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Google I/O no-shows: Three products curiously absent from the keynote

Evan Dashevsky | May 17, 2013
For all the cool things that Google introduced at this year's I/O keynote, several of the items that the tech press definitely, absolutely, positively thought would be included in the presentation were curiously absent. No Android update? No new Nexus tablet? Not more than a peep on that groundbreaking Internet-on-your-face technology that Sergey Brin quietly introduced last year?

For all the cool things that Google introduced at this year's I/O keynote, several of the items that the tech press definitely, absolutely, positively thought would be included in the presentation were curiously absent. No Android update? No new Nexus tablet? Not more than a peep on that groundbreaking Internet-on-your-face technology that Sergey Brin quietly introduced last year?

To be sure, Google's three-plus-hour keynote shined a spotlight on a lot of awesome new Web toys we're dying to play with. But the silent treatment on certain key Google products proves just as intriguing.

No Android update?
There was a lot of speculation in the blogosphere as to whether Google would use its keynote presentation to announce the coming of Android 5.0 (dubbed "Key Lime Pie") or merely tweak-up Jelly Bean to version 4.3. We certainly expected it. But when it came time for the big reveal... crickets.

The timing for a new Android release was just about right. Just look back at the recent OS release history: Android 3.0 ("Honeycomb") was introduced in February of 2011 and was supplanted only eight months later by Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich." Sandwich had a full nine months before 4.1 Jelly Bean debuted in July of 2012. While there have been some small updates to Jelly Bean, we haven't been introduced to a new sugary treat in more than 10 months, making Jelly Bean the longest surviving Android OS.

This doesn't mean that Key Lime Pie isn't right around the corner. It probably is. And at this point in Android's development, it does make sense that major new incarnations would begin to space out. Big infrastructure issues have been sorted out, and Google's development team can turn its attention to refinements--like we saw yesterday--rather than overhauls.

So, what's going on with Glass now?
Google Glass was the big thing to come out of last year's I/O. There certainly were plenty of dudes in the audience sporting them. At this year's keynote--aside from some cursory mentions about how new app features might be utilized--there wasn't much talk about how we'll all be Geordi La Forge-ing it. (Despite our most fervent recommendations on how to go about it.)

Since last year's keynote, Glass has made its way into the hands of developers, journalists, and a select class of consumers--and the reaction has been mostly meh, if not outright BLEH! It's still widely believed that Google will release Glass to the general public later this year (or possibly as late as the first quarter in 2014), which makes the relative silence to the development community a little suspect. This muteness may point to a massive refining effort on Google's part before the transformational technology can be released to the wider public.

 

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