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.
- Best smartphones in 2021
- How to free up Google Photo storage space
- Best mobile phone deals in April 2021
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.
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.
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.
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.