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Google I/O 2013 Rumor Roundup: Nexus 5, X Phone, Android 5.0, Android 4.3, New Nexus 7, Nexus 11

Say, what do you think was 2012’s biggest tech event? What do you mean CES? No, it wasn’t! And Samsung’s Unpacked events revealing the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 weren’t either. Instead, it was Google’s I/O conference.

Just think about it. Google introduced the Nexus 7 during the conference, as well as Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and Project Glass. Right, and the Nexus Q too, but boy, was that a flop.


Regardless, Google I/O 2012 should remain a historical event in Android’s evolution, as it brought us the first real iPad challenger, but also the most stable and beautiful version of our favorite mobile OS.

As you can imagine, expectations are riding high as to whether or not Google can follow on the 2012 I/O with a similarly spectacular event this year. Naturally, every piece of hardware or software to be revealed during the conference is for now covered in mystery, but we have more than a few hints.

The rumor mill has been grinding for more than half a year already, with at least four Android devices in the mix for an I/O intro, plus a new version of Android. It’s highly unlikely though that Google will be making more than two or three big announcements between May 15 and 17, so let’s round up the usual suspects and see which ones are more likely to be the stars of the show.

Nexus 5

Only five months have passed since Nexus 4’s release, out of which at least a couple have been crippled by limited supply, but an N5 unveiling is definitely in the cards for this May.

The latest word around the block is the new Nexus phone has been “delayed”, but can we really be sure after so many rumors, speculations and “leaks” in the first few months of 2013? No, we cannot.


But if the N5 is to come so soon, does that mean it won’t step things up too much compared with its predecessor? Not necessarily. For one thing, the new handheld might not be manufactured by LG, but instead HTC. In which case chances are the Taiwanese have been working at the thing for more than six months.

As for the N5’s spec sheet, different sources have been telling us different things, but the surest bets are a quad-core Snapdragon 800 CPU, 2 or 3 GB of RAM, 4G LTE speeds, a 16 MP camera and a monster 3,300 mAh battery.

Chances for an I/O unveiling: 50%

X Phone

After popping up in an AnTuTu benchmark, the mythical Motorola X Phone seemed like a sure I/O bet, but the same tipster that claimed the N5 has been delayed said the X is not coming very soon either.

If you ask me, there’s no chance in hell both phones have been pushed back, but I think Google will be looking to intro just one of them at I/O. Which one remains to be seen…

X Phone

In terms of specs and features, things are even more confusing for the X than for the N5. One thing seems certain nevertheless, and that’s this thing won’t exactly be a top of the line device to take on the giants of today.

Instead, it will likely be what the N4 was in late 2012 – a budget-conscious upper mid-ranger with a couple of flaws, but many more aces up its sleeve.

Chances for an I/O unveiling: 50%

Second-gen Nexus 7

By far the surest bet in terms of hardware launches at I/O, the second-gen Nexus 7 is likely to push the envelope a little further in terms of speed, display size, but also pricing. The most credible rumors so far paint the picture of a 7.8 or 7.9-inch new N7 with a Tegra 4 processor and likely a Full HD screen. Does that sound awesome or what?


Chances for an I/O unveiling: 75%

Nexus 11

This is more of a long shot, but, if a Nexus 5 is due out just six months after the N4’s release, why wouldn’t an N11 also come very soon after the N10? Still, chances are Samsung has other things to worry about at the moment, so even if an 11-inch Full HD Nexus tab with an octa-core processor is in the pipeline, it will probably not be introduced earlier than next fall.

Chances for an I/O unveiling: 20%

Upgraded 32 GB Nexus 4 with LTE

This sounds more like a back-up plan for Google if both the N5 and X Phone will fall through (which I don’t think is the case), but who knows, maybe such an underwhelming “new” handheld is in fact what’s coming.

What’s certain is Google will be disappointing a lot of Android geeks if the only phone debuting at this year’s I/O will be a modest rehash of a 2012 device.

Chances for an I/O unveiling: 30%

Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie

A near certainty until just last week, the debut of a whole new version of Android is now said to not happen until the fall. In all honesty though, 4.1 Jelly Bean was a major upgrade, despite the incremental look of its version number, so it would make sense for Google to take a little breather.


After all, 4.0 ICS was launched in December 2011 and JB came a mere eight months later. At the same time, Jelly Bean is the most praised Android version to date, so taking a little more time to work the kinks of the next big upgrade would probably be the wisest thing.

Chances for an I/O unveiling: 50%

Android 4.3 Jelly Bean

Obviously, if Google won’t bring Key Lime Pie to I/O, it will intro a new, slightly tweaked version of Jelly Bean and the other way around. Again, it would make sense for 4.3 to come instead of 5.0 for a number of reasons, including the Android distribution chart that still doesn’t look great for the newest versions of the OS.

Only over 15% of all Android devices run JB, close to 29% are on ICS and a whopping 44% remain stuck on Gingerbread, so maybe Google wants to limit fragmentation a little before throwing its hat in the ring with Android 5.0.

Chances for an I/O unveiling: 50%


Besides the major releases and announcements, Google’s bosses are likely to take the San Francisco stage for a bunch of other more minor unveilings. A couple new Chromebooks could be introduced in May, as well as new versions of software products like Chrome, G Drive, Docs, Gmail and so on and so forth.

Though it won’t exactly be minor, I think a Glass announcement is in store too, likely the official announcement of the gizmo as a consumer product and maybe its slating for a commercial debut later this year.

That’s all I can think of for now, but keep in touch with us over the next couple of weeks and especially around May 15 to see exactly what surprises Google has been preparing.

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