Google I/O developer conference set to return on May 18 as a virtual event: Expected announcements, other details

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Updated: May 18, 2021 1:49 PM

Android 12, Pixel 5a incoming?

Google, Google I/O, Google I/O 2021Notably, the event will be free for everyone. (Photo credit: Reuters)

Google I/O developer conference is returning this May as a virtual event after being cancelled last year due to coronavirus outbreak. Notably, the event will be free for everyone. As is usually the case, the global search engine giant put out a cryptic puzzle on a dedicated website last night and solving it reveals the Google I/O 2021 date(s) – May 18-20. Soon after, Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai also confirmed this on Twitter. The complete schedule will be announced later this month.

Google says I/O 2021 will give developers – and also enthusiasts – around the world an opportunity to engage in thoughtful discussions, get hands-on learning with Google experts while also giving them a first look at its latest developer products through “workshops, Ask Me Anything Sessions (AMAs), personalised content, live Q&A during Sessions, chat in I/O Adventure, developer profile badges, and more.”

Google usually hosts a keynote on the opening day of I/O where it talks about software mostly, as well as some hardware. The budget Pixel 3a was launched at I/O 2019 and while the pandemic did delay its successor, aka Pixel 4a in 2020, there is no reason why things can’t go back to the way they were before – at least to some degree. Remember, Google had announced the Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5 alongside the Pixel 4a (LTE) in advance in July only to formally launch them at a later date. Google may announce the long-rumoured Pixel 5a at I/O 2021 for all we know.

Also Read | Apple WWDC 2021 kicks off June 7, will be an online-only event

Rumour also has it that Google is working on its own Pixel silicon which may debut with the Pixel 6. I/O could be a great platform to confirm those plans – so that’s also something to watch out for.

Android 12 will most definitely be on the cards with Google expected to give a clearer roadmap in terms of both feature set and availability for its next major Android update.

Google I/O isn’t the only high-profile tech event set to make comeback this year. Microsoft recently announced that its Build conference will take place virtually from May 25–27. Facebook is similarly hosting its annual F8 developer’s conference virtually on June 2 after cancelling it altogether last year.

Apple meanwhile is set to host WWDC virtually two years in a row now. WWDC 2021 will take place from June 7 through June 11.

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