O event next week
Our Google I/O 2013 predictions: will we see Key Lime Pie, Nexus 5, X Phone, or a Google Glass launch date? Here's what to expect from Google I/O in 2013. See also: Google I/O 2013 keynote live video.
Between May 15 and May 17 2013, Google is holding its annual I/O event. In principle the idea is to bring together developers to work together to create better Google software. But like Apple's WWDC and Microsoft's Build, I/O is much more than a meeting place for geeks. Last year Google announced Google Glass at I/O, and you can expect interesting developments this year, too. Here is our round up of what to expect at Google I/O 2013. (See also: What is Google Glass? Everything you need to know.)
UPDATE: in an interview with Wired, Google Android boss Sundar Pichai said: "It’s going to be different. It’s not a time when we have much in the way of launches of new products or a new operating system. Both on Android and Chrome, we’re going to focus this I/O on all of the kinds of things we’re doing for developers, so that they can write better things. We will show how Google services are doing amazing things on top of these two platforms."
That pretty much confirms what we knew already:
The first thing to note is that Google is downplaying this year's event. Google Glass is still some way from being ready for market (of which more later), and it seems unlikely that Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie will launch next week. Indeed, Google has planned a shorter I/O keynote than in previous years. This year's main presentation will take place in a single three-hour slot rather than over two days as in previous years. But that doesn't mean it won't be interesting - and you can rest assured that PC Advisor will be there to provide the best coverage from San Francisco.
What to expect from Google I/O: new software?
All the major interest is in Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie. But the smart word on the street is that Google won't launch Key Lime Pie next week (although it might...). Expect a new Android, but an iterative point upgrade rather than a brand new OS. (See our piece: Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie release date and rumours.)
The reasons for this are multiple, but the main one is the enduring success of the Nexus 4 and Nexus 7 products. Google likes to announce new operating system software with new hardware. The Nexus 4 was launched only in October last year, so we don't expect a new OS and smartphone this side of the end of summer. But we might be wrong...
We do expect new versions of Google's software products Chrome, G Drive, Docs and Gmail. And there are exciting rumours about a new messenger service called Babel. Like WhatsApp, Viber, BBM and iMessage, Babel is a free inter-device messaging platform that uses data and not SMS.
What to expect from Google I/O: new phones, tablets and PCs?
Of course everyone is really excited about Google Glass. But it is unlikely we will get a release date. That shorter keynote and the fact that it's still early days in the $1,500 invite-ony beta trial suggests Google Glass is some way from coming to market. Indeed, Larry Page describe it as 'early days' for Google Glass in the recent Google earnings call. So unless he was misleading the markets, expect some news on Google Glass, but not big news.
As we mentioned above we don't expect to see a Nexus 5 just yet - unless Google springs a surprise and launches Key Lime Pie. It's more likely in our view that we'll see an update to the Nexus 4. In the absence of a new Nexus tablet expect a Nexus 7 update, too. Better specs at a marginally more expensive price is the word on the street.
This is a pleasure deferred, however: when we get a new Android expect a new Nexus 5 phone with market-leading specs, a 5in screen and a price to die for.
It's more likely that I/O 2013 will see the launch of the Motorola X Phone - the first true Google hard- and software device. Google now owns Motorola, and the strong rumours are that the X Phone will be the two companies' first proper joint venture. If it launches expect a 4.8in touchscreen and a Snapdragon 800 processor running at 2GHz. The word is this phone will be virtually indestructible, with a carbon fibre rear panel and tougher than Gorilla Glass display. A 4000mAh battery should offer extensive battery life, too.
There are strong rumours of new Chromebooks, too. Possibly two new Google laptops from major brands.