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Google IO 2013 starts tomorrow: what to expect

It's the moment that us Android addicts have been (im)patiently waiting for, Google IO 2013 starts tomorrow! So what can we expect at this year's I/O event? Read on to find out!
May 14, 2013
Google IO 2013

It’s the moment that us Google addicts have been (im)patiently waiting for, Google I/O 2013 starts tomorrow! From Google Glass to Google TV, and everything in-between, there’s a lot going down at I/O this year.

The big question is what all can we expect from Google I/O 2013. In a recent interview with Wired, Sundar Pichai said this year’s event will be more focused on the developers and the user experience. That means that it is probably a safe bet that we won’t see a Nexus 5 or even Key Lime Pie.

Based on all the clues that have been dropped leading up to I/O, here’s a guide to what you can expect:

Android 4.3 Jelly Bean

The wait for Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie has been nearly torturous, and it isn’t over yet. Android 4.3 has already shown up in our own server logs, and it is looking more likely that we aren’t done with Jelly Bean just yet.

As for what will be new with the next iteration of Jelly Bean? While we don’t know what all will be changed with Android 4.3, we have heard rumors that we will see support for Bluetooth Low Energy and OpenGL for Embedded Systems 3.0 graphics.

With OpenGL, Android will be able to take gaming and graphics-intense apps to a whole new level. That leads into the next major expectation for Google I/O.


Google Play Games

Just this weekend, a leaked Google Play Services update revealed that Android will soon be receiving a new “Games” feature that includes achievements, game matchmaking, cloud save syncing, in-game chat, leaderboards and more.

With several of the Google I/O sessions talking about games, this new GP Games feature will clearly be an important focal point at I/O. All we know for sure is that the service looks to be targeted at Android, but it wouldn’t be surprising if the new gaming features are cross-platform — making their way into Chrome, Chrome OS and maybe even Google Glass.

Google Glass

Google Glass is slowly pushing its way closer to a commercial release, with a possibility of release as early as late this year.

That means that we will certainly see Google Glass play some kind of role at Google I/O, and we might even see a few special apps mentioned and demo’d. There probably won’t be too many major surprises here, though.


Hangouts (AKA Google Babel)

Without a doubt, Google Babel has been one of the most talked about Google services in the last few months. The cross-platform messenger is now rumored to be called Google Hangouts and has even been spotted in leaked images.

You can pretty much guarantee that Google will make this service official at I/O.

Hardware Refreshes and Updates

It just wouldn’t be Google I/O if there were no new hardware announcements. We probably won’t see the return of the Nexus Q, the introduction of the Nexus 5 or anything truly crazy, but it is a pretty safe bet that we will at the very least see a Nexus 7 update.

As for what the tablet’s specs will be? It’s hard to say for sure, though KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims it is coming with a Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, 1920 x 1200 resolution 7-inch display and Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. Take those specs with a grain of salt.

Outside of the Nexus 7 refresh, things get a bit fuzzier. We’ve heard rumors about the X Phone debuting at I/O, but that is seeming less likely by the minute. The good news is that we might instead see a Motorola Smart Watch, though nothing is written in stone.

It is also possible that we could see a refreshed Nexus 4. After all, a white variant has already been spotted more than once and then there have even been rumors that an LTE-capable version is in the works.

Google TV

We haven’t heard much about Google TV as of late, except for the recent release of the Asus Cube. You might think that means that Google TV won’t be a focus at Google I/O. The good news is that back in March, Google TV Developers told us through G+ that we should “stay tuned for #GoogleTV news at I/O”, so that means some kind of GTV news is heading our way at I/O.

Here’s to hoping that the Google TV offers new functionality that works with Google’s upcoming Google Play Games initiative.

Other Wild Cards

We have now covered the biggest hitters at I/O, but don’t be surprised if there are a bunch of other smaller changes and announcements, such as a new Google Maps update with an improved UI and a new Gmail update. An announcement about a Google Play music subscription service wouldn’t be too crazy either.

On the Chrome OS side of things, there has been some indication that new apps that further push the limits of Chrome OS (online and off) will make their way to I/O.

Last but not least: For fans of Ingress can expect a huge Ingress event taking place at I/O this year.

Bottom-line, Google I/O 2013 might not see tons of new hardware, or even the latest and greatest Key Lime Pie, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t going to be an epic event. In fact for gamers, it is shaping up to be one of the most exciting I/O events yet.

Regardless of what Google throws our way, Android Authority will be there ready to go with first-class live coverage as the event unfolds!