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Google I/O 2022 live blog: Pixel 6a, Pixel Watch, Android 13 and all the news as it happens

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Some of the first pre-keynote pics are rolling in from Google I/O, and this one comes from Dieter Bohn, formerly of The Verge and now part of the Platform & Ecosystems team at Google. It’s a reminder that the keynote will be held at the Shoreline Amphitheater for the first time since 2019 with a limited audience in attendance.

(Image credit: Google)

If we were attending Google I/O in person like we did in the pre-Covid days, one of the pre-keynote highlights would be when Google broadcast games on the big screens hanging over the keynote stage. Just because I/O 2022 is largely virtual this year, we don’t need to give up that element of fun — behold, the wonders of IO Pinball.

Yes, it’s a game from Google built using Flutter, Google’s open-source framework for multiplatform development. The game itself not only uses the mascot for Flutter, but also mascots from Firebase, Chrome and Android. You can use your keyboard controls to wile away the remaining hours before the I/O keynote, though honestly, I hope someone whips up a playable version of Karate Kat in the interim.

Google I/O 2022 keynote and developer keynote

(Image credit: google)

There’s a lot of focus on the opening Google I/O keynote at 1 p.m. ET today — and rightly so, since that’s where the biggest news will be. But it’s not the only keynote Google has scheduled for today.

Once the main keynote wraps up (we’d assume sometime between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. ET), Google hosts a developer keynote, presumably streaming on the I/O website. Traditionally, this keynote centers around the developer-focused announcements from the opening session, but in greater detail.

And then after that? More keynotes. Here’s a partial list of the ones featured on the Google I/O agenda.

  • What’s new in Android
  • The cloud built for developers
  • What’s new in Firebase
  • What’s new in Flutter
  • AI and machine learning for developers
  • What’s new for the web platform
  • What’s new in AR
  • What’s new in Google Play
  • What’s new in Chrome OS
  • What’s new in Google Home
  • What’s new in Google Pay

An alleged render of the Google Pixel Watch's face

(Image credit: 91Mobiles/Evan Blass)

Bear in mind that even if we just get a Pixel Watch teaser during the Google I/O keynote, there may be more than meets the eye to Google’s smartwatch plans. Specifically, there could be as many as three Pixel Watch models in the works.

About two weeks ago, filings with the Bluetooth Special Interest group (SIG) revealed that there were three potential Pixel Watches. That could mean three versions of the same watch, only in different sizes or with different cellular bands for different regions. Or, more intriguingly, it could mean that Google is designing different models with different purposes — a fitness-focused watch versus a lifestyle-focused watch, for example.

It’s an interesting question, and one we may not learn the answer to, even if Google does confirm that there’s a Pixel Watch in the works.

Google Nest Hub (2nd Gen) review

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

Back in March, 9to5Google reported that Google was working on a new Nest Hub smart display. The site claims that the new Nest Hub will feature a detachable tablet. The working theory is that it will operate as a way to interact with Google Assistant visually, but also as a media consumption device.

Details are pretty scarce, but we might hear more about it today.

Android 13 logo on a smartphone

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

Android 13 will likely make a big splash at today’s keynote. But two of the more interesting tidbits we’ve seen in the first beta are the addition of Bluetooth LE audio and the possibility of Google’s answer to Apple’s Spatial Audio.

Combined with the support for MIDI 2.0 peripherals, Android 13 might be a major update for audio enthusiasts. We’ll have to see what Google talks up today.

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OK, so this could be big. Mysmartprice has apparently spotted a Chromecast with Google TV device running on Android 12 on Geekbench. 

Given that the existing 2020 model of the device still runs on Android TV OS 10, this listing likely means one of two things — either Google is testing the current version so it can get an upgrade to Android 12 later this year, or there’s a new Chromecast with Google TV model coming soon.

Both seem plausible, but we heard rumors in January that a new Chromecast with Google TV could be coming later this year, so for now let’s say that the latter option seems more likely. 

That said, owners of the existing model would presumably hope it’s the former, as Android 12 support could bring a host of new features including 4K UI support and refresh rate switching. Hopefully we’ll find out soon either way.

Pixel Fold concept design shows a look similar to the Pixel 6

(Image credit: Waqar Khan/Let’s Go Digital)

Google has long been rumored to be working on a Pixel Fold device to go up against Samsung’s best foldable phones, and it’s possible we could see a glimpse today of Google’s first foldable. Or at the very least we could learn more about new foldable phone software features in Android 13.

Meanwhile, Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 4 is expected to debut in August, and today some new Galaxy Z Fold 4 renders have appeared that show off the design from all angles. 

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TechDroider has a quick summary on Twitter of what to expect at Google I/O 2022 today, and it lines up with what we’ve heard. This includes the launch of the Pixel 6a phone and a possible tease of the Google Pixel Watch. So even though the watch may be shown today for the first time, it may not ship until the fall.

The tweet also says that we may see Android 13 Beta 2 rolling out and a build of Android 13 for non-Pixel devices. However, we would caution loading the beta on your primary phone. 

Google Pixel 6a vs. iPhone SE 2022

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide/91mobiles/OnLeaks)

If the Google Pixel 6a debuts today it will inevitably be compared to the new iPhone SE 2022. And that’s because both Google and Apple will be vying for having the best cheap phone on the market. Well, the best cheap phone under $500.

Our Pixel 6a vs iPhone SE 2022 preview shows you how these phones are stacking up so far based on rumors and our iPhone SE 2022 review. Apple’s phone is a pint-sized powerhouse, but the Pixel 6a should have a much larger display (6.2 vs 4.7 inches), an ultra-wide camera (the iPhone SE has just one) and a smoother 90Hz display. 

Stay tuned for more info.

Fossil Gen 5 LTE review

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

With Google’s Wear OS 3 expected to get some stage time at Google I/O 2022 today, you may be wondering if your Android watch can run the software. Our Kate Kozuch has put together this handy Wear OS 3 smartwatch eligibility guide so you can check. 

Google Pixel Watch leak

(Image credit: Front Page Tech)

That prototype leak was just one of the many around the new Pixel Watch; keeping up with them has been almost a full-time job these past few months. 

Fortunately, you don’t need to wade through hundreds of articles in order to know what to expect, because we’ve pulled together the 5 biggest Google Pixel Watch rumors so far in one handy primer. 

Pixel Watch prototype

(Image credit: Android Central)

The Google Pixel Watch is a strong candidate to be revealed at I/O 2022 today, bringing to an end a lengthy wait for the company’s first wearable. 

While we don’t know for sure what it will look like or what its specs will be, we have a pretty good idea due to a multitude of leaks over the past few months.

The biggest of these, a couple of weeks ago, came when a Pixel Watch prototype was reportedly left in a restaurant. Yes, really. Assuming the images are genuine, it looks to be an attractively curved smartwatch with a near-bezel-less design and a couple of hardware buttons on the side. 

An Android phone running google maps - representing how to disable location tracking on Android

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you want a stealth candidate for a Google product to make news at I/O, look no further than Maps, one of the software giant’s more popular programs. Maps has made frequent appearances at I/O keynotes over the years, as the crowd seems to get fired up by a helpful app gaining even more features.

Off the top of my head, the past few I/O keynotes have seen Maps add Google Assistant, adapt an incognito mode and work AR-guided navigation into Live View. What could be on tap for 2022? Your guess is as good as mine, but I’d predict something that leverages all that data Google’s collected about people and places to fuel some new Maps capability.

There’s one hardware rumor that I don’t think will pan out for Google I/O 2022 and it involves the supposedly imminent launch of the Pixel Buds Pro

A few weeks back, leaker Jon Prosser said that the Pixel Buds Pro were set to debut soon, and even listed some colorways the wireless earbuds would appear in. Prosser didn’t specifically mention I/O in his tweet, but at the time, the developer conference seemed soon enough to fit the bill.

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There’s only one problem with that line of thinking — we haven’t heard many details about the earbuds themselves. And that’s usually as good a sign as any that a launch won’t happen any time soon. The more rumors you hear about a product, the closer you are to a launch, at least in my experience.

Then again, given my experience with tech predictions, don’t be surprised should Sundar Pichai stride to the Google I/O stage today sporting a pair of Pixel Buds Pro.

Google Pixel Event Tensor chip screenshot

(Image credit: Google)

As for potential Tensor powers, I tackled that topic a few weeks back when I wrote about the Pixel 6 features I hope to find in the Pixel 6a. Let’s just say that Magic Eraser — the tool for one-tap removals of unwanted objects and people from photos — had best make the grade.

galaxy a53 and pixel 5a in hand against brick background

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

To my way of thinking, there are two intriguing things about the Pixel 6a, which may or may not show up at Google I/O today. For starters, what will adding the Tensor chip to the Pixel 6a enable the budget phone to do? And how does the Pixel 6a stack up against the Samsung Galaxy A53?

The answer to the first question probably helps supply the answer to Question No. 2. Should it arrive now, the Pixel 6a appears at a time when it’s the Samsung phone that can claim to be better value among Android handsets, at least if our Galaxy A53 vs. Pixel 5a face-off is anything to go by. The Pixel 6a has its work cut out for it to topple the A53, and Google’s usual expertise with photography will only go so far.

pixel 6 pro vs iphone 13 pro max: both phones laying face down on a hardwood floor

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

My colleague Jordan Palmer has been spending a lot of time with Android 13, and he goes into today’s keynote hoping that Google addresses a thorny issue — just what exactly third-party apps can track about you on Android. 

If you read Jordan’s Android 13 wish list, you’ll find that he thinks the solution to what ails Android lies in Apple’s approach to the same issue with its iPhones.

Android 13 logo on a smartphone

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

Google I/O is traditionally Android’s coming out party, with Google showing off its upcoming software update during the I/O keynote, and kicking off a beta process that culminates in a release of the next version of Android toward the end of summer.

Android 13 may well launch in the same time frame later this year, but you can already get the first beta of this software update, provided you have a Pixel phone. Nevertheless, we’d expect Android 13 to get a big showcase during today’s keynote, especially if Google wants to talk up any features that haven’t gotten much attention yet.

Good morning, and welcome to Tom’s Guide’s Google I/O 2022 live blog. We’ll keep you up to date on all the latest news from the conference as it happens — so bookmark this page and check back regularly.

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