IndustryGoogle I/O: What to Watch for Android

Ben Deitch
writes on May 15, 2017

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From May 17th to May 19th Google will be hosting Google I/O, an annual developer festival where we get a peek at what’s coming next for a lot of Google’s biggest projects. As always, Google I/O will have tons of content for Android developers. There’ll be talks about Firebase, Android Wear, machine learning for Android, and even a trio of talks about “Architecture Components”. So if you’re curious about the future of Android development, be sure to tune in; most of the sessions will be streamed live!

With over 100 sessions packed into just 3 days, figuring out which ones to watch can be a bit difficult. So if you’re looking for a good starting point, here’s the talks I’m most looking forward to.

Wednesday, May 17th

Kicking things off, we’ve got the Google Keynote at 10am PST followed by the Developer Keynote at 1pm. These are usually pretty interesting. Plus, if there’s a big product announcement it’ll be made during the keynote.

2pm: You’ve got the choice between What’s New in Android, What’s New in Firebase, or What’s New in IoT (Internet of Things). I think they’re all good choices, but personally, I’m thinking the winner here is the IoT talk. Android O’s been out for a couple months now, so What’s New in Android probably won’t be quite as exciting as What’s New in IoT.

3pm: We’ve got the first architecture components talk. It’ll introduce a new approach to architecting apps that’ll make complex lifecycles and unreliable networks “fundamentally easier to solve”. It’s an awfully big claim, and I’m very much looking forward to it. If you’ve got the time, be sure to tune in to this one.

Thursday, May 18th

8:30am: We’ve got an early start with the second architecture components session, “Solving the Lifecycle Problem”. This talk will introduce a new approach to lifecycles and promises to make the ‘lifecycle problem’ dramatically easier. It’s not entirely clear how any of this will be done, but thanks to a tweet from one of the speakers, it looks like we’ll be getting some new code to help with architecting our apps.

10:30am: We’ve got ‘Fragment Tricks’ where we’ll see how Fragments can make testing easier and how they can be used for factoring apps. Historically Fragments haven’t been very popular; is that about to change? Probably not, but it sounds promising. And with the new architecture components… who knows? Maybe Fragments will find themselves back in the spotlight.

Also at 10:30am: If Fragments aren’t your thing. “Effective TensorFlow for Non-Experts”. TensorFlow is Google’s machine intelligence library, and if you know how to use the TensorFlow library, then you’ll be able to harness the power of machine learning. Even if you don’t have any machine learning problems to solve, I think it’ll be interesting to see what kinds of problems you could solve and how easy it would be to solve them using TensorFlow.

12:30pm: We’ve got the final architecture components talk about persistence and offline. This talk will outline a new approach to the persistence layer of an Android app and aims to give us ‘the full power of SQL without sacrificing compile-time code guarantees’. So no more running your app just to find out you misspelled salect!

6:30pm: Finishing out day two is the Android Fireside Chat. They’ll have engineers from every facet of Android, and they’ll be taking questions from the audience. I’m sure it’ll be a mixed bag of questions, but it should also give us some insight into the Android platform and how all the various teams work together.

Friday, May 19th

8:30am: The last day of I/O is another early one. Starting at 8:30am we’ve got “Android meets TensorFlow” where we’ll see how we can create a neural network inside a mobile phone. If you’ve ever wanted to do image recognition on a mobile device or maybe even detect eye disease, then tune into this one to see what’s possible.

10:30am: The last session I’m really excited about is about Flutter. Flutter is Google’s solution to the fractured mobile ecosystem; with Flutter you can have one codebase and publish to both iOS and Android. Not only that, this talk will also showcase how to use Firebase with Flutter, and promises to create a live demo during the session!

Google I/O is huge, and I’ve only highlighted a tiny portion of what’s available. If you’d like to check out the schedule for yourself, here’s a link! Also, don’t worry if you miss out on a talk; they’re usually uploaded to YouTube a day or two later.

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