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Google I/O 2021 Developer Conference Begins Tomorrow: Android 12 & Other Expected Announcements

Google's image used for representation (Image: Reuters)

Google's image used for representation (Image: Reuters)

Google I/O is happening after a break last year. The last event happened in 2019 and it was a physical event. This is the first time Google I/O is being organised virtually.

Google is all set to begin with its annual keynote conference Google I/O 2021 on May 18 at 1PM EDT (10:30PM IST). At this year’s Google I/O, the Mountain View, California-based giant is expected to reveal several things, including the first beta for the next version of its Android system - Android 12. Apart from giving us the first official look at Android 12, Google is also expected to talk about its services, the new Pixel Buds A-series, but won’t launch the Pixel 5a. While Google launched the Pixel 3a during its last Google I/O in 2019, the company last year launched the Pixel 4a in August and there was no Google I/O last year. For the Pixel 5a, however, Google has already said that the smartphone will be launched around the same time as its predecessor.

Now, in terms of Google showing us what it has been working on for the past year, the company is likely to give most attention to Android 12. We have seen several developer previews of Android 12, which have given us an idea of about a lot of small tweaks and developer-focused features. At Google I/O, the company is expected to reveal Android 12’s more user-focused features including some UI changes like stacked widgets, a new lock screen, new more aggressive theming, and more. There are rumours of a new privacy UI which will alert users when their camera, microphone, and location is in use. Android 12 is poised to be a big update for Android - both in terms of the looks and functionality.

Google is also reported to launch the Pixel Buds A-series. The Pixel Buds A-series has been leaked on several occasions. Most recently, Google accidentally tweeted about the Pixel Buds A series via the official Android Twitter handle. Earlier, in April, the company included an image of an olive green Pixel Buds in an email. While the leaks don’t telll much about the product, the A-series name makes it seem like these will be an affordable offering from Google.

Following on the lines of competitor Apple, Google is also rumoured to be developing its own in-house custom chipset for upcoming Pixel smartphones. The rumoured “GS101" chipset is said to power Pixel smartphones starting with this year’s Pixel 6 series. The chipset is reportedly being developed in partnership with Samsung. It is also likely that Google won’t announce the new chipset until it unveils devices that actually run on it, so this not being introduced during Google I/O wouldn’t come as a very surprising development.

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