Google I/O 2023, the tech giant’s annual software developer conference, is just around the corner and could end up being the most impactful Google show in years. Very reliable rumors say that Google will launch three pieces of hardware, two of which will almost certainly change the status quo of their markets, including ending a long-standing monopoly. Plus, I’m willing to bet that Google, arguably the most influential and powerful champion of machine learning in the world, will have a lot to show off with its AI chatbot, Bard. Considering that AI has been the hottest tech topic of the year thus far and has shaken multiple industries to their core, Google will certainly try to be at the forefront of that movement.
Google Fold will end Samsung’s monopoly where it matters most
Even though there are over a dozen foldable phone lines from no fewer than six companies worldwide, Samsung has never had significant competition on a global scale. Most of these were China-exclusive releases, and the small handful of devices that arrived outside of China had limited availability in select European and Asian markets. And with North America being the highest-spending mobile market on Earth and US tech media still driving most of the talk, Samsung has had a virtual monopoly on the scene, with the result that the South Korean tech giant appears to have taken control. speed in recent years.
This year’s Google I/O will likely put an end to that status quo, as all signs point to Google officially launching its first foldable device. This phone, which is rumored to be called the Pixel Fold and goes on sale as early as May, will almost certainly have wide retail availability in North America, including all major US carriers and retailers like Best Buy.
Even if the Google Pixel Fold ends up being rough (as is usually the case with Google’s first-generation hardware), just its mere presence on US store shelves alongside Samsung’s foldables will disrupt the market. A company holding a monopoly on the market is never a good thing, and the Pixel Fold finally puts an end to that of Samsung.
A Google tablet means that Android will be better optimized for tablets in the future
We’ll also likely see a Google tablet, which the search giant already teased last year. I personally think Google’s tablet looks very bland and I wouldn’t bet its hardware would be any better than the best iPads, but it’s still an intriguing and important product. This will be the official Android tablet, which means its software will hopefully be optimized for the tablet experience in ways that Android never has.
The latter has been a frustrating point for many of us tech reviewers who have covered Android tablets. Most of them, like the newly released OnePlus Pad, offer well-designed and refined hardware, but are held back by mediocre software. To put it bluntly, Android has never really been optimized for wide landscape screens. When you use a modern Android tablet that can double as a desk-bound work machine, you usually encounter absurd UI elements, like a six-word notification window that spans the entire width of a screen, or apps like Instagram that they open sideways because it was designed for horizontal screens.
Samsung is the only Android tablet maker that has attempted to find workarounds to the embarrassment of Android with large screens (via DeX, a sandboxed UI), and it’s the main reason why Samsung tablets are the only tablets Android (so far) we can give high marks to. But DeX is a band aid for a problem, not a solution. The fix must come from the Android manufacturer, and that fix will likely come with the Google tablet.
Once Google plans to actually engage in optimizing the Android experience for tablets, it will not only benefit the Pixel tablet, but the entire Android tablet ecosystem as a whole.
Bard will not sit still and let ChatGPT get all the best
AI has been a hot tech topic in 2023, especially generative AI, which can generate (aka create) entirely new data like text, art, and music. Unless you’ve been off the internet, you’ve probably heard of ChatGPT and its awesome ability to generate entire blocks of text that mostly read naturally. Or perhaps you’ve read about the AI-generated image of Pope Francis in a quilt that has gone viral?
Google doesn’t sit idly by while other companies grab all the headlines and buzz. Last month, Google launched Bard, its ChatGPT and Bing chat rival that can generate structured text responses to queries. And at I/O, Google will certainly have more to unveil when it comes to Bard and Generative AI as a whole.
As someone who writes words for a living, the idea that AI software could soon churn out entire articles like this one is scary. But as a tech enthusiast, I’m excited to see what Google can do, as it has access to more data (of which AI trains itself) than perhaps any other company in the world.
There will be even more unveiled at Google I/O
Of course, Google I/O will cover and reveal more than just the three topics I listed above. There is the official presentation of Android 14 and most likely a Pixel 7a. Google may have more information on the upcoming Pixel Watch. But while mid-range phones, smartwatches, and Android features like “predictive back gestures” are nice to have, they’re not as breakthrough or game-changing as the Google Pixel Fold or the Bard. Either way, Google I/O 2023 is shaping up to be exciting.
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