Google I/O 2021 | Android 12 and what else to expect

Google I/O 2021 will be a virtual event, and it would not have a companion app. People will have access the sessions through a website.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

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Last year, the search giant cancelled its developers’ conference due to the raging pandemic. After a little over a year into the pandemic, the California-based company has said it will host a virtual Google I/O on May 18.

The event will focus on several products, including Android, Pay, Assistant, Play and Maps platform, and will run through May 20. In its official keynote description, Google has asked developers to tune in to know how the company is furthering its mission “to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

While Google I/O is a developers’ conference, there could be some major product announcements for consumers as well, including updates on Android 12 and Pixel Buds as they have been in the works for some time now.

The Alphabet-owned company had already released a few developer previews of Android 12, which has an Emergency SOS feature update. Android Police noted that, in the new build, people just have to rapidly press the power button five times to trigger a countdown to place an emergency call.

Pixel, Wear OS and Whitechapel

In past few years, there has been increasing rumours about a Pixel Watch, but that may not be part of the Google I/O event as this is Google’s first event post its Fitbit aquisition. So, a new hardware from the search giant may preclude or dent sale of fitness trackers made by the wearable company.

Also, Google just recently announced Fitbit Luxe, a slimmer and sleeker version of the fitness band Inspire 2. This means the company could share something on integrating Fitbit with its broader Google ecosystem via Wear OS.

Also Read: Third-party developers can now create custom tiles on Google’s Wear OS

Staying on hardware updates, the event may not include a Pixel 5A 5G phone launch because of the global chip shortage, which is affecting manufacturers globally. In April, Google quashed rumours that it scrapped the 5G phone project and said it would launch the mid-tier Pixel 5A later this year, Cnet reported.

The event may possibly reveal its own chip, codenamed as Whitechapel. The search giant-made chip may power a Pixel 6, 9to5Google said. In a Q3 2020 earnings call, CEO Sundar Pichai responded to an analyst’s query on Google’s approach to phone and hardware saying the company is “doing some deeper investments in hardware” and that it would take “two or three years to come together.”

It’s still early to expect an Apple-style M1 chip from Google, but there are signs that the search giant is working on building own chipsets to power next generation smartphones.

This year’s Google I/O will not have a companion app. People can find all the sessions and online experiences via the Google I/O site and inside I/O Adventure. The event will kick off at 10 PM Pacific Time on May 18th.

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Printable version | Jun 23, 2021 4:59:18 AM |

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