Google IO is an annual event held by Google to showcase new technology and updates, including Android. The IO was cancelled last year due to the pandemic, but Google has resumed it this year going full virtual.
There is still a week left before it premieres, so, what is there to expect from this year’s Google I/O?
Android 12 Previews:
Android 12 has a lot sneak peeks and this include multiple developer previews. With Android 11 going full-blast this year, it is quite obvious to expect Android 12 in the next IO.
Although Google no longer use a confectionery-based nickname for their Android versions, it still is being used internally. Android 12 is internally named “Snow Cone”, but for marketing purposes, only “Android 12” will be used. Anyway, this new version has a visual overhaul after a continuous UI refinements and improvements. During the third Android Developer Preview, new features were unveiled, as well as old features being refined over time. A few of the features seen in the Android 12 DP3 include a native Quad-bayer camera support, improved haptic feedback and the new inexact alarms, which, according to Google, is more “battery-friendly” .
There is also a new “Game Mode” feature seen. This feature is similar to many of the third-party game boosters that other manufacturers have, such as Xiaomi’s Game Turbo and Lenovo’s Game Booster. This optimises whatever game you’re playing. In the app, there are three priority levels: “Performance” uses much of your CPU and GPU power to maximise frame rate. “Standard” does nothing much and uses the game’s default settings, and “Power Saver”, which optimises the game by lowering frame rate to help save battery life.
The toast message (the little message you see at the bottom of your screen) now adapts to your current theme, whether in light or dark mode.
It may not be noticeable at first, but the notifications menu also got a small revamp, now when the same notification appears, there will be a small count when stacked, which you can expand or collapse.
Also, if you’re using a Google Pixel device, there are now more options for you to choose from, including a larger grid size.
Another important feature implemented is audio crossfade, though, still in a poor-developed state, it allows for a small fade before a song start, to any audio player you have that is.
Google Assistant improvements:
Google Assistant was first launched during Google I/O 2016, and had since been improved. The new Google Assistant this coming I/O 2021 will be a redesign of the app as well as tweaks and improvements, including but not limited to: voice recognition, device compatibility and a worldwide release.
Google Pixel 5a and 6
The Google Pixel series is the successor to the popular Nexus and is also Google’s own handsets, boasting a handful of features including vanilla Android and fresh updates for up to 3 years, GCam, which has been ported to other devices, including midrangers and computational photography.
It is expected that the Google Pixel 5A and 6 would debut in the I/O 2021, the latter coming with Google’s own Whitechapel processor which was made in collaboration with Samsung that also makes their own “Exynos” line of chipsets. Google said that the Pixel 5A would be “coming later this year” so the 5A and 6 appearing in the I/O is not too far fetched.
Google Fitbit and WearOS
Google has acquired Fitbit but has not done much yet. WearOS is a smartwatch port of Android. So far, the biggest feature implemented for WearOS is the implementation of Gboard. We may see updates of Fitbit and WearOS in the coming I/O, but right now, it seems like these two are stagnant.