Google I/O 2022: Highlights from Google’s annual developer keynote

Google I/O 2022: This year, Google held its annual developer conference at the Shoreline Amphitheater, returning to a limited in-person format. The two-hour keynote began with CEO Sundar Pichai talking about Google’s mission and accomplishments in informing and connecting communities around the world. The presentation also featured a lot of new Pixel hardware and teasers for several product categories, as well as upcoming software and AI improvements. Here are the highlights…


In July: Pixel 6a and Pixel Buds Pro

The $449 Pixel 6a is available this year but an equally powerful version of Google’s latest Pixel flagship. Powered by the same Tensor chip as the Pixel 6/6 Pro, the 6a makes a few compromises in other areas with a smaller 60Hz display, less RAM, and poor camera setup.

However, it seems to be another solid option in the extremely competitive mid-range Android segment. Pixel fans can pre-order the 6a from July 21st, with shipping and store availability beginning July 28th.

The $200 Pixel Buds Pro are Google’s first premium active noise-canceling headphones and will also go on sale at the end of July. They are twice as expensive as Google’s regular A-series Pixel Buds, but pack more features, are expected to last longer, and fit more comfortably in your ear.

Coming this fall: Pixel 7, Pixel 7 Pro and Pixel Watch.

The radically redesigned Google Pixel 6 and 6 Pro have faced a lot of issues since launch. However, they also managed to create significant momentum for Google’s mobile ambitions, which is why the company offered a sneak peek of its successors to keep fans excited.

Aside from the next generation Tensor chip and the flagship duo’s slightly improved design, Google is keeping everything under wraps for now and is expected to reveal full details when the phones launch this fall.

Along with the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro, Google’s long-awaited Pixel Watch will arrive. The round, thick-bezel design isn’t likely to do them any good, but Google Fitbit’s integration over Wear OS 3 and a minimalist look with a mechanical crown could make this watch interesting.

Coming next year and beyond: Pixel Tablet and augmented reality glasses

After years of ditching Android tablets, Google is showing signs of renewed interest in the category again with Android 12L. An OS optimized for large-screen devices was a strong indication that a Google tablet was on the horizon.

Indeed, the Tensor-powered Pixel Tablet is expected to launch in 2023. What’s more, Google is optimizing over 20 of its own apps for this form factor, as well as hinting at the same for other popular third-party apps.

Another product category that Google is making (or hoping to make a comeback in) is smart glasses. Google touched on augmented reality at the very end of its keynote and showed a demo of its prototype AR glasses that record conversations in real time.

Although Google hasn’t said when these glasses will be released, the company is working on Project Iris (most likely their internal code name) indicates that the launch will take place sometime in 2024.


Android 13 Beta 2 released, tweaks added and more

Google I/O 2022 announced the second beta of Android 13 for mainstream users, as well as what to expect from the final fall release. The latest iteration will be based on the Android 12 Material You design language with more themes and customizations, enhanced support for RCS messaging, and improved privacy and security measures.

Android 13 will also allow users to set a per-app language and improve device compatibility by enabling quick pairing support for the Matter smart home standard.

Service and App Improvements: Search, YouTube, Maps, and Wallet

Google’s artificial intelligence prowess has again been demonstrated in its search and its own apps. For example, when searching for flights, the relevant emissions for your route will now be displayed to help you choose the greenest option.

Google also announced auto-generated translations for mobile YouTube and an immersive view in Google Maps similar to Apple Maps 3D for a more realistic and detailed view of cities.

The new Google Wallet app is also coming to Android and Wear OS devices. The app will also replace Google Pay in some regions and allow users to store credit cards, digital IDs, vaccination records, and other personal documents.

Development Tools: Firebase and Flutter Updates

Google has announced several updates to its Firebase server platform as a service. The latter will now be tightly integrated with other Google developer tools and frameworks such as Android Studio and Flutter. They will now have direct access to Firebase Crashlytics crash data to help developers debug code.

Meanwhile, web apps will now be easier to deploy with Firebase thanks to improved support for the Angular and Next.js frameworks. Google also announced that Firebase now fully supports Apple’s Swift development.

Flutter, Google’s cross-platform UI framework, has also received several updates. The latest platform, now called Flutter 3, adds Material Design 3 and stable support for building apps for macOS (including Apple Silicon) and Linux.

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