Pixel Tablets, Chromecasts and Glass: What not to expect from Google IO 2022
Editor’s note: Turns out I was wrong on two of my three predictions! Google did unveil a Pixel Tablet and new AR glasses prototype at the show. You can find out more about the products in the prior links.
OPINION: Google IO 2022 is mere hours away and if like me you’re a tech fan, this is a big deal as the company is forecast to reveal a host of cool new products.
Rumors suggest we’ll see a new affordable Pixel 6a smartphone, Pixel Watch smartwatch and fresh details about Android 13 unveiled at the event’s opening keynote, which is set to happen at 10am PDT (6pm in the UK) tonight. You can find out how to watch Google IO 2022’s opening keynote using the attached guide.
And while myself, and the rest of the Trusted Reviews team are excited, there are a few key items that in all likelihood won’t make an appearance. These are the three biggest rumored new Google products we don’t expect to see at IO 2022.
While Google’s first own-brand smartwatch is expected to make an appearance at IO 2022, there’s currently no credible information suggesting we’ll see the long-awaited return of the firm’s own brand Android tablets at the show.
The last credible rumor we saw occurred in January when news broke that Google was hiring a “Senior Engineering Manager, Android Tablet App Experience” to work on optimizing the Android operating system for potential iPad rivals.
The lack of credible info since suggests the fabled Pixel Tablet won’t appear at I/O this year. This is a shame as Google used to be a heavy hitter in the affordable tablet space. The original and second-generation Nexus 7 tablets the firm released way back when remain some of the best tablets we’ve tested, offering wonderfully clean installs of Android, top-end specs and super affordable price tags.
But despite being positively reviewed, the firm seemingly lost interest in tablets and we haven’t seen another Google tablet since the Nexus 9 which launched 8 years ago.
Hopefully all won’t be lost though as Google is actively developing the beta version of Android 12L, a custom version of its OS that’s designed for larger screen devices, like tablets. The beta’s been available for a while and is rumored to be getting a wider consumer release later this year. If so, it’d make sense for it to have a product backing it up. The only question is if it will be a Google tablet, or as the firm did launching the latest version of its WearOS software with the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 last year, it’ll partner with a third party company.
A new Chromecast
When I reviewed the Chromecast with Google TV in 2020 it quickly became one of my favorite streaming sticks, offering a quick and easy way to get all my favourite services working on older TVs and monitors. Featuring a physical remote and useful Google TV interface the streaming stick is excellent and scored 4.5/5 in my review.
But it isn’t perfect. For starters, it costs a lot and it doesn’t support popular game streaming services like Xbox Game Pass or GeForce Now. Considering rumors Microsoft is working on its own gaming streaming stick I can’t see the latter being fixed.
But according to a rumor from Protocol earlier this year my issue with its price could be. Specifically, the site suggested Google is working on a cheaper HD version of the latest Chromecast codenamed Boreal, which would have been great for people with older 1080p or bedroom TVs.
Sadly, like the Pixel Tablet we’ve not seen any credible rumors about the device since then, suggesting it won’t be making an appearance at this year’s Google IO.
A new Google Glass
Glass is a standard entry in any listicle detailing tech that never quite hit the mark, despite showing great opening promise. Google Glass was a demo product that got a limited release in May, 2014.
It was a small AR headset that used bone conduction tech and a small transparent display. Early on Google went in hard with its marketing claiming the tech would offer everything from real time navigation and translation to step by step guides on how to enact complex tasks. Sadly, the product never delivered on any of this.
The last time I got a chance to test it before Google mothballed it, the best it could manage was to translate the first line of text in a Spanish poster I was looking at. The design also proved divisive with many choosing to refer to early adopters as “Glassholes.”
Despite never taking off for Google, AR’s become an increasingly vogue item in tech since then with Microsoft developing Hololens for enterprise and Meta listing it as a key time that will sit along VR in “the metaverse”. Even Apple’s rumored to be looking at getting into the party, with constant rumors emerging suggesting it’s working on its own AR glasses.
Sadly, given the lack of any credible reports suggesting Google has any plans to resurrect its own Glass project, I can’t see a new pair appearing at IO 2022.