April 24, 2024

Google I/O 2024: What to expect and how to watch

Google uses I/O to give developers a first look at what’s new for Android, the hardware that supports it, and all the next-gen technology the company is tinkering with behind the scenes.

This year’s Google I/O kicks off on May 14 with a livestream keynote beginning at 10 a.m. PT. In the pre-pandemic era, I/O was hosted in large event spaces like the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, with thousands of attendees. Google says this year’s keynote will be held in front of a small live audience, with talks and sessions available to watch live online or later on demand.


How to watch Google I/O 2024

If you’re not part of that small live audience, Google will livestream all keynotes and sessions at io.google/2024 and likely on its YouTube channel as well. You don’t need to register to watch, but if you do you can save content and receive email updates about the event. Google typically reveals the final schedule of talks and sessions closer to the conference itself.


Pixel 8a on deck

Google often relies on I/O to introduce mid-range smartphones; we got the Pixel 7a in 2023 and the Pixel 6a in 2022. As we head towards I/O 2024, multiple reports suggest that Google will unveil the Pixel 8a. Android Authority says, citing an internal source, that the Pixel 8a will keep the same 6.1-inch screen size as the 7a, but will improve the refresh rate from 90Hz to 120Hz while boosting brightness from 1,000 to 1,400 nits. That is a significant improvement.

The 8a should jump a generation ahead when it comes to the system on a chip (SoC), moving from the Google Tensor G2 to the Google Tensor G3, the same chip found in the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro. It does well with AI tasks, although it’s not the most popular gaming chip out there. Look for some minor refinements to the Pixel 8a’s body that will match the Pixel 8’s style, such as rounder corners.

In a confirming report, Smartprix posted renders of what it claims is the Google Pixel 8a. The new 8a may have a smaller bezel around the screen with a slightly thicker chin under the screen. Overall, the renders look similar to the Pixel 8. Smartprix also says the Tensor G3 would power the 8a, but it would be an underclocked version compared to the Tensor G3 chips in the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro.

As for price, the Pixel 6a costs $449 while the 7a is $50 more. The Pixel ‘a’ line is aimed at the middle of the market, so we expect the price to remain close to $499.

Chances of being there: High


The next pixel fold

When it launched at I/O 2023, Google touted the Pixel Fold as the thinnest foldable product on the market, a title it lost to the Honor Magic V2 later in the year. The Pixel Fold has a wider cover screen than the Samsung Galaxy Fold line, which made the Pixel Fold feel more like a traditional flat phone when closed.

Smartprix recently posted renders of what it claims is the Pixel Fold 2. The biggest design change is visible on the back of the device; instead of carrying over the camera bar that’s been on every Pixel since the 6th line, it reconfigures the camera module into a bump. The design can be divisive, just like the camera bar itself.

The outer screen can jump from 5.8 to 6 inches. The inner screen looks sleeker with smaller bezels than on the original Pixel Fold. The inner front camera can be moved from the edge to below the screen.

The same report also says that the Pixel Fold 2 will feature spec increases to 16GB of RAM (from 12GB) and 256GB of UFS 4.0 storage (from UFS 3.1 storage) for fast transfers. The Fold 2 may also be the first Pixel with the Tensor G4 SoC. However, timing is everything; Reports on the Fold 2 have been a bit thin this close to the event, and it’s possible that Google is still developing the Fold 2 and Tensor G4 for launch later this year. Hopefully Google will at least tease the device during the keynote.

Chances of being there: average


Google Pixel tablet 2?

At I/O 2022, Google announced its return to the Android tablet game with the Google Pixel Tablet, which formally arrived a year later. Unlike the Pixel 8a and Fold, there are even fewer reports or leaks about the potential Pixel Tablet 2. In February, 9to5Google dug into the Android code and found some possible codenames related to the Pixel Tablet 2, but there isn’t much more to it than that. doing. on at the moment.

We expect Google to talk about the advancements of its smart home technology at I/O, and we’re more likely to hear which of these features are coming to the existing Pixel Tablet rather than a brand new tablet.

Chances of being there: unlikely


What’s new in Android 15

If there’s one thing we’ll definitely see at I/O, it’s a deep dive into the next version of Android. Last year, Google showed off Magic Compose for Android, which suggests replies in apps like Google Messages, as well as tools like Cinematic Wallpaper, which uses machine learning to help you customize your device.

Android 15 logo

(Credit: René Ramos, Bob Al-Greene; Google)

Google has already released two Developer Previews of Android 15, offering some hints at what lies ahead. The first preview featured privacy changes, including the latest version of the Privacy Sandbox on Android, which aims to keep your information private while allowing Google to maintain its advertising business. The second preview improved support for satellite connectivity and brings system-level support for external cover displays, which could make the foldable phone experience better. Google is likely to hold back some of Android 15’s most notable features to demonstrate during the keynote.

Recommended by our editors

Chances of being there: Definitely


AI, AI, I/O

Last year, Google discussed how AI would change everything. Google Bard, the company’s first-generation conversational AI and ChatGPT competitor, received a lot of attention. Since then, Google has continuously pushed AI features into products like Android, search, and Google Workspace. Google’s AI powers tools like Circle to Search on Samsung’s Galaxy S24 line. In typical Google fashion, the name Bard also gained attention and the AI ​​chatbot is now known as Gemini.

Google I/O 2024 Puzzle Teaser

Google I/O 2024 puzzle teaser (Credit: Google)

Google will certainly show off the latest version of its Gemini AI, although the specific details are still somewhat murky. With any luck, Google will improve Gemini’s accuracy and tell us how Gemini will impact Google Assistant-based smart home products, and what will work on devices like the Pixel 8 and Pixel Tablet.

Chances of being there: sure


Google Vision?

Google talked about a partnership with Samsung at I/O 2023 to build a new XR Android platform, but so far there doesn’t seem to be any new news about the platform. XR is a general term that includes extended reality technologies such as augmented reality, mixed reality and virtual reality. In January, Google partner Qualcomm suggested that powerful XR headsets will be on deck later this year.

Given the hype surrounding the Apple Vision Pro, Google I/O 2024 could be a good time to introduce an XR product (or at least for Google to demonstrate it:something!-Is in the making). However, if Samsung is behind the hardware, the product is more likely to be introduced at a later date, such as at the next Unpacked event. We’ll have to see which company takes the lead on this.

Chances of being there: small


Get ready for I/O

We’re looking forward to Google’s big conference. If there are any surprises, we will arrange that. In the meantime, learn more about Google Gemini and what it can do.

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