Google has announced that registrations for this year's Google I/O conference will open on March 13. The event itself is scheduled for May 15 through 17. The event is still a few months away, but we have an idea of what we're sure to see and we're likely to see.Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie
One thing you can bet on is Android 5.0, codename Key Lime Pie. It's been more than a year since Android 4.0 was introduced.
There have been a couple of big releases since, both under the codename Jelly Bean, but both have been incremental releases, they focused on what was good in ICS and made it better or fixed what wasn't working.
The latest Android 4.2 Jelly Bean is faster, smoother, more stable than ICS and comes with a few more bells and whistles, but regular users will be pressed to see the differences.
Android 5.0 could be different, it's about time Google introduced something new and, chances are, Key Lime Pie is going to be a big improvement over the current Android.
The difference may not be as big as the jump from Gingerbread to ICS, but expect some big changes to the UI at least.
On the other hand, Google could go the other way and focus less on the underlying OS, which has reached a rather polished state, and more on the user facing features and services, chief among those being Google Now.
The next-generation search tool is one of Android's biggest gems, but it's not going to be exclusive to Android for long.
Google is working on building Now into Chrome
and you can expect the personalized search tool to be present in plenty of Google products soon enough.
It depends on how much Google has been able to achieve with Now, but the company may have some very interesting things to showcase.New Nexus 7
Along with the new OS, Google will have at least one Nexus device to showcase it on. The safest bet is on a new Nexus 7, possibly a slightly larger one with a 7.8 inch screen to better compete with the iPad Mini.
Apart from the bigger screen, the internals will most likely be bumped up to a Tegra 4 SoC, while the prices will stay roughly the same.
Google may try to one-up Apple and add a Retina-class display into the mix, but won't do it unless it can keep the price down. The Nexus 7 has been a huge success so don't expect the formula to change that much.Possibly a Nexus 5
While a new Nexus 7 is almost a given, there are also rumors of a successor to the Nexus 4, tentatively named Nexus 5.
LG has said that it is working with Google on several devices, but there's not much to go on for now.
It's quite possible that the Nexus 5, if it exists, will be more of an update on the Nexus 4 rather than a new device, akin to the upgrade from the LG Optimus G, on which the Nexus 4 is based, to the LG Optimus G Pro.Motorola X
Sticking with the mobile space, Google I/O 2013 may also witness the debut of the mythical Motorola X
, the superphone Google is said to be working on ever since it completed the Motorola acquisition.
The company is said to be throwing everything it's got at this new halo device, which is why it may not be ready in time for I/O. If it is, expect it to be the star of the show.Google Glass
Another safe bet is that we'll be seeing a lot of Google Glass at this year's I/O. Google is already holding a competition for the most dedicated fans
, promising to sell the device to whoever manages to provide an interesting use case for it.
Developers who preordered Google Glass at last year's I/O should start getting the device as well, so the excitement should be building up ahead of the conference.
Google is said to be aiming for a late 2013 launch for Google Glass in the general channels, so things should be precipitating fast. Google Stores
Speaking of Glass, one recent rumor is that Google is working on opening its own retail stores
, akin to Apple's. Google has plenty of hardware already, so a store may not be such a bad idea.
People would be much more likely to buy a Chromebook if they could use it in person first, especially something as expensive as the new Chromebook Pixel
Incidentally, the Pixel would have been another safe bet for Google I/O if Google wouldn't have released it already.
The same goes double for Google Glass, people are not going to shell out the money for a decent laptop on a device so unproven without getting their hands, or rather their heads on it.
Granted, a store doesn't have much to do with a developer event, so Google may launch them ahead or after Google I/O. That said, you're probably going to see most of the devices that will end up in the stores at the event.Expect the unexpected
It's strange that a software company is focusing so much on hardware these days. There will be plenty of announcements on the software side, new APIs, new products and services, but it's the gadgets that capture most people's imaginations.
Finally, the one last thing to expect is surprises, Google is sure to have a few more things up its sleeve than it lets on, like the ill fated Nexus Q, but hopefully a bit more thought out.