Android 5.0 notebooks, a Google smartwatch, and an Apple TV competitor coming our way?

May 10, 2013
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Chromebook

Whilst the new Nexus 7 may have been the big news from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo yesterday, he has also released some information, or shall I call it speculation, about some other future Google projects today.

There’s mention of an Apple TV competitor and a Google smartwatch, which we’ll delve into in a minute, and, perhaps most interestingly, some rumors regarding notebooks and Android 5.0.

Of course, Google already has Chrome OS fighting in the laptop corner, but with the operating system struggling to gain mainstream appeal and an OS merger now out of the picture, you can understand why Google may be interested in trying out Android on more traditional computers.

However, Kuo doesn’t believe that we’ll see any of these products at Google I/O this year, and states that Google probably won’t be the first to market with an Android-powered notebook:

We think Android Book featuring Android.4x will be rolled out in the coming 3-4 months because some brand vendors, like Samsung, want to move first.

Sounds like logical reasoning. As we know that Android is making a move into the notebook space, Intel already told us as much, you can bet that Samsung, and other manufacturers, will want to put products to the market as early as possible. But as Android 4.x isn’t really optimised for laptops, the user experience could be a little lacklustre. Which is perhaps where the next major version of Android comes in?

Kuo gives a major hint that Android 5.0 (Key Lime Pie?) could be, at least in part, orientated around improving a laptop/notebook experience, but that we won’t be seeing any Google products in this category until these features are ready.

Android Book won’t be introduced at the upcoming Google I/O as development of Android 5.0, which is targeted at (notebooks), is incomplete

Targeted at notebooks? Is Android about to pull a reversal on us and move away from a touch input focus? It’s an interesting statement to say the least, but remember that Jelly Bean added features like multi-user support specifically to tablets, so there’s no reason why the next version of Android couldn’t add some sideline features for notebook users.

Moving on, we’ve all been hearing about Google’s rival to Apple TV for a while, so is the service about to step it up a notch?

Kuo suggests that whilst an Apple TV-like competitor is still on the way, hardware changes have been causing delays which means that it probably won’t be appearing at Google I/O either. Supposedly, Google has decided to change from a Nvidia Tegra-powered chipset to Texas Instrument’s OMAP, which I presume means that a pretty big redesign has taken place.

Finally, how about a Google smartwatch? Again there’s been plenty of speculation floating around about this particular product as well, and surprise surprise, according to Kuo we won’t be seeing a Google smartwatch for a while yet either. Apparently the smartwatch won’t go into mass production until next year, and could be launched to accompany other wearable technologies like Google Glass.

Google Smartwatch 3D render concept

So did Kuo actually tell us anything of worth here? Well yes and no. These are still rumors, and since none of these products are set for release we won’t be able to confirm or deny their existence any time soon. On the other hand, if true, these rumors give us an interesting insight into what Google has planned for the future. Directly taking on Microsoft and Apple in the laptop space with Android would be a bold move by Google, but the timing seems right when you look at the poor sales of Windows 8.

I suppose the real important question is will consumers actually be interested in any of these products? Would you buy an Android-based laptop, a smartwatch, or Google TV box?

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