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TL;DR
  • Google has outlined the full schedule for its virtual I/O 2021 event.
  • The calendar hints at news for Android, Chrome OS, Google Assistant, and smart homes.
  • Wear OS doesn’t have much of a presence, however.

Google has posted the full schedule for I/O 2021, and it’s clear the all-virtual event will be chock full of news — for certain users and developers, at least.

I/O 2021 will start with a lengthy two-hour keynote on May 18 at 1 PM Eastern (10 AM Pacific), followed by a developer-focused 45-minute keynote at 3:15 PM. Given that Google chief executive Sundar Pichai and other executives are poised to present during that first keynote, we’d expect most or all of the major news to be announced then — if the Pixel 5a or other hardware debuts at the conference, you’ll hear about it during those first few hours.

See also: Google briefly spoils the Pixel Buds A-Series launch

Later I/O 2021 presentations might serve as clues as to what you can expect. There’s little doubt that Google will dive deeper into Android 12 during its “What’s New With Android” keynote at 4:30 PM ET, but there are similar events queued up for Google Assistant (May 19th at 12:45 PM), Chrome OS (May 19 at 1:45 PM), and the previously shared smart home panel (May 19 at 7:15 PM).

You can also expect news on Google Play (May 18 at 5 PM ET), the web (May 18 at 5:15 PM), and Google Pay (May 19th at 5:15 PM). Google plans to replay events in the early morning for people in Africa and other regions where the initial timing isn’t convenient.

The schedule also includes at least one conspicuous omission. Apart from a tile creation workshop, there’s no mention of Wear OS at I/O 2021. Don’t expect Google to unveil a major Wear OS overhaul or talk about its Fitbit acquisition, in other words.

With that said, it’s evident that Google intends for I/O 2021 to make a splash similar to what you saw in years past. It might not have the physical extravagance of conventional events, but it could still represent a return to form after the pandemic prompted Google to cancel I/O 2020 outright.