After the developer conference’s cancellation last year, Google is currently underway prepping the return of Google I/O, this time as an online-only affair for 2021.
Just as we were expecting the introduction of the Pixel 4a and Android 11 at last year’s I/O, rumours are collectively hinting at a number of new software and hardware announcements at this year’s conference; including the possibility of the Pixel 5a’s unveiling, the first Pixel-branded smartwatch, Android 12, new Nest Cams, the leaked Pixel Buds A and even the potential of a foldable device.
The conference spans multiple days (18 May to 20 May) and is comprised of a variety of keynotes, workshops and AMAs (Ask Me Anything sessions), with the majority of I/O aimed at developers and developing for Google-compatible technologies and services.
The opening Google I/O keynote, which is scheduled for 10am PT/1pm ET/6pm BST on 18 May, serves as the company’s opportunity to showcase the latest mainstream developments in its software and hardware endeavours; with a focus on consumer products and services – most likely where devices such as the Pixel 5a and Pixel Watch will make their debut.
This will then be followed by the lead developer keynote and the “What’s New in Android” keynote, which will shed more light on the improvements and new functionality that Android 12 is bringing to the table, along with other technologies and platforms that the company is working on.
The “Create your first Tile in Wear” keynote, on the first day of I/O 2021 essentially confirms one new feature coming to Wear OS, in third-party Tiles – the interactive widgets that feature with a swipe left from the main watch face on Google’s wearable user experience.
Tipster Jon Prosser, meanwhile, has shared what looks to be a leaked promotion video showcasing Android 12 and the various interaction and aesthetic changes the company has made for the OS, which includes new notification management, smoother UI elements and potentially a new keyboard, among other things.
While many of the keynotes and sessions at I/O have been available to watch live – and in some cases participate in – online for free in previous years, those able to attend in person (and afford the US$1,150 price of admission) have benefitted from hands-on sessions and additional insight into Google’s development strategy and expertise.
With this year’s I/O being online-only, all of the sessions are free to all attendees; along with personalised event suggestions and live Q&As for developers. All that’s required to access the gamut of sessions running across the three-day event is to register on the Google I/O microsite using your Google account.
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