In our Google I/O poll, we looked at what Google could possibly announce this week to measure up to the high bar set by last year's skydiving introduction of Google Glass, along with the Nexus 7, Android Jelly Bean, and the apparently ill-fated Nexus Q.
Most of you were interested in seeing some really cool new Nexus hardware from Google this week. It's a sentiment I share, but I also have a fantasy that we'll see something relatively unexpected and bleeding edge that will top even last year's Glass debut. I've come up with four imagined Google I/O announcements that I think are highly unlikely, but within the realm of possibility, and would have the whole world buzzing for weeks to come.
Just to be clear: I have no evidence any of these things will happen this week. In fact, I'm pretty positive three of them won't come true anytime soon. It's just my (admittedly demanding) wish list for Santa Brin and his elves in Mountain View. Let's hope they're listening.
1. A bundle of wearable technology devices for $500 by Christmas:
The more we're online, the happier Google is. This philosophy has given us Android and mobile devices offered at below-market prices, like the Nexus 7 and Nexus 4. Glass and a rumored Google smartwatch extend the approach by making it easier to be connected and online anywhere. The way I see it, if the goal is to make us all cyborgs, why not go all in and offer a serious package made up of the rumored Motorola X Phone, Glass, and the smartwatch. To really sell it, make it a loss-leader bundle for as low as $500 total, and get it to us before Christmas.
Reality check: I actually believe the least likely part of this fantasy scenario is the timeline. It looks like average consumers have little chance of seeing Glass in 2013. I also think the smartwatch may never hit the market, but it rounds out my imagined package nicely. I do think we'll see a super phone designed for Glass when the time comes, and the price for Glass is likely to be considerably lower than $1,500.
2. Nationwide Google Fiber:
So this is mainly a selfish fantasy that has accumulated over the countless seconds of daydreaming that occur while dealing with latency on my home satellite connection. An announcement this week that Google is pursuing a nationwide rollout of gigabit Internet connectivity could alter not only the Internet, but the entire economy in pretty fundamental ways.
Reality check: The only reason Google Fiber is on our radar at all right now is the recent addition of a handful of cities to the program. Despite this expansion, it remains a limited experiment in a few small- to medium-sized cities. The moment Google announced a major rollout, it would run into a wall of regulatory and legal challenges from just about anyone with skin in the broadband game. Not to mention that such an endeavor wouldn't exactly be cheap or easy, even for a behemoth like Google. But we can dream.
3. A convertible Nexus tablet/laptop:
In my search for the ultimate device that bridges the gap between productivity power and mobility, I've sampled many laptops, tablets, and hybrids. I thought the Surface Pro could be the killer solution, but I still found myself preferring my Nexus 7 when it was time to go mobile or chill. But maybe jamming touch on top of Windows isn't the right way. I'd be very excited to see a reference design from Google for an Android/Chromebook hybrid system that offers more power and productivity than an Android tablet, but keeps the ease of use and design chops of my Nexus 7.
Reality check: Chrome OS still can't quite compete with the likes of Windows or the MacOS. By all accounts, there's some barriers between the Chrome team and other parts of Google, but perhaps not for long. I don't think we'll see my dream piece of Google hardware so soon after the introduction of the Pixel Chromebook, but this wish could come true in the not-too-distant future.
4. A serious Android @Home offering:
A few years ago, Android @Home was a big part of Google I/O, but the home connectivity and automation platform is still relatively unknown to the world. With what seems like a real push to make Google Now more robust, why not give us more Google in our domestic lives? Teaming up Google Now with light switches and the thermostat could be just the beginning. Why not finally push out that weird Nexus Q thing and give us a way to tap into a new Google streaming-music service throughout the house?
Reality check: Luxuries like home automation are a tough sell when the economy isn't so hot, even if you're offering a relatively cheap solution. Nonetheless, this dream is one that actually has an outside chance of coming true this week. There's been evidence of increasing activity on the @Home team and rumors of a deal on a streaming service; although, that component seems a bit more of a long shot.
What would be really great, though, would be an earth-shattering surprise at the Moscone Center that's not on this list or any others. Maybe Google colonized the moon while we were distracted by all the buzz around Glass.
Tell us your I/O fantasy in the comments.