Leading up to Google I/O, the rumors kept piling up. First there were rumors of the next Android, Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie. Then it was supposed to be a minor update, Android 4.3. There were also rumors of a new Nexus tablet, maybe even a phone.
Granted, most of the rumors were pure speculation, but they seemed plausible. In the years before, Google I/O was a place for big announcements. Google Glass was showcased there, the Nexus 7 as well, and so was Android 4.2 Jelly Bean.
This year though, there was nothing. Sure, there was a preview of the new Google Maps, a new Google+, some Android APIs, a music streaming service, but no new gadgets, no major new products.
That’s perhaps a bit disappointing to those watching at home, but Google I/O is a “developer conference” and this year Google wanted to make sure everyone got the message.
It started its keynote with some new Android APIs, a new IDE for Android apps and new services for developers. Nothing that would interest regular users.
But perhaps it’s a good thing. One of the rumored reasons for the delay of Android 5.0 is fragmentation. While people are slowly updating to Android 4.0 and above, mostly by buying new phones, plenty are still left with Android 2.3 Gingerbread.
Moving ahead with Android 5.0 wouldn’t help things, especially since Google can provide new features for developers via the Play services app, without having to update the entire operating system.
The same goes for the Nexus tablet. The Nexus 7 is still a capable device and can easily handle all the apps and games you can throw at it. A new device would mean bigger costs for Google for performance improvements that would not be felt by buyers.
Granted, a full HD resolution on a 7-inch screen would look gorgeous. Of course, a new tablet is coming, in the next few months most likely, but Google I/O was not the place to showcase it.