What to expect at Google I/O 2013

Google is gearing up for its annual developer event to showcase the latest and greatest from their popular open-source mobile platform Android, along with other ventures like Google Glass, Chrome, and their web services like YouTube, Google + and Maps. Last year saw the announcement of the Nexus 7 tablet, Android 4.1 Jellybean, and the Glass Explorer Edition, among the major launches. The folks at Mountain View have been quiet after the release of Android 4.2.2, and the push of Google Glass to Explorers who signed up at the conference last year. This year’s show is being held as Moscone West, between May 15 – 17, and will have only one press conference. Google always has something exciting in development, and the event this year will not be disappointing.

The next version of Android
Android Dessert JB & KLP

Last year, Android 4.1 Jellybean was released, bringing Project Butter, an effort to reduce lag on Android, and succeeded for the most part. This year, the next major update to the OS, codenamed Key Lime Pie, is reportedly being delayed and instead Android 4.3 (Jellybean again) will be released. The decision to delay Key Lime Pie was taken so that manufacturers had time to catch up to Android 4.2. No new features of the OS have been confirmed, but Android 4.3 will most likely be an incremental update like Android 4.2 and 4.1 before it.

Nexus 4 refresh with LTE and 32 GB storage
Nexus 4 Hero

The Nexus 4 has been one of LG’s more popular phones, and the first one from it to feature unadulterated and the latest version. The device brought in high end specs at a midrange price, but lacked LTE and had an average camera. The rumours have swirled around a mere update the the existing Nexus phone, and an expansion to 32 GB will address storage issues with the 8 GB version.

The next-gen Nexus phone is allegedly being developed by LG again, after Google had talks with the Korean manufacturer over it, and an OLED Google TV. Rumours of the Nexus ’5′, supposedly codenamed LG Megalodon, are quite far fetched, claiming that the next Google-branded phone will come with a Snapdragon 800 processor, 3 GB of RAM, a camera that can record in 4K resolution, and other specs that will make your head explode.

LG Nexus 5 Render

Android gets its Game Face on
Google Play GamesThe next version of Google’s mobile OS is said to feature a new focus on mobile gaming. Google confirmed in their event schedule that there will be several sessions on gaming, and a job posting at LinkedIn for Noah Falstein, ‘Chief Game Designer at Google’. We could see more gaming integration similar to iOS’ Game Center, with social networking and high scores. There’s also been some new leaks which dub the feature as “Google Play Games”. The leaked icon is on the left here. There’s been hints of in-game chats, cloud saves, matchmaking, achievements and leader boards.

What’s going on at Motorola
Motorola is Google’s biggest mobile acquisition, after Android, and the future of the manufacturer is a huge question mark. Google executives have made some claims about what we can expect from Motorola devices, like nearly stock Android and screen sizes that are ‘just right’. Larry Page said that the new phones will attempt to solve modern smartphone issues like battery life and durability. The smartphones from Motorola already have the potential to solve these problems, like the (DROID) RAZR Maxx, already have large batteries and tough Kevlar.

Motorola X Phone

The Motorola X-phone is one of the most highly anticipated phones of the year, which will be Motorola’s first phone under Google. The phone is said to feature a 4.7 inch screen, 2 GB of RAM, and a Snapdragon 600 processor. Not much is known from this ever elusive device, but from the most recent leaks, Google is abandoning Motorola’s hard edges and flat design with Kevlar for a more curved design and a polycarbonate body. The device might not show up at Google I/O, and instead, will be unveiled at a separate Motorola event.

Google Glass goodness
Glass I:O

Google Glass started a wearable technology revolution after its dev edition released a few months ago, and now the Explorer edition is seeding to people who signed up for Glass last year. However, the head mounted display currently costs $ 1500, with a consumer version expected in Q1 2014.

A handful of third party apps are currently supported by Glass, and a developer conference is the perfect place to announce more goodies for app developers.

Next-gen Nexus 7
Nexus 7 I:O

Google’s first tablet, the Nexus 7, was one of the most popular Android tablets of 2012. With Nvidia’s Tegra 3, a 720p display, 1 GB of RAM and the latest version of Android at the time, Jellybean, all at a $ 199 price for the 8GB model, it undercut the Kindle Fire by being a full-fledged tablet at a very tempting price. Less than a year later, the Nexus 7 is still one of the best tablets on the market with stock Android, even with the boom of budget tablets from small manufacturers. What we can expect from the next version is an updated high-resolution display and components, to compete with the rumoured iPad Mini 2 with Retina, at the same $ 199 price.

A bit about Babel
Google Babel

The tech world has been abuzz about a new integrated messaging service that Google will call Babel, which will combine chat services from Google+ (including Hangouts), Gmail, Google Voice and Google talk into a single service. It’s said to feature most of the same features already found on Apple’s iMessage, like exchanging media, video chats, etc, and some other additions like stickers and tons of emoticons. This service will also be multi-platform, supporting iOS, Mac OS X, Windows, Android, Chrome and a web app that can be accessed from every other platform. There’s also a chance that Google would like to bring Babel under the Google+ umbrella by calling it “Hangouts”.

Where’s the Wallet?
Wallet I:O Copy

Mobile payments have gained momentum soon after Google launched its Wallet service, and a similar experience has expanded to other platforms, like iOS with Passbook, and Windows Phone with its own Wallet app. Since November, Google allegedly made plans to launch a physical Google Wallet card to go with its mobile payment app to make transactions just like a real credit card. The plans for it have, however, been scraped and instead an updated Wallet app will make an appearance at the conference.

Mountain View has a LOT planned for this year’s Google I/O. From new products to new software, the company is expected to show off its new goodies in a spectacular fashion. Last year, a bunch of skydivers were hired to jump out of a blimp and land on the roof of Moscone Centre to show off Google Glass’ live video streaming. While this is much more speculation on what might be announced at the event, Google hopefully will not disappoint its devout followers, fans, and the rest of the technology industry. With so much in stock for just one event, how could anything possibly go wrong?

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