Google didn’t deliver the gadget goods at I/O, so what’s its game?

Google IO didn't deliver the gadget goods, so what's Google's game

Although Google is famed for its Nexus phones and tablets, its roots are in software, and this year at Google I/O it returned to them in a big way. The three-hour-plus Google I/O keynote presentation was almost devoid of new device announcements, save for the three minutes spent talking about the Nexus-like Samsung Galaxy S4. The disappointment many of us are feeling is partially Google’s own fault, as last year’s extravaganza – complete with skydiving Glass-wearers and the introduction of the Nexus 7 tablet – fooled us into thinking this year’s show could be even greater. It seems we collectively chose to ignore the warnings it would be all about the developers this time around, but few were prepared for such a drastic switch.

New services such as All Access music and Google Play games, plus updates to Maps, Google Now, and Google+ all took precedence over new devices, as did niche appeal developer tools such as app translation services, low-power location modes and Android Studio. Sure, Google has a bewildering portfolio of tools, software and devices, so it must be difficult to decide which will be given time to shine during an event as high-profile as Google I/O. However, we’re talking about three and a half hours here, not a Nokia-swift 40 minutes.

It’s not like Google doesn’t have any hardware to talk about

As more software was paraded in front of us, the glaring absence of any exciting new devices became more noticeable. Products we’d been all excited about became far off dreams. Granted, a smartwatch, the Nexus 5, and the Nexus 11 tablet were always outside chances; but the one thing most of us were banking on being there, an updated Nexus 7 tablet, was also a no-show. This was a genuine surprise, as leaving aside the rumors and analyst predictions about it, the tablet is now a year old, and almost every manufacturer out there updates its products at least every 12-months or so. The Nexus 7 may still be a good little tablet, but it’s far from the cheapest anymore, and new challengers are coming out regularly enough to turn consumers’ heads.

Products we’d been all excited about became far off dreams.

Then there are the phones Google is working on with its new-best-friend Motorola. Their existence isn’t speculation either. We know Google is busy working with Motorola on some new smartphones because Google has told us. Celebrating a working partnership by showing the fruits of its labor sounds like perfect fodder for Google I/O, but no such luck. Google Glass, currently the hottest piece of unreleased tech on the planet, was also absent. It’s an instant crowd-pleaser, and any details at all – an app demo, feedback from Explorers, anything – would have been lapped up. And no, quips about tech pundit and renowned Glasshole Robert Scoble’s shower pic don’t count.

It could be part of Google’s master plan…

While we all waited for the big gadget reveal which never came, it was also all too easy to forget the one big piece of software Google didn’t talk about: the next version of Android. The lack of an Android update at I/O is incredibly significant. For the first time in ages, we’re leaving the event still using the same version of Android we were when we went in. Google’s Android update schedule has always been haphazard, but I/O usually serves us a luscious slice of Android confectionery on which to munch. Android’s absence is the most probable cause of our new gadget withdrawal symptoms though, as the two are inextricably linked; so without a new operating system to install on new hardware, what would be the point of any announcements?

Google I/O 2013 Apps

We know Google has plenty of cool new devices in the works that it didn’t want to chat about. Apparently, it’s become strategically advantageous for it to withhold Android. What game is it playing?

For the first time in a few years, it seems Google I/O has been reclaimed by the developers, and because of this, Google looks to capitalizing on the opportunity to put on another show at a later date, aimed this time at us, the consumers. It’s hardly a stretch, as putting the announcement of a new version of Android – be it 4.3 Jelly Bean or 5.0 Key Lime Pie – together with a range of exciting updated devices, all wrapped up in a spectacular event, really does make perfect sense.

So when could this take place? How about just after summer, around September perhaps? By this time, Android 5.0 could be ready, and almost the entire Nexus range will be ripe for updating, leaving an all-new Motorola X Phone as the icing on the cake. It would also be strategically well-timed, as Apple has promised it’s got some “amazing” products planned for – shock – about the same time. While Google I/O didn’t deliver the gadget goods, it may pave the way for a monumental event which will.


A render video gives us a 360-degree look at the midrange Pixels

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are considered to be two of the best Android smartphones, but it looks like Google could be prepping a midrange line. Say hello to the Pixel 3 Lite and Pixel 3 Lite XL.

Google to end support for Android devices running Ice Cream Sandwich

Anyone with an old phone that is still running Android 4.0 may want to look into upgrading their phone, as Google has announced that it will be ending support for this older version of Android.

Google confirms Allo chat app will shut down in 2019

Another day, another messaging app reportedly shutting down. Following reports of Google Hangouts shutting down, Google Allo might be next. While Google has yet to confirm, the tech giant may be putting an end to the chat app soon.

Google is adding Pixel 3 eSIM support for carriers around the world

Google's latest flagships, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, are now official and we have all the details from the October 9 event in New York City and Paris. Here's everything we know about the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.

Honor to out-megapixel the competition with 48MP camera on upcoming View 20

After its phenomenal success with the View 10 in 2018, it looks like Honor is getting ready up the ante with its forthcoming Honor View 20. Here's everything we know about it so far.

Xiaomi is preparing to set records with 48-megapixel phone camera

Bigger doesn't always mean better, but it certainly makes headlines. Chinese mobile giant Xiaomi is set to release a phone camera with a staggeringly large 48 megapixels on a single sensor.

Patent highlights Apple's sky-high ambitions for AirPower wireless charger

At its September event last year, Apple unveiled the AirPower -- its new wireless charging mat that will allow you to charge multiple devices at one time. It has not yet been released. Here's everything we know about the device so far.

Check out the best Green Monday deals for those last-minute gifts

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, but that doesn't mean you've missed your chance of finding a great deal. We're talking about Green Monday, of course, and it falls on December 10.

Google Fit app finally gets a widget, among other new features

Google Fit hasn't received any new features since its redesign. This week, the company is rolling some new tools; users will be able to add a widget to their Android home screen, adjust the intensity of their workouts, and more.
Home Theater

Step aside set-top boxes, the best streaming sticks are tiny and just as powerful

Which streaming stick reigns supreme? We pit the Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra against the Roku Premiere, Roku Streaming Stick+, and the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K to help you decide which one will be the best fit in your living room.
Home Theater

Boy dies after being electrocuted through his headphones

A 16-year-old Malaysian boy appears to be the latest victim in a growing list of people who have been electrocuted by their smartphones via their headphones. It's believed that a faulty charging cable is the culprit.
Social Media

Walkie-talkie voice messaging finally comes to Instagram

In its latest grab from messaging apps, Instagram now lets you send walkie-talkie style voice messages. Apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Snapchat, and iMessage have offered the feature for some time.

Sign up for Verizon Fios Triple Play and get a free Amazon Echo, Prime for a year

Verizon is now offering its Fios Gigabit Connection Custom TV and Phone service with Amazon Prime tossed in. While valid, you can sign up for the company’s Triple Play package, which includes all three Fios services, for $80 per month.

19 portable tech gadgets you’ll want to use every day

If you're looking for portable tech to keep you charged up while on the go (or for some great stocking stuffer ideas), we've rounded up 19 must-have gadgets. You'll find everything from a mini gaming controller to a folding Bluetooth…