What to expect at Google I / O 2021

Android 12 News

If there’s one thing you can count on this year, it’s that Google will have a lot to say about its upcoming Android 12 update. That’s not surprising when you consider everything the company does. has already said about it. After all, at the time of publication, Google released three previews of Android 12 developers, and has already started talking about features like haptics coupled with audio, picture-in-picture enhancement for videos, support for AVIF image format, etc.

Beyond that, it also looks like Android is getting a facelift this year, although it’s hard to say exactly what that will look like at this point. A series of leaked images obtained by XDA point to a noticeable overhaul, with a redesigned notifications panel, fewer quick settings panels, and new “chat” widgets for the home screen that highlight messages and missed calls from contacts. Meanwhile, if you feel like digging deep into the developer version’s settings, there’s also an option that allows for a new, more compact design for the Settings app which should make it a bit easier to navigate the menus on big phones. .

There’s bound to be a lot more Android 12 that we’re not yet aware of, and Google’s showcase and I / O development sessions should go a long way in explaining the company’s vision. If Google sticks to its pre-pandemic plans, you can expect to see a first public beta of Android 12 shortly after the keynote ends, with a full launch around August or September.

Assistant and smart home improvement

As usual, we expect to hear a lot about Google Assistant, although we haven’t heard many details yet. For what it’s worth, Google noted on his own developer blog that we’ll see “new product announcements” and “feature updates” for the Assistant, and if what we’ve seen in previous years is any indication, maybe the announcements are stealing the show.

On a related note, Google also says we can expect new announcements of smart home products as well, although it stopped before specifically saying it would reveal new hardware. We’ll just have to see how it all plays out.


Big changes for Wear OS?

We’re also starting to get a feeling that something is going on with Wear OS this year. Think about it: Google last week finally updated its portable software to support Gboard to type more easily on a small touchscreen, and started solicit feedback from Wear OS users in a survey that prompted some people to participate in a research study to inform future development. Maybe we’re reading a little too much into the timing here, but with the I / O around the corner and Google’s acquisition of Fitbit in the rearview mirror, it’s starting to feel like the company is gearing up for it. engage in wearables in a big way.

While a slew of leaks confirm that Google is working on a potentially Pixel-branded smartwatch, it’s not yet clear whether the company plans to show it to I / O. (For what it’s worth, we’re not betting above.) But that doesn’t mean we won’t hear anything about new smartwatches.

Persistent rumors suggest that Samsung – a company that once experimented with Android Wear before investing heavily in its Tizen operating system – will be returning to the fold. with a new Wear OS watch. This would be Samsung’s first Google-powered laptop since Gear Live in 2014, and if we’re lucky, it could help usher in a new era of advancement, polish, and popularity for Wear OS smartwatches. .

Google Pixel Buds

Billy Steele / Engadget

Pixel Buds Series A

We expect I / O 2021 to be relatively light on new hardware, but Google may still have a few announcements ready to go. In a marketing email Google released in April, the company showcased a set of green Pixel Buds that don’t match any of the models we’ve seen on sale so far. Then Google accidentally has disclosed the existence of its new A-series Pixel Buds in a tweet from the official Android account.

While that accidental tweet didn’t reveal much, Google’s use of its “A” mark strongly suggests that these new wireless headphones will cost less than the standard $ 179 Pixel Buds. Maybe the tweet and email were sheer nonsense, and maybe Google isn’t planning on talking about its new wireless headphones anytime soon. Still, we wouldn’t be surprised if these things were in the spotlight next week.

Google Pixel 5 review

Chris Velazco / Engadget


As always, there are some things that we don’t really expect Google to talk about on stage, but that we can’t help but hope for anyway. On the one hand, there’s the Pixel 5a 5G, a more affordable version of last year’s Pixel 5. This would normally be the time of year when Google introduces a new budget Pixel smartphone, but the late release of the Pixel 4a last year might have thrown it off Google’s schedule. When the company confirmed in early April that the Pixel 5a was not canceled after all, a spokesperson noted that the new phone would be revealed “at the same time as last year’s A-series phone.” If you take this literally, that means we probably won’t get our first glimpse of Google’s new inexpensive Pixel until late summer, but who knows, I believe my fingers for one anyway. I / O announcement.

And while we’re on the subject of Pixels, it would be nice if Google officially pulled the curtain on Whitechapel, a home mobile processor that we’re planning to debut in the Pixel 6. We could definitely see Google delay an announcement for a while, especially since the company hasn’t said anything about the Pixel 6 yet, but it would be now. a smart time to start onboarding developers.

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