, and even though it’s a developers’ conference, it’s likely we’ll see some major product announcements, including more details on Android 12 and possibly hardware. The company skipped I/O last year due to the pandemic, so there’s a lot to catch up on.
How to watch Google I/O
Google I/O is entirely virtual this year and free for everyone to attend, running May 18 through 20. The opening keynote starts at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET on May 18.has also published an for keynotes and breakout sessions. To sign up for Google I/O, you just need to sign in to your Google account and .
Here’s everything we expect to see at Google I/O.
Android 12 updates
Android 12 could bring the biggest visual change to the operating system in years. Leaked screenshots emerged earlier this year showing aand privacy features.
While the first developer beta released in February had a lot of changes under the hood, there were a few hints in the Settings app pointing to a complete redesign on the way. Referred to as “Material NEXT” in a leak from, we may see changes to the lock screen, notifications panel and a new theming system.
It’s likely Google will announce the public beta of Android 12 at Google I/O, so we could see the first official look at Android’s new paint job, too. The timing of I/O also roughly lines up withshown below for Android 12 beta releases.
Pixel Watch, Pixel Buds A-Series, WearOS
We’ve been hearingfor years. Could Google I/O finally be the event to showcase Google’s first branded wearable? A showed a circular watch likely powered by a new version of WearOS. The renders show a watch without a bezel around the screen, no physical buttons, interchangeable watch straps and indications the watch will have a heart rate sensor.
This is also the first major Google event since acquiring. It seems unlikely that we’ll see new hardware as the , but Google could announce broader integration of Fitbit within the Google ecosystem, or even in WearOS itself.
Another WearOS rumor frompoints to the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 running Google’s operating system instead of Samsung’s own Tizen, which we might hear more about during I/O.
Google may have alreadyin an email to users in April, followed up with an from Google’s own Android account in May. Just like the “A series” of Pixel , the Pixel Buds A may cost less than the original Buds that currently sell for $180. The leak also showed a new mint green color, and the tweet said the earbuds will support the new Fast Pair feature for quick Bluetooth device pairing on Android.
It seems highly unlikely we’ll see the Pixel 5a announced at Google I/O, given that there’s currently a global chip shortage and the company alsosaying the phone would be released later in the year to quash rumors of its cancellation. The Pixel 4a was released in August 2020, so given that timing, it makes sense for Google to save the 5a announcement until later in the year.
The other wildcard could be Google’s rumored mobile processor. Codenamed, it may be developed in conjunction with and make its debut in the upcoming Pixel 6. Again, it’s unlikely we’ll see that phone announced at I/O, but announcing the chip could give some heads-up for developers.
Google Assistant and smart home products
Google I/O has had some show-stopping demos in the past, like when the 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 exact capabilities coming to the Google Assistant, maybe we could hear news of the new Assistant coming to more Android devices, not just Pixel phones.
Nest Hub Max.also said to expect new features and new product announcements in smart home. Google just launched the toward the end of 2020, so maybe it could get some new features, or we could see a new version of the
There’s also speculation about an updated, thanks to an that appeared in March.