Google I/O 2013: What happened to Android?

Google I/O 2013: Android

A funny thing happened at this year's Google I/O developers' conference.

Google opened the event with a giant three-hour-long keynote. The company announced tons of stuff --  a new streaming music service, a unified chat service, an update to Google Maps -- but there was one giant white elephant in the room, one question countless onlookers were left wondering:

What happened to the most anticipated news of all?

Android Google I/O

I'm talking, of course, about the announcement of a new version of Android -- something that seemed all but certain to occur in this week's proceedings. Google I/O has become a consistent launching ground for major Android news, and all the signs seemed to point to a 4.3 reveal this week -- including a brief mention of Android 4.3 on a Google developers' website and an oddly timed announcement of a new type of Bluetooth support built into "the newest version of Android OS" (now said to be "coming later this year").

All clues aside, the keynote seemed to be strangely lacking in climax; it was kind of like going to see a concert with great opening acts but no headliner. From a consumer perspective, it felt like we were building up and building up -- and then we just stopped short.

Several Googlers I've spoken with casually have said the idea was to keep the focus on developers, since I/O is technically a developers' event. And that's a reasonable enough explanation. But given the precedent that's been set, combined with the various 4.3 breadcrumbs and the lack of a climactic announcement in the keynote, it's hard not to wonder if something was pulled from the program at the last minute.

We'll probably never know for sure. But while the absence of a new Android release may be a letdown right now, there is an upside: We've almost certainly got something

Android Power Twitter

to look forward to this summer.

If we're lucky, maybe it'll even include that other I/O no-show -- the inevitable new Nexus 7 that feels so close yet so far away.

[SEE ALSO: Google's new weapon in the Android upgrade battle]

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