Google I/O begins today: Android 12, Pixel Buds and what else we're expecting

Google I/O begins today: Android 12, Pixel Buds and what else we’re expecting

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James Martin / CNET

Google I / O starting today, And even though this is a developer conference, we’ll see some major product announcements. We are expecting more information about Android 12 and possibly Pixel hardware. The company dropped I / O due to the epidemic last year, so there is a lot to catch up on.

How to see Google I / O

Google I / O is completely virtual this year and is free to all, running from May 18 to 20. The inaugural Keynote will begin on May 18 at 10 am PT / 1 pm ET. Google has also published an official schedule for keynotes and breakout sessions. . To sign up for Google I / O, all you have to do is sign in to your Google account and register for the event.

Here is everything we expect to see in Google I / O.

Android 12 update

Android could bring the biggest visual changes to the operating system in 12 years. Earlier this year, leaked screenshots showed a new interface, widgets and privacy features.


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Our first look at Android 12


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While the first developer beta released in February had a lot of changes under the hood, there were some hints in the Settings app pointing to a complete redesign along the way. In a leak from XDA Developers referred to as “Material NEXT”, we can see changes in the lock screen, notification panel and a new theme system.

It is likely that Google will announce a public beta of Android 12 on Google I / O, so we may get the first official look at Android’s new paint job as well. The timing of the I / O is also roughly in line with Google’s schedule shown below for the Android 12 beta release.

Read more: Everything else we’re expecting in Android 12.

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This is Google’s own schedule for Android 12 beta release.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani / CNET

Pixel Watch, Pixel Buds A-Series, WareOS

We have been hearing rumors about Pixel Watch for years. Could Google I / O finally be the event to feature Google’s first branded wearable? A leak in April of John Prosser showed a spherical clock possibly powered by a new version of WareOS. Renderers show a watch without a bezel around the screen, no physical buttons, interchangeable watch straps and signs that the watch will have a heart rate sensor.

It is also the first major Google event since the acquisition of Fitbit. It does not appear that we will see the new hardware since the Fitbit Lux was announced, but Google may announce a wider integration of Fitbit within the Google ecosystem, or even into iOS.

Another WareOS rumor from Korean news outlet MT points to the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 running on Google’s operating system rather than Samsung’s own Tizen, which we can hear more about during I / O.

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Android (Twitter account)

Google may have accidentally leaked the latest Pixel Buds in an email to Nest users in April, followed by an accidental tweet from Google’s own Android account in May. Like the “A Series” of the Pixel phones, the Pixel Buds A may cost less than the original Buds that currently sell for $ 180. The leaks also showed a new mint green color, and the tweet stated that earbuds would support the new Fast Pair feature for quick Bluetooth device pairing on Android.

It looks like we’ll be seeing the Pixel 5a announced at Google I / O, noting that there is currently a global chip shortage and the company has also released an official statement stating rumors of the phone being canceled The finish will be released later in the year. . Pixel 4a was released in August 2020, so looking at the time, it makes sense for Google to save the 5a announcement by the end of the year.

The second wildcard could be Google’s rumored mobile processor. Codenamed Whitechapel, it can be developed in conjunction with Samsung and make its debut in the upcoming Pixel 6. Again, it is unlikely that we will announce that phone on I / O, but the announcement of the chip may give some heads-up for developers.

Google Assistant and Smart Home Products

Google I / O has had a few show-stopping demos in the past, such as when Google Duplex AI had a natural phone conversation with a real person to make a hair appointment. While we don’t have any leaks pointing to the precise capabilities coming to Google Assistant, we might hear news of more Android devices coming to the new assistant, not just the Pixel phones.

An official blog post also said that the smart home is expected to announce new features and a new product. Google recently launched the $ 99 Nest Audio in late 2020, so it might get some new features, or we might see a new version of it. Nest hub max.

There is also speculation about an updated Chromecast, thanks to an FCC filing that appeared in March.

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