Google I/O 2022: How to watch the event
Google I/O 2022 is happening online this year as well and is free to attend with invitations open to everyone. The keynote is scheduled to begin at 10 AM PDT (10:30PM) on May 11. If you intend to attend the event, do remember to register yourself first on io.google/2022.
The company is expected to make a host of new announcements, including the launch of Android 13. The Pixel 6a and even the Pixel Watch, whose images were leaked earlier when it was left behind at a restaurant in the United States, might make an appearance. We have put together some of the things you can expect to be unveiled at the search giant’s developer conference happening this week.
Android 13: What we know
Google has already released a developer preview of Android 13, intended for app developers to help them preview the build to design and modify their own apps according to the guidelines of the new update. The very first such preview of Android 13 was released in February this year.
The main new upgrades of Android 13 include upgraded theming options and privacy features. Since Android 12 was a big update, it doesn’t look like 13 will feature a lot of visual changes. However, the Material You design language will now be expanded to all apps and will no longer be limited to just Google’s own apps.
In the future, users will be able to rely on the themed icon feature from Android 12 for all apps, provided the developer has designed an icon that supports the monochromatic colours. Google also said that it is working with other manufacturers to release the feature more widely.
Android 13 would also bring new changes to how the OS handles permissions and security. There is a new photo picker that will allow users to share photos and videos with an individual app without the app needing full access to the device’s storage. But this feature will not be exclusive to Android 13, as Google plans to bring it to all phones running Android 11 and above.
Some of the backend changes will include better multi-language support and a new Wi-Fi permission system that will allow apps to discover and connect to Wi-Fi points without the need for location permissions.
Pixel 6a: What we know so far about the phone
Rumoured renders of the the Pixel 6a leaked in November last year. The leaks from 91mobiles revealed a phone that looked almost exactly like the standard Pixel 6, with the square camera island of the Pixel 5a replaced by camera bar like the one on the Pixel 6.
The phone was seen sporting two camera sensors on one, where one could be the main sensor and the other could be an ultrawide one. There was also an LED flash module on the other side. The front camera in the render was mounted in a hole-punch cutout in the front screen of the phone.
— Steve H.McFly (@OnLeaks) November 20, 2021
The rumoured specifications of the device were made available in a separate leak by 9to5Google. According to the publication, the Pixel 6a is expected to pack a 12.2MP Sony IMX363 main camera sensor, which is the same as the one found in the Pixel 3. The phone is also expected to come with Google’s Tensor GS101 chipset.
Pixel Watch: Will Google’s first smartwatch be unveiled at I/O 2022?
Google had filed for a trademark with the US Patent and Trademark Office for the “Pixel Watch” brand in April this year. Around the same time, someone reportedly left a test unit at a restaurant in the United States. Android Central obtained images of the device that revealed a design that looked remarkably similar to renders leaked last year.
— Android Central (@androidcentral) April 24, 2022
The images showed a minimalist circular design with a crown and a blue-coloured silicone strap, which indicated that the watch could make use of proprietary Google watch band attachments, unlike most Android smartwatches which use standard watch band types.
A separate leak by 9to5Google indicated that the watch could come with a relatively large 300mAh battery, but this alone cannot give us an idea about the battery life of the device as that figure is heavily dependent on the rest of the internals of the device.
Some leaks have indicated that the Pixel Watch could come with the Snapdragon Wear 4100 or Snapdragon Wear 4100+ chipset. Code discovered earlier by 9to5Google seemed to indicate that it could come with Samsung’s Exynos chipset. There is also a possibility that it could come with a version of Google’s Tensor chipset tailored for wearable devices. Apart from the smartwatch, Google might also give attention to WearOS.
Keep in mind that hardware does not typically make an appearance at I/O and Google tends to focus on software.