Dubbed by Google as the biggest event since the "birth" of its Android operating system (OS) in 2008, the company's latest launch will reveal new smartphones, the marriage of its two operating systems and updates to its Chromecast entertainment streaming service.
Fuelled by some rather transparent teasers, Twitter is rife with speculation and expectation. What can we expect, and what might be the business impact of Google's big play?
How "Andromeda" will work
After Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google’s SVP of Android, tweeted his now famous teaser hinting at an update of the OS, it would be no surprise if the long-rumoured merger between Android and Chrome is announced tomorrow.
The hybrid OS is rumoured to be called "Andromeda" and will aim to bring the best of Chrome OS into Android. At Google I/O, earlier this year, we saw Android apps made available on some Chrome OS products such as the Google Pixel C. Andromeda, however, is seen as a much larger initiative to merge Chrome features into Android.
What Andromeda will provide is the ability for Google to support a consistent user experience across different device types — from tablets to two-in-ones to smartphones — enabling consumers to access applications and services seamlessly within their daily "device mesh" scenarios. Google's ultimate goal is to provide one ecosystem for consumers across every device, possibly also addressing more productivity usage scenarios to make its platform more competitive against Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac OS.
The big question is whether Andromeda will be as open as Android, or if Google will take more control of this new platform. Android is currently open and customisable, but its version updates are left to vendors and carriers; this causes delays in the availability of the latest Android versions and features on devices, and contributes to Android fragmentation. It will be interesting to see how Google plans to make this work.
And there's more…
We also suspect Google will launch a 4K-capable Chromecast to beam a device screen to a display.
Together with additional accessories destined for the home and workspace, Google is likely to give more detail around its Google Home VPA speaker and its Google Assistant platform, we expect also the launch two Pixel handsets that are linked to the already established Pixel "supertablet" — the Pixel C. This points to a full re-brand and approach around the phone Nexus line.
Given that until mid-September the rumours pointed to a couple of new smartphones, the rising expectation around Andromeda is palpable. The industry is keen to see what Google has to bring to the table. Today's launch will not only be revealing, it will also help us to evaluate whether Google will be at the forefront of the battle for an all-encompassing consumer computing experience.