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Google I/O 2022: What should you expect
Watch out, Google might finally be ready to debut a Pixel-branded wearable
While Google's next flagship smartphone isn't expected for a few more months, the arrival of the company's annual developer conference might bring with it a handful of surprise product announcements.
Google I/O 2022 is set to kick off later this week. Here's a quick rundown of what to expect from it and a guide on how to tune in if you're in Australia.
What is Google I/O?
Google I/O is the company's annual conference for software developers. The event has been running since 2008 and typically takes place in May each year. Essentially, I/O (which is either shorthand for Input/Output or Innovation in the Open, depending on who you're asking) is Google's equivalent of Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC).
I/O is a critical opportunity for many professional software developers, as it gives them a sneak peek at what's coming each year from the search giant and the chance to start preparing for it.
The conference itself boils down to a slate of talks and workshops covering developments in the Google ecosystem and what it means for both software professionals and mainstream consumers working with the company's products and services. The schedule for I/O usually includes important updates on all things related to Chrome, Android, Wear OS and more.
While software updates are usually the main focus, I/O is sometimes also used by Google to showcase and debut new hardware. For instance the Pixel 3a was announced at Google I/O in 2019 while last year's event saw the company hype up the ambitious Project Starline.
What to expect from Google I/O 2022?
Google Pixel 6a
Six months on from its release, last year's Google Pixel 6 has yet to receive an A-series counterpart. This conspicuous omission has led many to assume that Google will debut their next smartphone at this year's I/O developer conference.
Google's first budget-friendly Pixel made a splashy impression at I/O 2019, so it doesn't feel like a stretch to imagine their next one, which is tipped to incorporate Google's powerful Tensor processor, might make an appearance. That said, in the years since the Google Pixel 3a was introduced, it feels like Google have shied away from announcing new smartphones at I/O.
The Google Pixel 4a and the Pixel 5a were both announced closer to August, with the latter not even making it to the Australian market at all. We'll have to wait and see.
Google Pixel Watch
For as long as Google have been making Pixel smartphones, consumers and tech critics have been clamoring for the search giant to offer its equivalent to the Apple Watch.
If latest rumors and recent leaks are to be believed, then 2022 is set to be the year that finally happens. Anticipation for Google's entry into the wearable space is at an all-time high after a mystery device that many are assuming to be the Pixel Watch was allegedly left behind in a restaurant.
For that reason, this year's Google I/O 2022 might be a golden opportunity for the Pixel Watch to make its overdue debut and attempt to deliver on the hype.
Google Pixel Fold
Alongside the Pixel Watch and Pixel 6a, rumors Google might be gearing up to show off a foldable smartphone similar to Samsung's Galaxy Fold have proven popular ahead of this year's I/O developer conference.
Will that speculation come to anything? As with the above, only time will tell. A Pixel phone with a foldable form-factor feels inevitable, but there's no specific reason to expect it to be revealed at this year's Google I/O beyond wishful thinking.
It's been a few years since Google gave the Google Nest smart speaker and its pint-sized sibling an overhaul, so it's entirely possible that this year's I/O could see the company renew its efforts when it comes to both smart speakers and smart displays.
Will Google venture towards bigger and bigger screens as Amazon have, or will they stick to focusing on the sound side of the equation? Stay tuned.
Google acquired Fitbit in 2019, but has yet to really do much with the brand. It's been almost twelve months since the deal closed, so perhaps this year's I/O 2022 will give us a better sense of what's next for Fitbit and how that'll fits into Google's ever growing ecosystem of products and services.
How to watch Google I/O in Australia?
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Google I/O has been an online-only event that's free to watch anywhere in the world. If you're keen to tune into the keynote for Google I/O 2022, you can do so via the video below from 5AM (AEST) on the 12th of May, 2022.