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google io 2016
Alice Truong/Quartz
No Android to give away this year.
STUFF WE ALL GET?

Google I/O attendees wonder: Where’s the swag?

By Alice Truong

Deputy editor

“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:

YearDevice given away
2015HTC Nexus 9 tablet
2014Moto 360 Watch
LG G Watch or Samsung Gear Live Watch
2013Chromebook Pixel
2012Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphone
Asus Nexus 7 tablet
Nexus Q streaming player
2011Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet
Samsung Series 5 Chromebook
Verizon MiFi hotspot
2010HTC Evo 4G
Nexus One or Verizon Droid smartphone
2009T-Mobile myTouch 3G smartphone

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