What I expect to see at Google I/O


google-io-2013-logoWith just ten days left for Google I/O to kick off, I can hardly contain my excitement. This edition will be the first time I’ll be attending, and I will also be at the Google Developer Group Summit prior to the event.

So, what am I expecting to see at I/O this year?

Big news regarding Chrome and Android

When the agenda for I/O was announced, the change from the typical two keynotes to only one this time got a lot of attention. My belief is that this probably has to do with Chrome and Android coming closer together strategically. Typically, Day 1 keynotes have been about Android and Day 2 about Chrome, besides other announcements. Other signs have pointed towards a coming together of the two platforms, such as the Chrome-styled Android statue, following which we saw Sundar Pichai add the title of Senior Vice President of Android to his roles of Chrome and Google Apps.

It could simply have been scheduled so that Sundar’s two keynotes are on the same day. However, with a significant number of developer sessions that match a mobile web theme, I think we should be seeing some news regarding improved performance at least. Google Now on Chrome for desktops should make an appearance, too, and so should Babel.

Bluetooth Low Energy

There have been rumors in the last day or two that Bluetooth Low Energy support would be added to the next iteration of Android, with HTC supposedly having “leaked” the feature ahead of the release. HTC have come out and said that they are not hinting at anything unannounced, but Low Energy support makes a lot of sense since Google Glass connects to the user’s Android device over Bluetooth, and so do other connected peripherals such as smartwatches. Which reminds me, I’m hoping for a Google Watch, too.

Game Center for Android

Rumors surfaced in the middle of April that Google would be launching a Game Center-like service for Android, and separately we heard about a recent hire for a “Chief Game Designer at Google Play“. A number of sessions, particularly on Day 1, are on mobile gaming with one of them (that I believe was added only today, though I’m not certain) dedicated for multiplayer support. With Android forming the base for upcoming gaming devices such as Ouya and Nvidia’s Project Shield, Game Center seems a question of when and not if.


The Motorola X Phone is without doubt what everyone wants to see at I/O, and though the belief is that the device will only hit shelves in July or August. However, I’m still confident about seeing it next week. Nothing that I have mentioned so far has been a showstopper, and after the Google Glass antics of last year, sounds a little underwhelming. If the X Phone offers all the customization it is rumored to, that problem would be solved. We might not see them given away to attendees, though I cannot completely rule it out considering Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 was given away in 2011 before the customer release.

The Nexus 7 should see a refresh with it’s screen now an eyesore in comparison to the other Google devices such as the Nexus 4, Nexus 10 and Chromebook Pixel. There should be some news from the Google TV side of things, too, but I’m not holding my breath. Ideally, I’d like to see a box with Miracast.

I will be sharing my experience from my trip half way across the planet as regularly as I can via posts on Phandroid, though I suggest circling me on Google+ and following me on Twitter.

Raveesh Bhalla

Uniquely Android: Mac Remote

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  1. I’m expecting Google+ to be a big focus this year – maybe not as standalone announcements, but as a key part of the other services being announced (Babel, Game Center, whatever’s new in Android). It’s about time the APIs got fleshed out as well, read access to nearly all G+ data is essential at this point.

  2. I want a new Nexus phone announced. About time to upgrade my Galaxy Nexus so really looking for a new Nexus phone to upgrade to

    1. I don’t think nexus phones have ever been announced at i/o…..they generally appear around november/december.
      Also, no leaks regarding a new nexus phone have been seen, so unlikely.

      The only nexus announcements they are more likely to make are nexus 7 and 10 refreshes.

      Then again they can always do something different :)

      1. I’m with you. I’m not expecting a X phone announcement.

        1. Really? Im expecting X Phone, but not a Nexus

          1. Why would they do that though? It just doesn’t make sense. They’ve been doing yearly refreshes for so long now.

          2. That is true. But the Nexus phone is never introduced at I/O but rather at a later time

          3. I think moto will announce the x not google

          4. I also think Moto will make the announcement. Google still doesn’t want to alienate it’s other OEMs. Also since the X-Phone won’t be a stock Android device but a “nearly stock” Android device it wouldn’t make sense for Google to announce it.

          5. what to expect when you’re expecting…

      2. I really hope not as a N4 user I would be pretty annoyed if there would already be a new device 6 months later. I think Apple nailed it with a 12 month cycle.

        1. Look what happened with the iPad 3 and iPad 4.

        2. Exactly. I’ll upgrade when its been a year unless the x phone isn’t impressive (which I’m sure it will be). The N4 is a beautiful phone anyways. I can’t complain one bit. Running PA makes it a dream.

    2. Just go with the better hardware on a phone like the Note 3 and root it.

      1. That better hardware is not worth an extra 300-350USD at all.

        1. Actually, it will be. Exynos 5 Octa core overclocked to perhaps 2 GHz, a 13 MP Camera with good hardware and software (unlike Nexus devices), LTE, a micro SD slot, removable battery, a back that won’t shatter easily, a better screen, an S-Pen, etc. I feel that is worth the extra $300-$350 if you use a phone for two years. Plus, if you go with a contract the price is subsidized, if not, wait for it to drop. The Note 2 is more popular the Nexus 4. Look how many problems the Nexus program has had with the N4, N7, and N10. Samsung has had less issues with their own products. A lot of the issues are software related, which shows the N Program is buggy and overrated.

          1. Of course the phone coming out 4-6 months from now will beat the Nexus 4, but over the Nexus 5/X-Phone? Doubt it.

            At the time, it was impossible to justify an additional $300-$350 over the Nexus 4 for a Galaxy Note 2. Is it a better phone? I’ll admit, yeah it is, but is it $300-$350 better? Absolutely not. Then again, I didn’t win the lottery and I have other gadgets and more important upgrades to spend my money on so I suppose that’s a bit subjective.

    3. Same here, waiting to replace my galaxy nexus too. Hoping for a price drop/increase in storage type announcement for the nexus 4, just like they did with the nexus 7.

    4. I wouldn’t mind seeing a refresh of the Nexus 4. A 32gb version would be nice. My upgrade is past due, and I’m wondering if 16gb is enough for me.

  3. A post on Sunday, thank you!

  4. Key Lime Pie

      1. Whatever the version number for KLP will be

        1. What’s in a name? For an Android by any other name would still taste as sweet.

  5. im really interested in seeing this nexus watch. I was shopping for a sony smartwatch when i read news of a possible nexus smartwatch. This will be my next android device.

  6. Google make me proud.

  7. I think Google should come out with a good video chat feature for android.

    1. really? hangout much?

      1. need to be a google+ user….that is a chat service for google+ not just “google” or “android” like facetime is. from selling android phones for the past few years i can attest to the fact that 90% of mainstream android users are not a part of Google plus… so the other Ryan has a point. Bring on Babel!

        1. Way more than 10% are a part of Google+. Perhaps not active users but certainly a part of it.

          1. Not really a fair argument since it’s pretty much integrated into GMail/Google Accounts.

          2. It’s completely a fair argument. He didn’t say “I can attest to the fact that 90% of mainstream Android users are not active users of Google+”.

    2. Lol yea maybe they’ll even release a voice search feature while they’re at it. s/

    3. group messing sucks on android they need to fix that

      1. That would be Google Babel.

  8. I’m most interested in the next Nexus 7. Hopefully they don’t just increase the resolution. This is the last thing that tablet needs. Better color calibration, a thinner lighter design, a slightly larger display and enough horsepower/ram to prevent lagging should all be higher priorities than bumping the display to some insane PPI that no one will be able to appreciate in regular use…

    1. I agree, I love my N7. But my N4 blows it out of the water in terms of speed, I really want to see them beef up the next Nexus 7.

    2. I actually don’t want a larger display. I own a 10″ tablet and I really wanted a Nexus 7 because of it’s size, but I have a TON of 1080p content so I was waiting for a Nexus 7 with a full HD display. I agree they don’t need to go overboard with PPI and they do need to work on color calibration though.

  9. And unicorns. Always expect unicorns at Google I/O.
    They tend to only show up during Keynotes.

  10. My guess is Google will come out and say they were wrong to not have memory card slots in their devices and include them in all future ones…fat chance of that happening ;)

    1. Except they weren’t wrong, so yeh. Fat chance.

      1. Except that they were wrong.

        1. If by wrong you mean right, then they were wrong.

          1. They’re only wrong if you’re too stupid to find your files on an SD card in your device. Are you too stupid, Smith? Are you?

          2. Samsung is the only one keeping SD alive in tablets/phones. Like removable batteries, SD is dead, except for cameras.

  11. Nexus 7 screen an eyesore? Personally I think it still looks great. Pretty crystal clear.

    1. Naah… hold it up next to a N4 and it’ll make you want to barf. Trust me =D

      1. And it’s slow too.

        1. Oh man, the solid state storage they put in that thing is horrendous. Whoever decided on that chip should be shot and have their head put on a stake.

          1. How so? I think whoever put the Tegra in there should be shot.

      2. I have both, mums is the Nexus 7, yes the N4 has a better display, but it’s pushing more pixels inside such a small frame compared to the Nexus 7.

    2. In comparison, yes it is. It was a great device for the price, but higher res screens are cheaper now and we should certainly see an improvement

  12. i want new android version and nexus 7 refresh.

  13. still sad.

  14. If they refresh the nexus 7 with a higher res screen rear camera (it can suck….i wont use it much bit still nice to have) and a thinner bezel similar to the one on the iPad mini they might as well take my money now

  15. Expect a major revamp of Gmail and Google Maps for Android.

  16. Probably not a new nexus just yet, but I do hope to see a nexus 4 refresh.

  17. I want the following:

    1- Nexus phone with ( 4 inches , 6000 mAh battery, LTE, SD Card slot, resistance to all shitties )
    2- Nexus 7′ tab with ( rear camera + flash LED + LTE ).
    3- Open Play Store services ( Videos , magazines , apps, … bla bla bla ) to everyone earth not just US and UK.

    1. 4″ screen .? Are you kidding people? Lol.go get s3 mini

  18. Sometimes over-customization can be a real problem, and that tends to be the problem with Motorola phones, from my experience. They provide too many damn UNNECESSARY customizable options for users that it just ends up being tedious and a hindrance to “set up your device the way you want it.” Again, if I wanted so much freedom, I would just root my phone…please give me a happy medium between an iPhone’s uncustomizability & a rooted phone. Motorola’s X-phone sounds like it might be messy, again.

  19. I’m hoping that they just make 32GB of internal storage the minimum in their device since they don’t like microSD. It would also be nice if they would bake LMT and/or PIE into the OS or just make the nav-buttons customizable.

  20. I’m just waiting for the X-Phone and Key Lime Pie announcement, so ready to upgrade my Nexus for X-Phone

  21. Anyone think we could possibly see a Google TV type gaming device? I would love to see something like the Nexus Q with an upgraded chip running a new version of Google TV that includes Google’s rumored “game center”.

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