Google I/O – the annual developer focused event – saw a wide-range of announcements, but kept plenty in the locker. Here’s what was missing.
Google I/O was a bit of a weird one this year. We had conversations with paper airplanes, a whole section dedicated to Google Docs helping you avoid gendered terms, a more sensitive Google Photos app and a whole chunk on quantum computing.
Just when we thought Google was playing a massive joke on us with the least consumer-friendly I/O keynote ever the company dropped Android 12 and the biggest news of the day; that it was teaming up with Samsung and Fitbit to create the ultimate Apple Watch (or watchOS) rival.
However, compared to expectations, there was still a lot missing from the event, where we’ve come to expect a little hardware new down the years. Let’s see what we’re still waiting for from Google in 2021.
Pixel Buds A-Series earbuds
Google has already confirmed these are coming – at least accidentally. The new versions of the Pixel Buds were revealed by marketing materials earlier in May and seemed nailed on for a reveal at I/O. Unfortunately, Google kept the event purely about software. We’re not sure what’ll separate the Pixel Buds A-Series from the existing model, but we do know they will benefit from the Fast Pair Bluetooth tech that enables a rapid connection.
Well, even though it appears the Pixel 5a will be a US-only launch, we half-expected Google to unveil it at some point during Google I/O. But it didn’t happen. We’re still expecting it offer 5G tech and a mid-range Qualcomm chip when it eventually arrived. The 4a launched later last year, so perhaps it isn’t surprising Google is still holding off for now.
This Pixel 6 was even less likely to arrive at I/O because Google usually reveals its flagship phones in October. However, it was still absent and added to the list of things we’re expecting from Google later this year. Boasting a new design and running Android 12, it’ll likely sit among the best Android phones.
Silence from Stadia
It hasn’t been a good 2021 for Stadia fans. Google gave up on first-party games and loads of top executives and developers jumped ship. Google I/O would have been a good time to let everyone know what it has been working on to restore faith Stadia has a future. Alas, nothing.
Google GS100 smartphone chip
There are rumblings the Pixel 6 will be powered by a brand new Google-made SoC, similar to the A-Series Apple uses or Samsung’s Exynos chips. The rumoured chip – codenamed Whitechapel – would be a good step forward for Google’s hardware, which currently relies on Qualcomm chips. However there was no sign of it at I/O.
Nowt from Nest
Nothing to add here. There was nothing pertaining to Google’s smart home brand Nest.
OK, this one’s been rumoured for actual years, but now it seems more likely than ever. Google revealed the blueprint with the new Wear OS / Tizen / Fitbit OS operating system, but as yet no own-branded Pixel Watch hardware.
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