We didn’t receive any Google I / O in 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Google canceled this immediately. There were initially rumors that it might be a purely virtual event, but that didn’t materialize.
Now, in 2021, Google is delivering the fully virtual I / O we were hoping for last year. The Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, CA may not be filled to the brim like it has been in years past, but the show will go on!
See also: Google Buying Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Google Hardware
In this article we give you the essential information you need in connection with Google I / O 2021. We’ll also let you know a few things to expect, including new Google branded hardware. Make sure you bookmark this page as we will update it with new details as the event approaches!
Google I / O: The Basics
Q: What is Google I / O?
A: It’s an annual developer conference where Google announces new hardware, software, and various updates for its existing apps and services.
Q: When is Google I / O 2021?
A: The event will take place from Tuesday, May 18 to Friday, May 21. The first part of the show is a keynote speech by Sundar Pichai and other Google executives held at 10:00 a.m. (1:00 p.m. ET). It usually happens when the biggest news is falling.
Q: How can you see it?
A: As every year, Google will stream its keynote and various other events live. However, due to the purely virtual nature of the show, every single event is streamed live for free. This differs from previous years, when parts of the show could only be experienced by paid participants. Here you can register and learn how to follow the various events.
What to expect at this year’s event
Before we dive into what to expect with Google I / O 2021, there is one thing to keep in mind: I / O is primarily aimed at developers. While there will be a lot of consumer-facing events – especially the keynote that starts it all – a lot of the smaller events will be very technical in nature. If you’re not a developer, a lot of the events don’t mean much to you.
That being said, when it comes to I / O, Google always has a few fun things for the general population. Here are a few things to expect!
Android 12 news as well as the first beta
Recognition: Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
Without a doubt, much of Google’s I / O will be for Android 12. The world’s largest mobile operating system is constantly being improved and updated, but the latest numbered iteration of Android is always a big deal.
We’ve already seen some developer previews of Android 12, but we expect Google to launch the first beta of the software at I / O 2021. The difference between a developer preview and a beta is that the latter is possible for the general public to safely install on their personal devices (for the most part). There will still be bugs for sure, but not nearly as many as you would find in a developer preview.
Connected: Hands-on preview for Android 12 developers: Lots of small changes
Years ago, Google launched the first beta of Android 9 Pie on Google I / O and announced that it would be available for multiple non-Pixel phones at the same time. This happened again with Android 10, but not Android 11. With Android 11, the initial betas were limited to Pixel devices only. We’ll likely see a similar caveat this year, although OEMs will definitely start releasing their own versions of the Android 12 beta software soon.
If you want to find out what new content is showing up on I / O in Android 12, check out our constantly updated list of confirmed and rumored features.
Google Pixel 5a
We are upfront: there is a 50/50 chance this phone will boot on Google I / O. Google unveiled the original A-series devices at I / O 2019 – the Google Pixel 3a and 3a XL. It likely would have launched the Pixel 4a at the 2020 event too if it had actually happened. Instead, the Pixel 4a landed in August.
Connected: Google Pixel 5a: All the rumors so far
With the still devastating COVID-19 pandemic in the cellular industry and the global chip scarcity associated with it, which makes the situation worse, there is a high chance that Google will not be ready to launch the Pixel 5a in May. That doesn’t mean Google won’t advertise the phone for a later version. It is also not completely ruled out that the 5a will start at Google I / O.
As I said: It’s a 50/50 shot.
Google Pixel Buds A.
Google launched the second generation version of its Pixel Buds in 2020, which acted as the first entry into the incredibly competitive realm of true wireless earbuds. Rumor has it that Google could launch a cheaper variant of the Buds that could end up as the Google Pixel Buds A.
It is very likely that Google will launch these new earbuds at I / O. In fact, the company has already spilled the beans on the product with an incorrect listing in a publicly available email. Of course, that doesn’t assure us that we’ll see them during Google I / O, but they will very likely come pretty soon.
It is not yet clear what features of the $ 129 pixel buds Google may be eliminating to reduce the cost of the A Pixel Buds. However, there will likely be a new green colorway for the earbuds.
Code name: ‘Whitechapel’
Recognition: David Imel / Android Authority
There are rumors that Google could launch its first custom mobile processor this year, likely within the upcoming Google Pixel 6. While we almost certainly won’t see a Pixel 6 announcement on Google I / O, it’s possible that Google takes the wraps off the processor itself with the code name “Whitechapel”.
Given that a mobile processor is quite technical and needs developer attention to be successful, it makes perfect sense for Google to advertise it on I / O. However, this is Google’s first attempt to start something like this, so the announcement may be saved for a specific event.
Connected: Google Pixel 6: Everything We Know So Far, As Well As What We Want To See
Whitechapel is expected to be a joint development by Google and Samsung, with Google Designs and Samsung providing hardware. Rumor has it that Whitechapel is a more capable chipset than the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G in the Google Pixel 5. But don’t expect it to go head-to-toe with the Snapdragon 888 or the Apple A14 Bionic.
For more information on Whitechapel, please see our explanatory article here.
Google I / O 2021: Miscellaneous
Recognition: Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
- Google Stadia: Recently, Google announced that it would be closing its Stadia-exclusive game studios less than a year after they opened. This means that Google is not having too much success with its current game streaming platform. Stadia is still an active product and there will likely be a lot of Stadia news on I / O. Device support may be expanded, new gaming partnerships formed, or even the entire business model updated.
- Wear the operating system: There is a widespread rumor that Samsung may be developing a Wear OS-based smartwatch. This would be the brand’s first non-Tizen smartwatch since around 2014. Although Wear OS is getting a lot of flak due to its poor battery life and high hardware requirements, it still has very vocal supporters. Given the growth trajectory of the wearables industry, it would make a lot of sense to see Wear OS news on Google I / O 2021.
- Fitbit: Speaking of wearables: Google’s takeover of Fitbit is complete. It’s unlikely we’ll see any new Fitbit hardware in I / O, but Google could make some announcements related to the development of the Fitbit operating system that it now owns. It could also announce plans regarding Fitbit hardware and integration with the broader Google ecosystem.
- Google Assistant: Google’s voice assistant is the glue that holds all products together. At past I / O events, Google has pointed out new tricks the wizard can perform, such as: B. Telephone reservations for your dinner. It wouldn’t be surprising if new Google Assistant tricks were revealed during the I / O keynote.
Don’t forget to bookmark this page as we’ll be adding more information on Google I / O as May 18th approaches.