Google I/O 2013, Google's annual developer conference, starts this Wednesday, but rumors are already circulating about a lackluster event. New head of mobile development Sundar Pinchai has already said not to expect many big announcements, but there could be some important announcements regarding Google Glass and the Android ecosystem. Here's what you need to know.
1. There Could be a Slight Nexus 4 Upgrade
The Nexus 4 is Google's well-received smartphone. The device has been consistently over-performing and many are antcipating a slight update so that the Nexus 4 can catch up to competitors like the Samsung Galaxy S4 or iPhone 5. TechCrunch writes that the updated Google Nexus 4 could be "boasting a 32GB internal memory upgrade, along with built-in LTE support."
2. There Are Conflicting Reports About A Next-Gen Nexus 7
Conflicting reports about a next-gen Nexus 7 make it difficult to figure out what we can expect. Ars Technica says you can expect "a thinner screen bezel to reduce the device’s overall size, and it could have increased resolution from the tablet’s predecessor... a processor manufactured by Qualcomm rather than NVIDIA...a 1080p display...a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera, an HD front-facing camera, Wi-Fi and NFC, as well as a 4,000 mAh battery pack with Qi wireless charging capabilities."
But other reports say that we may not see the device until July 2013. But, as Gizmodo notes, after Pinchai's comments about the upcoming Google I/O, we may not see such a major hardware change till later in the year.
3. We Could See Android 4.3
Android 4.3 is Google's rumored operating system update, and we could be seeing it as soon as this week at the I/O conference. As we previously wrote, Android 4.3 could have Google Babble, Bluetooth Low Energy Technology, and Open GL ES 3.0. It would make sense since Google has decided to push back the release of Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie.
4. We Won't See Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie Probably
With the rumors surrounding the Android 4.3 ramping up and the reports and leaks about Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie getting quieter and quieter, it seems like Google has decided to delay Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie. Why? Maybe development for the update is running behind schedule — like Apple's iOS 7, reportedly — and Google wants to add some even crazier features in the brand new update.
5. What Is Google Play Games?
Google will reportedly announced a brand new Android-based game console, rumored to be called the "Google Play Games." Here's what Silicon Angle wrote about the Google Play Games game center:
The discovery comes from securing the latest version of Google Play Services, version v3.1.36. In it, a little green game controller represents Play Games. When you tap on Play Games, it opens up the settings for the game center to edit who you can send game invites to or receive invites from, save synced games, and see achievements, scoring and the leaderboard. The icon also serves as a shortcut for activities you do on Play Games.
6. We Can Hear More Details About Google Glass
Many are anticipating a lot of details to come out regarding Google's wearable toy, Google Glass. Last year, Google announced the "Explorer Program," which is similar to a public beta, and other minute details. This year, we're anticipating that Google will announce the updated version and any new features that may be included (the Explorer version available for a very select few is an early prototype) and when Glass would be available to the general public, and how much it'll cost.
7. We Shouldn't Expect To See the Motorola X
The Motorola X probably won't come to Google I/O, and if it does, it'll probably be a very subdued announcement. It would make to Google to release Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie alongside the Motorola X to increase the hype for bot the device and operating system update. We should be able to expect Motorola X sometime in 2013, but if we were Motorola, we wouldn't hold our breathe.
8. We Should See Google's New Messaging Service — Babel
Google Babel should also help Google's Android ecosystem become more unified and easy to use. Similar to Apple's iOS iMessage, which works on Mac computers running 10.8 Mountain Lion, iPhones, iPod Touch's, and iPad and iPad Mini's. Google, unfortunately, doesn't have the same easy-to-use messaging service...yet. TechRadar reported about Babel first, but now some are hypothesizing that the service will be called "Hangouts" instead. Either way, it should be a service that we'll really appreciate — with so many messaging services from Google, unifying them could be a great decision for Google.
9. There Could Be a Google Maps Update Too
According to Mashable, Google Maps could be upgraded too. Over the past year, Google Maps made a spectacular debut as a third-party app on the iOS ecosystem after Apple kicked out Google Maps and created the universally-hated Apple Maps. A facelift to the interface for Google Maps would be a great change.
10. Hopefully, We'll Hear About Some Longshot Projects
Google X Labs secretly works on some amazing and farfetched projects — including Google Glass. There is evidence (from Google) that they're working some amazing products, including a super-fast Internet service called Google Fiber and a self-driving car. We'd love to see updates on these potentially-groundbreaking projects...maybe when we can buy them? We'll find out soon enough when Google I/O 2013 starts on Wednesday.