Google I/O

It's the biggest, baddest, and most fun event of the year. See what your favorite folks from Android Central think we'll be seeing

Our favorite time of the year starts in just a few more days -- Wednesday, May 15 to be exact. We're talking about Google I/O of course. Not that we don't get excited by the happenings at Mobile World Congress, or CES, or even carrier and manufacturer events, but I/O is all Google all day (and night), and that's pretty important to any Android fan. In years past we've seen some awfully cool stuff, some were blockbusters and some, well, not-so-much. But we enjoyed seeing every single thing.

And there's more to Google I/O than the keynote extravaganza. Skydiving and announcements of the year's coming tech is pretty exciting, but you also get to sit in and hear the people who make Google and Android great talk shop with some of the best developers in the business. If you're a geeky type, it's like Nirvana. And even if you're not, it's still absolutely awesome to see the passion that everyone has for Google and Android. 

We're going to be there of course, and we'll tell you everything that's going on in and around the Moscone Center. It's going to be a blast, but just what do we expect to see? We're going to answer that one. Hit the break, see what we think, and when it's all said and done we can see just how right (or wrong) we were. 

JerryJerry Hildenbrand

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What I expect to see:

Unicorns that shoot laser beams from a gold-encrusted horn.

I'll start with the obvious. I'm pretty sure we're going to see a new version of Android. It might be 4.3, or 4.3_rsomething, but it's coming. And it's not going to be earth-shattering. Android is now at the point where big, sweeping changes are no longer needed. It's time to focus on the details, and make the important changes that really make a difference. Better Bluetooth support (including Bluetooth Low Energy), easier and better ways to send and receive group SMS, or any of the other things our favorite OS does to annoy the crap out of us. As things progress, we'll eventually see another huge update to Android -- but not now. We don't need one.

I think we'll see some new hardware to go along with it, too. Nothing earth shattering (at least nothing that we'll get to buy any time soon), but a better-stronger-faster version of the Nexus 7 is a given. I also have a feeling that we'll see that there/not there LTE in the Nexus 4 dealt with. I'm really thinking Google will let T-Mobile turn it on and run with it, but not so sure we'll see a version for any other carriers. Licensing is hard when you build developer phones and redistribute the software.

We'll also see a new Chromebook. There are too many code submissions being made from folks like NVIDIA and the Googlers themselves for there not to be new hardware out there. From what i can see, think Tegra 4 with a touch screen that you'll be able to rotate. Maybe a tablet. And Chrome is going to get a lot of focus itself. Look for Google to announce a slew of big changes that make us all get interested again.

It's also time to talk more about Android at Home and especially Android and Chrome OS in your living room. How it has progressed, what's in store and how technology like Wifi direct and NFC will be used with it. Remember the Nexus Q? Imagine it with an NFC enabled Bluetooth controller and updated software that will play Android games. Google always has a reason for the crazy things they do. Sometimes, we get to see them.

What I hope to see this year:

I want a Sprint Nexus 4, dammit. I realize that it isn't really Google's decision but I don't care. The Hesse and the Googlers need to make it happen. Sprint missed out on the Nexus One, but have been great partners for the rest of them. That means something. Unlimited LTE Nexus baby.

The rest? Sure I want watches and glasses everywhere, but I'd rather see Google focus on the things they've already started, and think they will.

AlexAlex Dobie

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What I think we'll see:

We'll get Android 4.3. It'll be Jelly Bean MR2, a relatively small update in terms of user-facing stuff, as was 4.1 to 4.2. Google will be saving the big changes for the fall -- think new codename, entirely new version number. The Nexus 4 will probably get Android 4.3 Jelly Bean on the day of the keynote.

I'm expecting a big focus on wearables, too. We'll most likely get the Google Watch, with Google Now. (If it's not at I/O, it'll arrive shortly thereafter.) It'll run Android, connect to existing Android handsets, be inexpensive and sold through Google Play, and the ability to wear Google Now will be awesome. Look for a Glass-like, card-based layout. As for Glass itself, Google will want to get developers up to speed and help them create awesome apps for its flagship wearable device. Attendees will probably get another chance to buy the explorer edition. Maybe people will also jump out of a blimp.

Beyond that, we'll get new hardware of the more traditional sort. It's the obvious time to refresh the Nexus 7, and rumored specs including an 8-inch 1080p screen with trimmed-down bezel make a lot of sense. The Nexus 7 has been hugely successful, so an ASUS-made Nexus 8 wouldn't surprise me at all. A few months back we heard a rumor of a possible mid-range, Motorola-made Nexus phone, and though I wouldn't bet on it making an appearance, things could get really interesting if Google comes out with an aggressively-priced mid-range Nexus phone aimed at the U.S. market. On the other hand, does the current $299 Nexus 4 really leave room for this? I'm not so sure.

Speaking of the Nexus 4, I think there's a 50/50 chance of at least one LTE-capable Nexus 4 model making an appearance during this year's conference. With the right firmware update (and FCC certification) the current model could do T-Mobile LTE. We've also heard of AT&T and Sprint models being tested in the past, though that trail has gone cold in recent months. This one could go either way.

Finally, Chromium OS code hints at the possibility of a Tegra 4-powered Chromebook, and I think there's a reasonably good possibility of such a device showing up at I/O. Which leads me into what I wish to see from the show --

What I wish we would see:

Google's desktop OS is still hobbled by its network connectivity requirements, so I'd like to see Chrome OS mature into a more capable, more modern computing platform. You don't put a retina-beating display in a notebook if you don't plan on extending its OS far beyond a simple web browser. If the Chromebook Pixel is for what's next, then I want to see "what's next" from Google next week.

And whatever happened to the Nexus Q? Things have been awfully quiet since Google's cannonball-shaped streaming sphere was mothballed in mid-2012. Give me a Q with the hardware and software capabilities to justify its price tag. Between Google TV, Google Fiber and the Q, Google's living room presence is a mess. I'm hoping this side of things will become more coherent at this year's I/O.

CaseyCasey Rendon

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What I expect to see:

We will get a new version of Android, but not a game-changing one. Since Google used the J-release moniker twice already, this next version will be the K-release (most assume it will be Key Lime Pie). Android 4.3 will come on a new device, either the next generation 7-inch Nexus tablet, or a CDMA version of the Nexus 4 for Verizon and/or Sprint. If we do see a new Nexus 4, it will have more storage -- at least 32GB. Google will combine multiple communication apps into one messaging super-app, which syncs very nicely between multiple devices.

What I wish we would see:

I would love to see a new phone and tablet with Motorola hardware and pure Google software. They could be Nexus devices, or "Motorola X" devices -- call them whatever you want. I want Google to include huge camera software improvements in the next version of Android, majorly boosting performance in all photo-related areas for their Nexus devices. I'd also like a retail version of Google Glass to be released, with direct orders immediately available from the Play Store. The companion accessory I'd want included in the Google Glass launch is a watch -- Google Wrist.

RichardRichard Devine

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What I expect to see:

An updated version of Android, that's probably a given. Google likes to give us new stuff at their own developer conference and this year shouldn't be any different. I'm also expecting Glass to feature heavily now units are out in people's hands, and another chance for developers to buy units. I'm also expecting something interesting from the Chrome team. Google surely didn't just make the Pixel because they could. I've got a feeling we might see some good stuff for Chrome.

What I'd like to see:

More content in more countries from Google. I'm in the UK and I can't get TV programmes yet from the Play Store, yet I can on BlackBerry 10. There's still too big a gap in Google's content reach around the world. I'd also like to see a new Nexus Q style device, with a more global launch to watch said content on. 

SeanSean Brunett

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Here is what I expect from Google I/O:

I expect Google to focus heavily on incremental improvements to Android, Chrome and Google+. As we inch closer to the conference, the rumors are swirling that we’ll see 4.3 rather than 5.0. This may disappoint a lot of people, but it may be a good decision in the long run. Plus, it doesn’t mean it can’t include some great features. With the appointment of Sundar Pichai to Android in addition to his Chrome responsibilities, I’m sure we’ll hear a lot about both, while hearing an emphasis about how they will remain separate entities. Google+ will also see many improvements, probably a write API and more cohesion across Google services. Glass will of course be featured, but I don’t think we’ll see something extravagant like last year.

What I want to see:

Key Lime Pie. MMS for Google Voice. Improved video and audio quality for Google+ Hangouts. New Nexus devices would be great. I agree that we’ll probably see a refreshed Nexus 7, but I’d also really like to see a new Nexus phone. Some new Chromebooks as well. I’m a Chromebook fan, but not for a Pixel price. Some new lower priced Chromebooks would be great. 

AndrewAndrew Martonik

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What I expect:

We’re pretty much looking at a lock for Android 4.3 to be released, and as the numbering convention suggests this will be an incremental update rather than a complete redo of major components of the OS. I expect it to also be called Jelly Bean once again, as a move to the “K” version may cause some confusion about how big of a change we’re getting. As for individual features it’s anyones guess at this point. Outside of full platform releases, I expect a good amount of talk about apps and games, and how Google is planning to handle the issue of transferring app data (think game saves) between your different devices. I also expect a good bit of talk about Google Glass and how it will tie in with Google’s other services, especially since many of the Explorer Edition units have started to ship out.

What I hope for:

Going way off the rails, I hope for some serious information about a consumer product release of Google Glass in terms of design, pricing and even a launch window. We don’t have anything more than a few off the cuff statements about “the end of 2013”, and I think I/O would be a great time to get more attention on it. In terms of Android, I want to see what Google has up its sleeve for this rumored unified chat service. As someone who relies on Google Voice daily, I think it’s time for a complete ground-up redo of the whole system. On the device front, I think everyone would be pleased by a refreshed Nexus 7 and Nexus 10, and while I don’t even hope for a Nexus phone refresh at this point in the year Google could really do us a favor and start shipping the current Nexus 4 with T-Mobile LTE enabled.

PhilPhil Nickinson

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The gang has the big stuff covered, I think. It might be cliche, but the tech stuff is only half of the awesomeness that you get to see at Google I/O. (OK, one-third if you count the fire-breathing, levitating robots. But I'm not sure I'm supposed to talk about them.) It might be a little cliche, but, damn it, the most important part of Google I/O really is getting meet the developers. The folks who really make all this work, be they the men and women within Google, or the coders from the entire world who make it to Moscone West for the week.

We're lucky to be there. It's an incredible sight, to see so many people from so many countries so excited to learn about Android. There's no other developer conference like it. Here's to an awesome week. 

So there you have it. Some of your favorite Android bloggers and pundits have laid out just what they have in mind for Google I/O 2013. Now tell us what you think we'll see, or what you want to see (or both) in the comments. And be sure to keep checking Android Central for the latest news from San Francisco, and follow the site on Google+ for the stuff that's too cool not to share -- there will be plenty of it!


Reader comments

Ask the AC editors: What do you expect from Google I/O 2013?


I want Google to announce that they're working with HTC on the Nexus 5. Imagine vanilla Android in an HTC body. Yummy!

If the One had stock android, it would be great and would be my next phone, I'd gladly trade off the 4 MP shooter for dual speakers of Boom sound.

Hopefully they won't give away anything this year at I/O to weed out the people who go for the free swag, so next time more developers will be actually able to attend. Who knows what the Q could have been in the hands of more Devs, but most people who got the Q last year weren't Devs and didn't know what to do with it, and it basically fell in the wrong hands. IDK, maybe Google needs some type of Developer registration page and filter out some of the people at the event.

Maybe it's time for Google to open up it's own University UCG, for Devs, engineers, and enthusiast alike to go to and people wanting to get into the whole Android/ Chrome ecosystem.

Also, I'd love to see an Android notebook or a dual android and Chromebook all in one. With a touchscreen that swivels 180 to use a tablet when closed.

Nothing against developers but wouldn't it be a lot easier if a phone came with vanilla Android. Not a lot of us can root.

I have been running stock for awhile now. Got tired of the bugs in Custom ROMs and have gone back and stayed with stock. I bought a used Samasung Galaxy S3 and hate TouchWhiz....Is CM10 stable, I am ready to root once again...

I think Google needs to be able to launch all Nexus devices on all carriers and they all should be able to receive their timely updates at the same time like Apple does. There is no excuse. How come Apple is able to do it but Google can't do it for their Nexus devices? They need control over that. Now all they need to do is add a premium design to the Nexus line and quality specs. Like a really good 1080p screen and a really good front and back camera. Nexus 4 camera is better than the Galaxy Nexus but still poor smh. They need to take things serious. I don't expect a spanking brand new Nexus device to come out, but just those words being said by Google and living by it would be a satisfying feeling. 

You don't think the Nexus 4 is a premium design with quality specs? Ignoring the on-board storage argument it launched with about the best specs it could have had at the time.

What quality control issues? Name a phone that didn't have defective units.

And if you owned a Nexus 4, you would know that the camera is actually pretty decent. No one should be expecting DSLR quality.

Never question an AC writer.

There are far more quality control issues in other phones, you just don't hear as much about them because they don't have the vocal dedicated following behind them like Nexus (stock android) devices do. The Nexus 4 is premium and will continue to be into the release and life of the "Nexus 5". SOftware can help with the camera but it is getting ridiculous the expectation people are having of smartphone cameras, want a decent photo? Take along a decent compact or DSLR which will always have better photo quality than any smartphone on the market for years to come.

The reason Apple has better control over updates vs Google is because Apple is not open source. There is only one way to have iOS on a phone and that is THROUGH Apple. Android is open source which is part of why it has so much more potential than iOS. But because of this, manufacturers can grab Android, do whatever they want with it, and release their Android phone without going through Google at all. When this happens, the manufacturer is responsible to get their version of Android updated to work with their UI each time Google updates Android.

Because of this you can't compare the entire Android line of phones to Apple's line of phones - it simply isn't an equal comparison. You must compare Nexus devices to iOS devices for a fair comparison. Pure Nexus devices (PURE, not ALL) are updated just like iOS devices are. Everything else is third party. Apple doesn't allow third party iOS devices so it creates the illusion that Apple manages updates better than Google when it's really pretty equal. This is why you buy a Google phone and not a goofy knockoff.

Try Battery Guru. It gets me a good 15+ hours of regular use, about fourteen for those boring days. I do use only 2G network and I've blocked mostly all apps from using data. I think since I put Battery Guru it had lasted at least 2 hours longer.

Amen to that!

We need more RazrMAXX's in the wild. Forget this lousy race to the thinnest smartphone every year. It doesn't accomplish anything. Smartphones are thin enough. Under 10mm is PLENTY thin... but a 3000mah battery is epic.

I like what Andrew said about the gaming. iOS has a big leap ahead of Android with the game saves happening on all devices. I have several games on my Nexus 10, but sometimes, it isn't the right time to play a game on my tablet, but it is for my phone. Not having to restart on a game from my tablet to my phone and vice versa, would be an amazing thing!

I would love to see a 32GB Nexus 4 (wouldn't mind it having LTE, but really just want the expanded storage), unified messaging with SMS/MMS integration or at least a Google Voice update/overhaul (no MMS/Group messaging makes it useless to me), and expanded usefulness of the Chromebook (I have one and it already does exactly what I need it to do, but who doesn't love new capabilities).

Though I hope/expect they can deliver a whole lot more than just this

I'm just waiting for software stuff: Android 4.3 (with new features like the Project Roadrunner), updated Google Play Music app with Google Music Stream service integrated, redesigned Google Maps and Google Navigation for Android, Google Games, Google Hangout, Google Maps for iPad, a lot of new Google Now cards, updated Google Keep app (with location and date based reminders),Chrome for Android stable with fullscreen mode, new design guidelines for android apps (new Up button).

I dont care about a new low end chromebook, I want something mid range. Intel processor (not as good as the one in the pixel obviously), 1080p display, 4gb of RAM, good battery life, for maybe $750 (if it's possible). I love chrome os but these low end devices don't do it justice IMO. Want something faster but wont break the bank.

I like Alex's predictions. That aside, I would love to see updates to the core apps (especially the Play suite) and maybe the launch of Google Hangout. I would also love to see the Nexus 4 with LTE support on T-Mo and AT&T. As much as I would love a Google Watch at I/O, it'll be a time. In the meanwhile, a Nexus 8 or just a refreshed Nexus 7 (Nexus 7 NX?) will be fine. :)

(also, can we get the Android Update Alliance back up and running? And for a long time?)

I'd like to see improvements to Chrome for Android. Chrome still isn't as fast as the AOSP browser, and that needs to change.

I think the'll announce Key lime Pie and one of the features will be a Samsung like multitasking, with two apps on the screen.

Would really like to see the Q brought back, but with the same design. I would also like to see a new music app, better hangouts, and more integrated messaging. Finally would like to see native backup features.

Google really, really need to support Bluetooth LE in the next release of Android. I don't really care about anything else but BLE is a must have, the whole sports and fitness industry is moving to it as well as many other peripheral manufacturers. ios has had it since the iPhone 4s and it's frustrating that most new Android phones support bluetooth 4 but the Os doesn't.

I'd like to see some changes within Gmail. Make it simpler to use. The labels, replying, forwarding, and how mail is saved, and deleted seems to cluttered and complicated.

Things I would like:

Updates to Gmail, so that I can opt not to use conversation mode just like I can on the desktop. Conversation is too confusing and I would rather see each email on it's own.

Update to the Music player to make it less album focused. I rarely buy an album because I don't like every song on it, so I want an easier way to focus on individual songs. Also I want the play slider control to always be present instead of disappearing, so I don't have to make two taps one to make it appear and the other to adjust it, when I want to replay a portion of a song.

A really good build Motorola phone that runs stock android and gets updates just like a Nexus, but one that allows me to have software options I can select from a Moto site. This way I can opt to download Moto smart actions or those circle widget thingies from the site if I want to pay for it . Moto already makes LTE phones on CDMA and GSM so there is no excuse not to have it on a phone within to the Google corporate structure.

A better camera. True it will not perform as well as lens on a dedicated camera but I want to end the discussion about cameras. Give us one that takes sharp pictures. If Google can spend the money on free lunch for it's employees, they have the funds to manage a contract with an imaging company that can provide a good camera-period..

A phone with at least 32GB of storage with options to 64. No SD card required, just give me this amount of storage

More RAM,a better GPU and a higher Mhz on their devices along with better battery life. These sound contradictory but one can hope.

What would Corey Streater like to see? I haven't seen a post or comment from him is a long time. He always has good ideas so what about it? What does he want?

I think I expect way too much.
I hope Google launches Babel (or new Hangout), brings Android 4.3 and starts the Game Center.And I know if they don't do that, I will be disappointed.

I want to see the new Nexus 7 and the Nexus 4 LTE and want a glimpse of Key Lime Pie. Yes, Google, I'm demanding it :)

"CDMA version of the Nexus 4 for Verizon and/or Sprint."

This, this is what I want so much (for verizon specifically). Although I'm not holding my breath

I don't think IO would be good place for such annoucment, IO getters developers, thats why they mainly annouce complitly new stuff to interest developers and i also bet that Verizon and Sprint would like to host such kind annoucment :)

The Nexus 4 I am using right now is on a T-Mobile network, LTE-ready, and for some reason is not enabled? I really hope that the next software launch gives it to all of us. LTE may drain battery, but with the addition of an extended battery coming to us from ZeroLemon (placeholders up on Amazon already), I believe that it will be a great addition to the phone. More superpowers for this amazing phone. c:

For the love of all that is good, you're on an Android tech site. If you are willing so spent a few lousy minutes to read, unlock/root, and flash a LTE radio you WILL have a LTE N4 on Tmobile. No need to want or waste your money. It works flawlessly, and way less of a battery drain than my LTE gnex. Of course, this is assuming you live where Tmobile has lit up its LTE network.