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Google I/O 2021 dates are set — Android 12 and a possible Pixel 5a announcement

Google I/O 2021 registration site
(Image credit: Google)

Google I/O 2021 is officially set for May 18 to 20 and, unsurprisingly, the event will be entirely online just like WWDC 2021 in June

The event is also open and free for anyone to attend, so if you have even a passing interest in any of Google's \software and hardware initiatives, you can visit the Google I/O site to register. Here's a quick overview of what we expect from the event.

Android 12

Unlike iOS 15, we don't have to wait until Google's developer conference to catch our first look at Android 12 as we are already on the second developer preview for Android 12. That said, Google I/O is certainly where things start to solidify. We should see Google reveal some additional features and release the first public beta that will be available to anyone with a Pixel device and typically a few additional devices.

Render of Google Pixel 5a

(Image credit: @OnLeaks / Voice)

Pixel 5a

While the rumors so far have pointed to a June 11 release for the Pixel 5a, that doesn't preclude the device being announced at Google I/O in May, just like the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL in 2019.

While we aren't expecting a massive redesign with the Pixel 5a, the promise of a $349-399 phone that packs the same cameras as the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G is definitely enticing. 

Pixel 6 and Pixel foldable

I wouldn't expect to see the Pixel 6 or a Pixel foldable on stage during Google I/O 2021, but much like the Apple Silicon announcement at WWDC last year, Google may have to show its hand in order to get developers on board. 

This could include any unique aspects to Google's rumored Whitechapel CPU that could bring the Pixel line back into the realm of true flagships or new features geared towards a possible Pixel foldable

Of course, with the latter, Google can obscure this as simply adding support for the growing number of foldable Android devices; with the former, it's possible that there is nothing unique enough to necessitate warning developers, but we can dream.

Casio G-Squad Pro G-Shock GSW-H1000 Wear OS smartwatch

(Image credit: Casio)

Wear OS

Google has drifted further and further into obscurity when it comes to the wearables market in recent years, but there's some reason to think a resurgence might be at hand. Google's acquisition of Fitbit was finalized in January and we could at least see some increased integration with existing Fitbit devices if not actual new hardware or a Pixel Watch.

While there hasn't been a flood of new Wear OS hardware, Casio releasing its first G-Shock with Wear OS has to be encouraging and rumors persist that Samsung's Galaxy Watch 4 could be adopting Wear OS as well.

Sean Riley

Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more.  Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.