Google’s annual developer’s conference would probably sell out no matter what, given that it’s where developers hear about things like the latest version of Android.
But because Google showers attendees with expensive schwag, the conference has become insanely popular.
This year, Google is even holding a lottery to admit people, rather than selling tickets on a first-come first serve basis, as most conferences do.
At 5 a.m. PT on April 8 through 5 p.m. PT on April 10, you can apply for admission, using your Google+ account and Google Wallet.
If accepted it will set you back $US900 ($300 for academics). It doesn’t matter what order you sign up, the lottery will pick attendees randomly, Google says.
Google I/O set the standard for attendee schwag over the years by giving away free Android phones, and free Android tablets and Chromebooks, including the high-end Google Pixel. Often Google gives each attendee multiple tech toys. One year it even gave away a strange thing called the Nexus Q, a hub that connected a bunch of home entertainment cables that could be controlled by an Android-phone. (Google quickly stopped selling it.)
Turns out, giving away goodies is a good all-around business move. When developers have the latest devices using the latest software, they will write apps. Since then other conferences have dished out the expensive schwag. Last year, for instance, Microsoft gave its developers an Acer Windows 8 tablet and a Surface PC.
People who don’t get chosen to attend won’t get the goodies. But they will still be able to watch live-streamed talks and join some Google Hangouts, and play some online games.