Google I/O 2021: Here’s what to expect

Those who are passionate about smartphones know that there are two major conferences for app developers in the world: Google I/O and WWDC [that’s right, Samsung!]. And following the 2021 calendar, tomorrow will see the start of this year’s edition of Google I/O with the keynote address led by Sundar Pichai, Google and Alphabet CEO. Keep reading this article to find out what to expect of the event.

Google I/O 2021: How to watch the event online

In 2021, Google I/O will be online and free, meaning we won’t have the traditional get together among developers, which last occurred in 2019, when we couldn’t even imagine living in a pandemic world. The Google Developer Conference takes place from May 18-20, and will feature discussions with Google experts and first-hand information about the latest products for devs.

The famous Google I/O keynote takes place at 10 a.m. (PDT) and, just like we saw last year, it shouldn’t happen live, as it has been previously recorded and will be streamed live worldwide via YouTube. And it is in this presentation that we will know everything to expect from Google regarding Android and other products in 2021.

What: Google I/O 2021 keynote speech.
When: tomorrow, May 18, at 10 a.m. PDT/ 1 p.m. EDT/ 6 p.m. BST/ 7 p.m. CEST/ 10:30 p.m. IST/ 2 a.m. JST, May 19/ 3 a.m. AEST, May 19.
Where: Online only and free.
How to watch: via YouTube or here on NextPit via the embedded video below:

Google I/O 2021: what to expect1. First beta of Android 12

Let’s start with the icing on the cake: the first beta of Android 12! / © NextPit

Android 12 has been in development since February this year, well, at least the developer preview has been available since then. Traditionally, Google uses the I/O stage to reveal the main features of the next Android versions and, of course, the first beta. With version 12 should be no different.

Among the already known functions are new features related to one-handed mode, Nearby Wi-Fi, new media formats, use of apps in pairs, widget conversations, new Emojis and even more customization of the operating system.

We’ve tested some of these new features of the upcoming OS version and are really looking forward to the release of the first beta of Android 12 during the Google I/O keynote. Or rather, in the hours following the keynote.

The first beta of Android 12 should be announced during Google I/O. / © Android Developers

Since many manufacturers have already confirmed which models should receive Android 12, take a moment to check out the update list for the next version of Google’s operating system.

2. “Whitechapel”: Google’s new and exclusive mobile processor

Something that can be really interesting when it comes to Google (and based on the example of Apple) refers to rumors that the Big G is developing its processor for mobile phones. Under the codename “Whitechapel”, the new SoC might be packing the company’s next flagship, the Pixel 6.

This strange device could be Google’s next flagship! / © RendersbyIan, Jon Prosser

According to the information revealed by the site 9to5Google the chipset should be released in the fall. In addition, Google’s processor is being developed in partnership with its biggest partner, Samsung.

In addition to “Whitechapel”, the chip is also known as “GS101”, where “GS” stands for “Google Silicon” [any resemblance to Apple Silicon is mere coincidence].

Among the news announced tomorrow, we may have the first official reference to this SoC.

3. Pixel Watch and Wear OS

Is the wait for a new Wear OS over? / © NextPit

Since Google bought Fitbit we have been waiting for the moment when we will have news related to both the company’s software for wearable devices – wearables – and in relation to a new hardware. So far, we haven’t really had anything new regarding this acquisition and Google I/O 2021 seems like the ideal time for Google to show whether or not it continues in this market.

The company recently released Gboard for use as a keyboard on its Wear OS, and there couldn’t be a better time for a big announcement related to Google’s wearables, like the already rumored Pixel Watch.

By the way, thinking about the wearable devices market, Apple’s hegemony only grows. In the second quarter of fiscal 2021, the company’s wearables, home and accessories division hit record revenue: $7.8 billion. According to the site MacRumors, the Apple Watch continues to be very popular among new users. During the last fiscal quarter alone, 75% of people who bought an Apple Watch had never invested in a device like it before.

4. Pixel Buds and Pixel 5a 5G

Two hardwares, two leaks signed by Google itself. That’s right, in April Big G’s social media managers decided to leak on Twitter a new series of Pixel Buds headsets. Luckily, the people at 9to5Google made a screenshot of the tweet and we know it’s the “A-series”, that is, a likely affordable category for the search giant’s line of headphones:

New Pixel Buds A-series leaked by the company itself! / © 9to5google

I am a proud owner of a USB-C Pixel Buds and I like the headset and virtual assistant integration, which is not the same on my Bose headset. The audio quality seems very similar to Samsung’s AKG headphones to me and honestly, I really want to test these little beauties if Google actually launches the more affordable version of the Pixel Buds during I/O 21.

This can be the new Google Pixel 5a / © Voice/ Montage: NextPit

And still referring to the A-series, we have the possible announcement of the Pixel 5a 5G, also leaked by Google itself. After confirming the existence of the device, the company leaked on its own blog some camera features of the new device! As traditional in the series, the device should have the same set of cameras as the Pixel 5, but a simpler hardware.

5. Google Assistant and smart devices

Google Assistant on mobile and on smart devices: we expect news in both sectors. / © DenPhotos /

Finally, Google I/O always ends up bringing news regarding the Google Assistant, which always appears with more integration in the company’s ecosystem of software and partners. This year we celebrate 5 years of Google Assistant, and the company has already stated in a post nor its blog that we will have product announcements for Assistant during I/O:

Expect to hear about what happened in Assistant last year, new product announcements, feature updates, and changes to the tools.

While we don’t have much else about it to disclose at this time, the expectation is that we’ll have the launch of a new smart device. We’ll know more about that tomorrow!

So, which of these possible announcements are you most looking forward to? Will you attend Google I/O 2021? Let us know in the comments section below.