Google I/O 2013: the best guesses on what's coming

Are there any good guesses as to what Google will reveal in mid-May? Yes and no.

Credit: Photo by Anthony Alvernaz/Flickr

Google I/O 2013 is where Google, and particularly Android, gets to have its Apple-like Big Reveal Moment. This year, in mid-May, Google is almost certain to talk about new devices, a new version of Android, and, most likely, some surprises that nobody had a handle on--just like last year. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some leaks, rumors, and indicators to sketch out an image of this year’s Google announcements.

Here’s what the Android and mobile tech blogs are saying about what might come out of San Francisco from May 15-17 this year:

Motorola X Phone, or definitely no X Phone?

The X Phone is an odd creature that probably exists, but might not come out in the form it was intended. Google bought phone maker Motorola in August of 2011, but Google has stated numerous times that it would not give Motorola particularly preferential treatment, that Android would stay open (so far as that goes, in the endlessly argumentative realm of software), and that 2012 would be a year in which Motorola finishes up its own projects.

But then there was a LinkedIn job posting for a project manager for “X-Phone”, an Australian telecom executive describing the X-Phone as a “game changer”, and then, suddenly, Google stepping back and saying that Motorola’s upcoming products are “not really to the standards that what Google would say is wow — innovative, transformative”. Suddenly, the I/O reveal and July availability rumors have become much less cited. Unless this is Google taking an under-promise, over-deliver page from Apple’s playbook? We’ll find out soon.

The next Nexus 7 is a lot like the existing Nexus 7

Here’s one rumor that has some credibility and actual names behind it: the next version of the Nexus 7 mini-tablet, perhaps dubbed the Nexus 7.7, may not use NVIDIA’s Tegra chipset, opting instead for Qualcomm hardware, according to Barron’s and tech stock analysts. That’s a very specific supply chain intelligence leak that makes a certain amount of sense--Google does move around on its vendors quite often.

Here’s another rumor, source from the amazingly, almost wonderfully inaccurate Digitimes: that the next Nexus 7 will feature a crisper screen and be released at Google I/O. Meanwhile, the bezel on the next 7 is supposedly smaller; this, despite detailed attention and praise for the book-like bezel shaping on the 7 at its reveal at Google I/O 2012.

I don’t expect a next-generation Nexus 7 to be released, given out, or shipped from Google I/O 2013. But it could be underway, and available soon after.

Android 5.0, “Key Lime Pie,” to be showcased

Yes, definitely. Google I/O is the best place for Google to display the capabilities, new features, and compatibility of Android versions, as developers have a few days and many in-person discussions with which to mull over a new Android. And it’s about time for a new Android, given the smaller 4.2 update to Jelly Bean at almost exactly halfway between I/O events.

And because I’m starting to get serious about updating The Complete Android Guide to cover the newest versions of Android, there will almost certainly be a complete change in many core functions of the phone. That one’s speculative, but trust me: I have deeply placed and well-informed sources in my own cynicism factory.

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