Google’s annual developer conference, Google I/O, kicks off on May 10. Don’t let the words “developer conference” put you off, though, as Google I/O is one of the biggest and most exciting shows of the year.
We’ve already covered what we expect to see at Google I/O 2023, and that list includes the Pixel 7a, Android 14, and even a Google Pixel Fold. But although those are all things we’re really looking forward to and expecting to see, there are a number of reveals we’d also love to happen … but are extremely unlikely to appear on the grand stage.
Here are five things we’d love to see at Google I/O 2023, but probably won’t.
The Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro are two of our favorite current flagship devices. The Pixel 7, in particular, is one of the best Android phone values you can buy right now — combining flagship power and a stunning camera at a reasonable price. In some ways, it’s going to be tough for Google to top last year’s devices when it comes to the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro, but we think it can do it if it focuses on a few specific areas.
The Google Pixel 8 and 8 Pro are two devices we’re extremely likely to see — eventually. Since the Pixel 7 range has only just been launched in October 2022, we wouldn’t expect to see the follow-up devices revealed until closer to October 2023. Google has pulled some surprise reveals before, but we wouldn’t expect to see these particular devices as soon as May. No, it’s much more likely that Google is going to want to focus on the Pixel 7a’s reveal and release, and if it pulls an Apple-esque “and finally”, it’s far more likely to be the Pixel Fold, rather than a Pixel 8.
On the off chance the Pixel 8 does make an appearance, it’ll just be in the form of a very brief teaser and nothing more.
On to the Pixel Watch 2, instead.
The Pixel Watch 2 is likely to have an easier time of it than the Pixel 8 above, as it’s not exactly following a hit. The Google Pixel Watch, while probably one of the most anticipated products of 2022, was a disappointment. Google had the chance to create an Apple Watch for Wear OS, and in some ways, it succeeded. Only, it was an Apple Watch Series 1, rather than an Apple Watch Series 8. The Pixel Watch felt like an out-of-date relic mere moments after release, with a boring design, rubbish battery life, and lack of any really compelling features. Compare it to something like the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5, and you’re going to be disappointed.
Core to the Pixel Watch’s problems was not copying what its competition had been doing right for years — but Google has a chance to put that right in the Pixel Watch 2. We’ve written extensively about what the Pixel Watch 2 needs to improve, and it’s a daunting list for Google. Whether or not it’s up to the task will have to be proven in the coming year.
So why won’t we hear about the Pixel Watch 2 at I/O? Frankly, it’s because we haven’t heard a peep about it yet. The smartwatch world is leakier than a wicker colander, and rumors about the Pixel Watch 2 are largely non-existent. Google is likely to have started work on the Pixel Watch 2, but those plans just as likely aren’t anywhere near where they need to be for a reveal at I/O 2023.
“Pixelbook” may be an unfamiliar name to many, and that might be because we’ve not seen a new Pixelbook since 2019. That sort of gap would normally make this a strong initial contender for a refresh at any of Google’s events this year. Unfortunately, Google seems to be completely through building Chromebooks, with rumors saying it shut down work on a new Pixelbook last year.
It’s a real shame, as the Pixelbook Go was one of the best Chromebooks we’d tested, and a serious reason to consider buying a Chromebook for more casual computing. So what happened, and why has Google lost interest in pursuing the Pixelbook dream?
Competition is fierce in the Chromebook arena, and Google must have figured its time was better spent elsewhere. With manufacturers like Asus, Acer, Lenovo, Dell, Samsung, and HP all gunning for the Chromebook market, a relatively small hardware producer like Google couldn’t afford to waste resources in a fight it couldn’t see itself winning. So despite the Pixelbook Go being a great device, don’t expect to see a Pixelbook Go 2 launched at Google I/O 2023.
There’s a bright side, though — Google is trying its hand at improving a lot of Android tablets, instead. The Pixel Tablet was announced at last year’s Google I/O, and we can expect to see more of it at this year’s I/O as well. If that tablet expands further into 2-in-1 territory, then it’s not beyond expectations that Google might fold in plenty of what made the Pixelbook Go such a good device.
Google Glass was the first mainstream augmented reality smart tech most of us remember, and while that particular product has gone the way of the dodo, Google hasn’t given up hope in augmented reality. AR, as it’s called by the cool kids, has been improving in leaps and bounds on smartphones, and we’re now at the point where you can use a Google search to project a 3D model of a wolf into your living room through your device’s display. While basically just a fun tool to see how big animals are, it stands as a testament to how far AR tech has come in just a few short years.
Indeed, Google is working on even more AR tech, and we got a taster of that at last year’s I/O. Using a blend of Google’s AI and AR smarts, the demonstration showed how to create subtitles in real life, using automatic transcribing tools to write subtitles in a small overlay built into a pair of glasses. While there was no indication in this demonstration that this would become an actual product, Google later announced it would be sending prototype AR glasses to specific people.
That sounds exciting, and it is — but we shouldn’t expect it to translate to anything just yet. There’s been no indication Google is cooking up an AR product for Google I/O 2023, so it would probably be wise to wait until next year for new Google smart glasses.
Google’s smart speaker range has gone through some big shakeups in recent years, including a brand change from “Home” to “Nest”, and some pretty dramatic lineup changes. One of those was axing the well-received Google Home Max, the premium smart speaker that offered great sound and Google Assistant support in one big, bassy package. Discontinued in 2020, it could be time for Google to bring back its big smart speaker, following the successful new releases of the Apple HomePod 2 and the Sonos Era 300.
It would be interesting to see what Google to do with a new Home Max 2 / Nest Max 2 smart speaker, especially given the radical changes in smart technology that have been made since the original Home Max’s release in October 2017. The original Home Max was a fantastic speaker in its own right, so Google would have to be careful not to disrupt that strong legacy, while also upgrading the smart AI capabilities to the level we’d expect today.
But as awesome as a Home Max 2 would be, we’re extremely unlikely to see it at Google I/O 2023. There have been no rumors about its existence, and Google probably sees the Nest Hub Max as filling the same hole the Home Max 2 would want to fill. While we’d love to see a punchy speaker that can go toe-to-toe with the many newly released speakers, it’s very unlikely to happen in May.
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