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I/O Begins, With Google's Mobile Future in the Hot Seat

Google kicks off I/O 2015.

Google

As Code Conference wraps up, Google is (lucky us) beginning its own developer conference. Google I/O kicks off this morning, with Android’s chief Sundar Pichai set to take the stage for the keynote.

Android remains well ahead of Apple in operating system market share, but still can’t compete on money. Pichai will certainly argue otherwise, and release some updates meant to bridge the device with Apple. He may also need to ward off challenges from Microsoft and Facebook, which have been luring developers too.

Plus, he may address the nagging fragmentation problem. Since last I/O, several phone makers, notably Xiaomi in China, have rapidly ascended with forked versions of Android. And Cyanogen, the Android alternative stripped of Google’s services now flush with cash, has kicked up dirt on this side of the Atlantic.

Of late, mobile’s been on the mind of the whole of Google, not just its Android and developers teams. The company recently admitted that, in ten markets, the U.S. included, mobile search now outpaces desktop. Lower ad rates and the popularity of apps are troubling signs for Mountain View.

Updates to Android will surely try to curb or reverse those tides, including continued measures to ease the transition between apps and the mobile web.

Expect a focus on the updates on the new frontiers Android landed in last year: TV, wearables and automotive. So far, they’ve seemed flat, but Google may share numbers to disprove that. And we anticipate some new developments on virtual reality and the Internet of Things — and aren’t discounting that Google has something else up its sleeve.

This article originally appeared on Recode.net.

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