leaks thrown in.
- Google is saying farewell to the Nexus name and branding the new phones Pixel instead.
- Independent sources claim there will be two new phones announced, dubbed the Pixel and Pixel XL.
- The smaller phone might have a 5-inch screen, while the larger one could sport a 5.5-inch display.
- They could be made by HTC and start at $650 (that converts to about £500 or AU$860), with the Pixel XL costing more. There may also be a financing plan you can buy from Google and an extended warranty, similar to Apple Care.
- The phones could come in three colors, according to Android Police: aluminum, black and bright blue. In the US, it's possible they'll sell through Google's Store and Verizon.
- Business Insider, Android Authority and Android Police also pin the two phones with more specific specs that you can read about here.
- Google already announced its Echo-like Google Home smart speaker back at the I/O conference in May.
- Housing its "OK Google" digital voice assistant, the compact, plug-in speaker will be able to play music on speakers throughout the home, turn on lights, check the traffic and, of course, query Google search.
- Google recently held a closed-door meeting attended by 50 participants including some of the biggest names in the home audio industry. According to Variety, Google encouraged attendees (some of whom have already worked with the company on Wi-Fi-enabled speakers powered by Google Cast) to build their own versions of the Google Home virtual assistant.
- We should finally get more details on pricing and availability on Tuesday. The same sleuths at Android Police claim the speaker will cost $129 (about £100 or AU$170).
Chromecast Ultra 4K
- A recent leak uncovered by Android Police previews the release of a new 4K digital media streamer called the Chromecast Ultra.
- The Ultra will retail for $69 (£55 or AU$90) -- double the cost of the current Chromecast dongle.
- The device would compete with new 4K video streamers from Roku, among others.
A new Wi-Fi Router
- Google may unveil a new home router called Google Wi-Fi that touts smart features that will extend its range beyond the capabilities of the typical Wi-Fi routers we've seen.
- Users can run multiple Google Wi-Fi access points at the same time to cast one large wireless network, according to Android Police.
- The same unnamed source told the site the router will be similar in size to the Amazon Echo Dot, the smaller version of the voice-enabled Amazon Echo speaker.
- The Wi-Fi router is said to cost $129, again about £100 or AU$170.
- The router would presumably be a successor to Google's OnHub.
- We'll finally see the realization of Google's virtual reality dreams in the form of its Daydream VR platform, first announced at the company's I/O developer conference in May.
- According to a Bloomberg report, Daydream is being built into the Android 7.0 Nougat operating system.
- The company is partnering with Samsung, HTC, ZTE, Huawei, Xiaomi, Alcatel, Asus and LG to deliver phones to make Daydream "the best smartphone-based mobile VR experience" on the market.
- Google's VR chief, Clay Bavor told us back in May that Daydream is "...night and day from Cardboard, in terms of the level of experience, the level of comfort, the level of quality. We intend to have the best smartphone-based mobile VR experience. Full stop."
Possible: A new tablet, powered by 'Andromeda'
- According to reports from 9to5Google and Android Police, Google will release a laptop and tablet powered by a new operating system called Andromeda, which merges Android and Chrome OS.
- Andromeda will get its debut on a Huawei tablet with Nexus branding, which is confusing given the previous rumors Google would do away with the Nexus name.
- But the Android Police report specifies that an "ultra-thin" convertible laptop called "Pixel 3" will supposedly release near the end of 2017 -- which doesn't sound like something we'd see on stage a full year earlier. So maybe the laptop, and the rumored Andromeda OS, are longer-term rumors that won't apply to this event.
What not to expect
- Don't hold your breath for the Project Ara modular phone with swappable parts; that's stalled so much that Google has pulled it off the table, for now.
- Google has also indicated that it's pushing its next big wearable update back to 2017. The consumer version of Android Wear 2.0 was initially expected this fall.