“There is no giveaway this year,” the woman at the information desk told the disappointed conference goers.
Google is famous for the free swag it doles out at its annual developer conference, I/O. But aside from a welcome kit (containing Google Cardboard, water bottle, sunscreen, among other things) it handed out, there were no major device giveaways this year.
There were, however, stands selling I/O gear, including t-shirts ($25), tote bags ($20), hoodies ($45), and Android figurines ($15). And some developers discovered that certain sessions gave away free items, such as Bluetooth beacons—that is, if they could get in. Long lines, often hundreds of people deep, were a common sight during the three-day conference, which began May 18.
Needless to say, many attendees felt this was a letdown, especially compared to the goodies from previous years. While conference goers love to amass little trinkets, giving the latest gadgets away was a strategic move for Google, a way to stir excitement and encourage developers to build for these products.
Here’s a list of Google I/O freebies in the past, according to stories from CNET and Network World: