Google I/O kicks off in less than 24 hours and while Sundar Pichai, head of Android at Google is telling Android users to expect a more developer focused event, we don’t expect Google I/O will go off without new hardware and software announced at the three hour keynote on Wednesday morning.
Google I/O is known not just as a week of learning for developers, but as Google’s stage for new products and major software announcements. We may see major announcements like the Nexus 5 and Android 5.0 jump to the fall, but that doesn’t mean Google is coming empty handed.
We expect a new Nexus 7 tablet, a slightly new version of Android and possibly a new Samsung tablet to replace the Nexus 10. There are rumblings about a slightly revamped Nexus 4 and a Motorola X Phone, but both are less than certain for Google I/O.
Nexus 7 2
The Nexus 7 2, to the new Nexus 7 will likely be the highlight of the hardware for Google I/O 2013. Google announced the first Nexus 7 at I/O last year and soon carved out a spot for the affordable and well spec’d tablet.
This year we expect Google will update the Nexus 7 with a new processor, higher resolution display and possibly a rear facing camera. We’ve yet to see any Nexus 7 2 leaks which could indicate what the device looks like, but all indications point to ASUS making the device.
Here are the rumored specs for the Nexus 7 2;
- 7-inch 1920 x 1200 resolution display
- Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro or Snapdragon 800 Processor
- 5MP rear facing camera
- HD front facing camera
- 4,000 mAh battery
- Android 4.3 Jelly Bean
It’s not clear if Google will call the new tablet the Nexus 7 2 or opt for something a little catchier. Expect this to be the biggest hardware announcement of the show. We expect multiple carrier options with 3G and 4G connectivity, and there is always a chance of LTE, but it is far from confirmed.
Samsung Nexus 11
One rumor points to a new Samsung Nexus 11 tablet at Google I/O which would reportedly replace the Nexus 10 and compete with the iPad 5 which is expected this fall.
The rumors point to a device with an 11-inch Super PLS display, 8MP rear-facing camera, 2MP front-facing camera, 64GB memory, a Micro SD card slot and an octo-core processor.
Don’t hold your breath for the Nexus 11 tablet at Google I/O. The Nexus 10 is still new it is much more likely that Google is planning a new full size tablet experience for later this year.
Nexus 4 with LTE
The Nexus 5 isn’t likely until this fall, but we are hearing about a Nexus 4 LTE model running Android 4.3. It is possible this model will work on CDMA networks like Verizon and Sprint.
Google and LG pushed out a slightly tweaked version of the Nexus 4 earlier this year, but the minor change didn’t deliver anything new in terms of specs or software.
A new white Nexus 4 video is making rounds again, but it’s not clear if this is something Google plans to show off at I/O or if it is yet another spotting of a phantom white Nexus 4.
A new Nexus 4 at Google I/O is quite possible, though don’t expect major changes to the device. Google will save any major enhancements for the rumored Nexus 5, which is more likely to arrive this fall.
Motorola X Phone
The Motorola X Phone is more likely than a new Nexus 4 at Google I/O. Google purchased Motorola Mobility last year and the X Phone is likely to be one of the first devices to hit with Google’s fingerprints on it. This will not be a pure Google phone and it is too early for something that Google handled from the start.
Rumors point to a Google X Phone with moderate specs and a smaller screen size than the Samsung Galaxy S4. We are hearing a lot about customization options which could include up to 20 colors and possibly even wood back panels. The latest FCC filing indicates the X Phone will be assembled in the USA. This would likely take place at a Foxconn facility in California. This may be part of Google’s plan to offer customization without long waits for delivery.
The Motorla X Phone FCC filing points to a possible Google I/O launch. Typically companies do all they can to keep FCC filings secret right up until a launch. The timing is right, but ultimately Motorola could host a separate event this summer.
Based on Sundar Pichai’s announcement that Google will not be showing off, “much in the way of launches of new products or a new operating system,” at Google I/O 2013 we do expect a new version of Android.
We do expect a smaller more focused upgrade with an emphasis on refining the user experience and possibly filling holes like support for Bluetooth 4.0. Some leaks point to an enhanced focus on gaming in Android 4.3.
We will also likely hear Google talk more about their plans to smooth out the Android update process which currently faces delays from manufacturers and carriers. That said, don’t expect any ground breaking announcements that will change the process.
For Google I/O 2013, think more like the Android 4.2 Jelly Bean update that came last fall offering new features and improvements rather than a full jump to something new.
Google Glass, Chomebook
While we aren’t quite sure what to expect from the Google Glass project and the Chromebook team, we should see plenty of demos and software for each.
Google Glass is still in the explorer program, which placed early versions of the Google Glass devices in the hands of select individuals. We may see new apps and more plans for a bigger Google Glass rollout.
The ChromeBook Pixel isn’t old enough to see a replacements, so if there is new Chromebook hardware expect to see something from another manufacturer. Google is teasing Chrome swag, so they may be handing out a ChromeBook Pixel to attendees, but don’t look for any new Google branded Chromebook hardware.
Gotta Be Mobile will be at the event, bringing hands on and editorial coverage of Google I/O 2013 starting at 9 AM Pacific May 15th.