5 things we’d like to see at Google I/O 2023 (but probably won’t)

Google’s annual developer conference, Google I/O, begins on May 10. However, don’t let the words “developer conference” put you off, as Google I/O is one of the biggest and most exciting shows of the year.

We’ve already covered what we can expect to see at Google I/O 2023, and that list includes the Pixel 7a, Android 14, and even a Google Pixel Fold. But while these are all things we’re really looking forward to and expecting to see, there are plenty of reveals we’d also like to see happen… but are highly unlikely to see on the big stage.

Here are five things we’d like to see at Google I/O 2023, but probably won’t.

Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro

Joe Maring/Digital Trends

The Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro are two of our favorite current flagships. The Pixel 7, in particular, is one of the best value Android phones you can buy right now — combining top-notch power and an amazing camera at a reasonable price. In some ways, it’s going to be hard for Google to top last year’s devices when it comes to the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro, but we think they can do it if they focus on a few specific areas.

The Google Pixel 8 and 8 Pro are two devices we’re very likely to see — eventually. Since the Pixel 7 series only launched in October 2022, we wouldn’t expect the follow-up devices to be revealed until October 2023. Google has made some surprises in the past, but we wouldn’t expect to see these specific devices in May. No, it’s much more likely that Google wants to focus on the reveal and launch of the Pixel 7a, and if it pulls off an Apple-style “and finally,” it’s much more likely to be the Pixel Fold, rather than a Pixel 8.

In the event that the Pixel 8 does make an appearance, it will only be in the form of a very short teaser and nothing more.

Google Pixel Watch 2

The Pixel watch on a person's wrist.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Pixel Watch was the mainstay of these lists, but then Google went ahead and released it, so we guess we should stop making jokes about the Pixel Watch’s launch status now.

Go to the Pixel Watch 2 instead.

The Pixel Watch 2 is likely to have an easier time than the Pixel 8 above, as it’s not exactly following a hit. The Google Pixel Watch, although perhaps one of the most anticipated products of 2022, was a disappointment. Google had the opportunity to create an Apple Watch for Wear OS and somehow succeeded. Only, it was an Apple Watch Series 1, rather than an Apple Watch Series 8. The Pixel Watch felt like an outdated relic moments after its release, with a boring design, useless battery life, and a lack of any truly compelling features. Compare it to something like the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 and you’ll be disappointed.

The core of the Pixel Watch’s problems was not replicating what its competition has been doing right for years — but Google has a chance to fix that in the Pixel Watch 2. We’ve written extensively about what the Pixel Watch 2 needs to improve on and it’s a scary list for Google. Whether it is at hand or not will have to be proven next year.

So why aren’t we hearing about the Pixel Watch 2 at I/O? Honestly, that’s because we haven’t heard anything about it yet. The smartwatch world is leakier than a sieve, and Pixel Watch 2 rumors are largely non-existent. Google may have started work on the Pixel Watch 2, but those plans aren’t as likely to be where they need to be for an I/O 2023 reveal.

A new Pixelbook

The Google Pixelbook on a desk.

“Pixelbook” might be an unfamiliar name to many, and that might be because we haven’t seen a new Pixelbook since 2019. That gap would normally make it a strong early contender for a refresh at any of Google’s events this year. Unfortunately, Google seems to be going all out on Chromebooks, with rumors saying it shut down work on a new Pixelbook last year.

It’s a real shame, as the Pixelbook Go was one of the best Chromebooks we’ve tested and was a solid reason to consider getting a Chromebook for more casual computing. So what happened and why did Google lose interest in pursuing the Pixelbook dream?

Competition is fierce in the Chromebook arena, and Google must have realized its time was better spent elsewhere. With manufacturers like Asus, Acer, Lenovo, Dell, Samsung, and HP fighting for the Chromebook market, a relatively small hardware maker like Google couldn’t afford to waste resources in a fight it couldn’t see himself winning. So, while the Pixelbook Go is a great device, don’t expect to see a Pixelbook Go 2 launch at Google I/O 2023.

However, there is a bright side – Google is trying to improve many Android tablets. The Pixel Tablet was announced at last year’s Google I/O, and we can expect to see more of it at this year’s I/O as well. If this tablet expands further into 2-in-1 territory, then it’s not beyond expectation that Google can roll back much of what made the Pixelbook Go such a great device.

Google’s AR headset

Google's AR smart glasses translation feature introduced.

Google Glass was the first mainstream smart augmented reality technology that most of us can remember, and while that particular product has gone the way of the dodo, Google hasn’t given up hope in augmented reality. AR, as the cool kids call it, has improved by leaps and bounds on smartphones, and we’re now at the point where you can use a Google search to project a 3D model of a wolf into your living room through your display device. While it’s essentially just a fun tool to see how big animals are, it’s a testament to how far AR technology has come in just a few years.

Indeed, Google is we’re working on even more AR technology, and we tested this at last year’s I/O. Using a mix of Google’s smart AI and AR technologies, the demo showed how to create subtitles in real life, using automatic transcription tools to write subtitles on a small overlay built into a pair of glasses. While there was no indication in this demo that this would become an actual product, Google later announced that it would be sending prototype AR glasses to specific people.

That sounds exciting, and it is — but we shouldn’t expect it to translate into anything just yet. There’s no indication that Google is preparing an AR product for Google I/O 2023, so we’d probably be wise to wait until next year for new Google smart glasses.

Google Home Max 2

Google Home Max on a table.

Google’s range of smart speakers has undergone major changes in recent years, including a rebrand from “Home” to “Nest” and some pretty dramatic changes to the lineup. One of those was the well-received Google Home Max, the premium smart speaker that offered great sound and Google Assistant support in a big, bassy package. Shutting down in 2020, it could be time for Google to bring back its big smart speaker, following the successful new versions of the Apple HomePod 2 and the Sonos Era 300.

It will be interesting to see what Google does with a new Home Max 2 / Nest Max 2 smart speaker, especially given the radical changes in smart technology that have taken place since the original Home Max launched in October 2017. The original Home Max was a fantastic speaker in its own right, so Google will have to be careful not to disrupt that strong legacy, while also upgrading its smart AI capabilities to the level we’d expect today.

But as awesome as a Home Max 2 would be, it’s highly unlikely we’ll see it at Google I/O 2023. There haven’t been any rumors of its existence, and Google probably sees the Nest Hub Max filling the same hole the Home Max 2 will wanted to fill in. While we’d love to see a powerful speaker that can match the many speakers that have been released recently, it’s highly unlikely to happen in May.

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