Google I/O 2021: What to Expect Next Week

Image: Google Events

After being canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Google I/O, the company’s annual summer developer event, is back on for 2021. But there’s a catch: Google I/O this year will completely take place online.

The event is set to stream live (and free for everyone) from May 18 to May 20.

With Google I/O taking a leave of absence last year, the event is shaping up to be quite the affair this time around. Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google’s parent company Alphabet, said the following about the event during an earnings call in April:

Our product releases are returning to a regular cadence. Particularly excited that our developer event — Google I/O — is back this year, all virtual, and free for everyone on May 18th-20th. We’ll have significant product updates and announcements, and I invite you all to tune in.

As for what the event will entail, TechCrunch put up a pretty solid round-up. Here’s a rundown of what you can expect from Google’s summer event:

Android 12

Developer previews of the next iteration of Google’s mobile Operating System have been out for a while, but they have failed to provide much insight into what Android 12 will bring beyond a few new features and some major design changes.

Expect a formal introduction to Android 12 at the event.

Pixel Buds A

A new, presumably more budget-friendly version of Google’s Pixel Buds has been in the works for a while, and has even been accidentally leaked a couple times by the tech giant itself. There’s a good chance of an official look at the wireless earbuds during the event.

Wear OS Developments

May 18 will mark the first Google I/O since Google’s acquisition of popular wearables manufacturer Fitbit, so it is safe to expect announcements from Google in the fitness and wearables space, along with updates on the progress of Wear OS.

Pixel 5A 5G

After rumours of Google scrapping the Pixel 5A 5G surfaced earlier in the year, the company confirmed that the Pixel 5A 5G was indeed still on the way, and will be announced “in line with when last year’s a-series phone was introduced”.

Last year’s Pixel 4A was announced in August, so this is quite low on the list of possibilities. With all the uncertainty amidst this global pandemic, however, we very well may see the next budget Pixel phone announced at Google I/O.

Other Software Announcements

Google is also expected to present advancements with Google Assistant, along with updates pertaining to the company’s ‘Home’ and ‘Nest’ product lines, with the latter rumoured to sport a new design for its doorbell.

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