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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?

While most of Google's speakers elected not to mention Glass directly, CEO Larry Page was directly asked about the future of the product during a postscript Q&A session. "Glass is a new category, it's quite different than existing computing devices, so I think it's great that we've started on it, but I think our main goal is to get happy users using Glass," he said, subtly acknowledging the initial negative reaction to the product.

"We want to make sure we're building experiences that really make people happy," he said. "So the team has tried to build the minimal set of things, just for practical sake, a minimal set of things that will provide a great experience and make happy users. And then we can get going and work on it for the next 10 years. And every successive one is going to be better."

While Google may have plans to invest in Glass for another 10 years, I'm starting to question if we will indeed see a wide release in this year. Page's response seemed to confirm that the brass believes the technology isn't ready and has no firm timeline for when it will be.

As far as we know, no other manufacturer is far along the stage of developing wearable internet-face tech, so Google can afford to take their time fixing their buggy, headache-inducing product.

Where's that Nexus 11 at?
Google's line of Nexus products could never be accused of being the subject of too much excitement. While the Nexus phone may be close to joining the Nexus Q in that big obsolete trash heap in the sky (further proofed by the fact that Google just announced it would be selling a version of the Samsung Galaxy S4 running on out-of-the-box Android software), Nexus tablets have been a tepid success.

In fact, combined with tablets from a variety of manufactures, Android has quietly managed to take the majority of the tablet market away from iOS. Android tablets have shown great success in the medium or mini category (and thus causing the birth of the iPad Mini), but less so in the full-sized tablet market. While Nexus 10 sales in particular have proven anemic, many in the press were still expecting the introduction of an 11-inch Nexus, with some outlets all but confirming it.

So why didn't it materialize? One possible reason is that the bigs at Google know that if they're going to release a tablet to compete with the full-sized iPad, it is going to have something special going for it. Perhaps the company and its manufacturing partners are refining a new take on gesture or hover control; better voice or gaming features; or just something weird and unknown. Unless Google is able to release some truly "phenomenal" mobile hardware as Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt recently promised, Apple will continue to rule the premium tablet market.


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