What we’re expecting from Google I/O 2021

Because we’re still in the midst of COVID19, Google I/O is going virtual this year, — it was canceled last year — livestreamed for free to all. The company’s developer conference begins on Tuesday, May 18, with the keynote event set to kick off at 10 AM PT/ 1PM ET.

With that date soon approaching, it’s time to speculate about what might make an appearance, and what we’re unlikely to see.

This year, there haven’t been that many leaks ahead of time, which makes me hope the company has something juicy that it’s kept tightly under wraps. Still, we can make some guesses.

Android 12
Well, this one isn’t a surprise. We hear about a new version of Android every year, and the company has already released severalbetas of its upcoming OS.

Though the company has teased some features, these have mainly been developer-oriented items. These include things like changes to the notification panel and improvements to the image compression. But we’ve also seen hints that Google is planning to introduce a bunch of useful new features, including a long-overdue one-handed mode and an integrated theme system.

We’re expecting to see one of the biggest design overhauls to Android in a while, so we’re looking forward to seeing what Google has to offer. The company also tends to release a public beta version of its OS soon after I/O, so stay tuned for that as well.

Wear OS updates and maybe the Pixel Watch
Google finally seems to be paying attention to Wear OS, its oft-neglected smartwatch software, which makes us think the company might be readying some sort of big update.

At this point, we’re pretty sure Google is working on a new smartwatch of its own, perhaps one that can finally offer a solid alternative to the Apple Watch. Leaker Jon Prosser claims to have seen images of the device already.

That said, we’re not totally sure it’ll make an appearance at I/O, though that’s as good a time as any. If Google plans to introduce major changes to Wear OS, it’s going to want developers to be aware. The fact that there are rumors Samsung is returning to Wear OS (and abandoning Tizen, thank goodness), adds more fuel to this fire.

How to watch
Google I/O begins Tuesday, May 18 at 10 AM PT/ 1PM ET. You can livestream it right from Google’s I/O hub, where you can also see the schedule for the 3-day event.

(By the way, there’s a minigame hidden in the I/O website.)

via thenextweb

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