Google I/O 2013 Preview – What We’re Expecting This Year

GoogleIO2013

Google I/O 2013 is just a day away and the search giant will soon be filling us in on what it’s been cooking up since this time last year. As you could expect, Android will most definitely showcased, along with Chrome, but Google will also likely have a few tricks up its sleeve that we weren’t expecting.

We’re going to break down some of the things we’re expecting to see at Google I/O, and be sure to sound off in the comments section below about what you’d like to see this year!

 

Android Jelly Bean or Key Lime Pie?

It wasn’t until just recently that we were expecting Google to unveil the latest version of the Android operating system, Key Lime Pie. The most recent rumors have scaled back on this prediction and have begun to say that Google will not be announcing Key Lime Pie, but an incremental update to Jelly Bean.

If Google won’t be announcing Key Lime Pie this year at I/O, it could be for a couple of reasons. Rumors suggest that Google is looking to give OEMs some breathing room before another dramatic Android update is unleashed unto the world. After a year, Jelly Bean only graces 25% of Android devices, and Google may be waiting for handset manufacturers to have a little more time with Key Lime Pie before it’s officially announced.

Another reason that Key Lime Pie may not be announced at I/O is that it’s just not ready for prime time. We’re expecting Android Key Lime Pie to be more of a dramatic update compared to the jump from Ice Cream Sandwich to Jelly Bean, so if it’s not ready, it’s not ready.

The lack of Key Lime Pie certainly doesn’t mean that we won’t see any updates to Android at all, and we could receive an incremental update to Jelly Bean that could hold us over. Every year, Google tends to update its own applications with new features and user interface tweaks. I honestly didn’t expect to see Android look as nice as it does today with the history of the operating system’s UI, but I’d expect that Matias Duarte has a few more tricks up is sleeve to make Android look even better.

We’ll likely see a refresh of some Google-made applications and new services like Hangouts (Babel) and Google Play Games, but the search giant has remained rather secretive when it comes to this version of the OS.

Nexus 4 Refresh

There’s a chance that we’ll see a new device announced a Google I/O this year. There’s also a good chance that it’s not going to be the mysterious Motorola X Phone that we’ve been seeing pop up recently. More likely than not, Google will unveil an update version of the LG Nexus 4. And who knows, it could even be in white.

The updated Nexus 4 is said to ship with LTE support, along with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 CPU instead of the Snapdragon S4 Pro that the existing Nexus 4 currently ships with. The lack of LTE support has long been one of the biggest complaints about the device, so this is a more than welcomed addition. Adding in the Snapdragon 600 to the Nexus 4 would bump the device up with the same CPU that both the US Samsung Galaxy S 4 uses, along with the HTC One.

Of course, the updated Nexus 4 will likely also ship with the latest version of Android, which we’d imagine will be Android “4.3” Jelly Bean. Like last year, the update could possibly go live for existing Nexus and Nexus 7 devices shortly after the announcement.

Those looking for a Nexus 5 announcement at Google I/O 2013 will be disappointed. Given that the Nexus 4 was released in mid-November of last year, we’d say that it will remain the lone Nexus soldier until later this fall.

Updated Nexus 7

Rumors of a Nexus 7 refresh have been swirling around for some time now, and while it’s not confirmed to be announced at the developers conference this week, the announcement is likely one of the most concrete “predictions” one could have so far.

The Nexus 7 is still one of the nicest Android tablets today at such a price point. The updated Nexus 7 is rumored to ship with a Qualcomm CPU instead a NVIDIA solution this time around, which I’ll personally miss. Nonetheless, we can also expect a higher resolution display, and possibly a rear-facing camera as well.

If we do see an updated Nexus 7, expect it to remain at the same $200 starting price point.

Google TV

Google TV is something I’m personally very excited for. The Google TV team mentioned on the Google+ page to “stay tuned for Google TV news at I/O”. So while we know something pertaining to Google TV will be announced, we’re still in the dark as to what will be announced.

Google TV is hardly an elegant solution. It’s seen it’s fair share of updates that have made it usable, but the Logitech Revue connected to my TV is hardly something I love to use. Luckily, Google TV boxes from Sony and Vizio have provided better hardware and interesting software tweaks along the way, but Google TV itself needs a dramatic revamp if it wants to get any genuine attention. If you needed a reminder, Google TV runs on Android 3.x Honeycomb, and in the latest Android distribution numbers, it held a mere 0.1% of the chart.

First off, Google TV needs a better base version of Android to run off of. The jump to Jelly Bean would at least provide back-end features like Project Butter – something that the oft-laggy Google TV UI needs desperately.

Google TV also needs a wider selection of applications and services. There are only so many applications available for Google TV, and while app availability it growing, it’s still nowhere near its potential. We still don’t know what the potential of Google TV itself is, but the TV market is something to keep an eye on, and hopefully Goog will put its best foot forward this I/O when it comes to this service.

Google TV needs quite a bit of tweaking, but I’d also like to see the platform have a focus on gaming. If Google could both revamp its TV service with a more approachable and friendly user interface while making your set-top box double up as an Android gaming console, it could stop upcoming, fragmented solutions that lack the Google Play Store, like Ouya, in its tracks. Frankly, I don’t think we need more consoles. We need Google to do things right, and Google TV, if done right, would not only make set-top boxes more attractive, but would make other gaming-only consoles rendered useless. Lofty wishes, I know.

Glass

Ready or not, Google Glass is on its way, and we’re sure to see some new juicy details about the device HUD this Google I/O.

Whether or not you’re interested in Google Glass,  it’s an intriguing device and we’ll begin to see competing products in the years ahead. Google Glass has a lot of potential and the search giant is hard at work unlocking it. We’re still very much in the beginning.

Honestly, we have very little idea as to what Google could announce for Google Glass. Of course, we’d love official pricing and availability, which we still could get, but we’d also love to see what else Google has in store for glass.

Applications could take center stage for Google Glass this year. We’ve already seen applications for The New York Times, Path, and Gmail, and there’s sure to be more at I/O this year.

 

Here are a few thoughts the IntoMobile team had to say about Google I/O 2013:

Kelly

I’ll be watching next weeks Google I/O with a keen eye on Google Glass. I love the idea of Glass and marvel at how it is testing the bounds of both technology and personal privacy. I doubt the product in its current iteration will make waves in the consumer marketplace, but that doesn’t matter. Glass lays down the groundwork for future technology that will cause a stir. I just hope Google doesn’t back down and continues to push the envelope with this product. I also hope regulators don’t meddle with the technology and let it progress naturally.

I also like to see some progress on Google TV. A few years ago, Google bought SageTV, a company that made one of the best DVR software solutions for home theater PCs. It also bought Motorola, which makes the television set-top boxes and DVRs used by most cable providers. I would love to see the convergence of this technology into a system that communicates with Android phones and tablets.

Google’s track record with TV isn’t so good, though. The GoogleTV was a flop and the Nexus Q was an even bigger flop. Let’s hope the third time is the charm and Google gets its right at this year’s I/O.

Ian

At Google I/O this year, I’m not really sure what exactly to expect. I’m pretty sure we will see a revamped Nexus 4 and Nexus 7, and probably a whole bunch of Chrome news. I was expecting to see Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie popping up this year, but signs are now pointing to the release of a new version of Jelly Bean instead, Android 4.3. I’m sure we will see Google unveil a new smartphone as well, but I don’t think it will be the rumored Google/Motorola X Phone. With rumors about the X Phone not really adding up, (and being a little unrealistic in my opinion) I have a hunch that Google/Motorola’s X Phone will be a line of devices at different price points instead of one beefed up “superphone” which most X Phone rumors point to.

 

George

Since last year Google did an incredible skydiving stunt to demonstrate Google Glass, this year I’m expecting no less than time travel. All kidding aside, I’m most anticipating some news about how Google plans to utilize that Motorola Mobility acquisition. Perhaps it can finally unveil the rumored Motorola X phone or maybe the company has some other tricks up its sleeves. Aside from that, the unveiling of Android Key Lime Pie would be welcome of course especially ahead of iOS 7 in June. Lastly, a look into the future of Google Glass might be beneficial. The technology has been met with pretty mediocre feedback and I’d like to see Google shed some positive light on what has the potential to be a total gamechanger. Nonetheless, after last year’s excellent presentation, I’m confident Google won’t fail to deliver for I/O 2013.

 

Charles

Well, it’s that time of the year again. It’s that special time where we all salivate over what Google has to offer us this time around. We’ve had a variety of rumors leading up to this point consisting of a new Nexus tablet and phone, or the unicorn that is the Motorola X handset. Of course, all of these things will not come to light but we’re expected to see some kind of jaw-dropping surprise, right?

I think Google will do the safe and predictable thing when it comes to hardware, as the search giant will show up with a new Nexus tablet and a Nexus 4 with LTE and better specs. The surprise will probably come on the software side with the debut of its new all-in-one messaging service Google Babel, Google Hangout, or whatever they end up calling it. I also wouldn’t be surprised if Google gives us a taste of Key Lime Pie. Android 5.0 would more than likely see all Nexus devices first.

I’m hoping this year’s Google I/O gives us at least half of the excitement we got last year with Google Glass and sky divers.

Back to top ▴