What to expect from Google I/O 2022, here are our predictions

by Kieron Quinn-Senior Software Developer |Tue May 10 2022

Google logo on a building

Google I/O is the tech giant’s annual developer conference, highly anticipated by Android developers around the world. We'll be tuning in for the latest technology updates and announcements, set to improve the development of apps and other services within the Google ecosystem. Here’s our take on some of the rumours that are flying around.

New themed icons in Android 13

Android 13 has mostly been ‘behind the scenes’ updates, refining the UI changes that were introduced in Android 12. So far in Beta, there are a few new features, such as themed icons - where developers can provide a monochrome icon that will be tinted to complement your wallpaper.

Themed icons are set to be more prominent, meaning for those who create a themed icon, that matches the user's wallpaper, could increase their chances of users keeping their app installed for longer.

Android 13 Beta 2 is expected to be released during Google I/O itself and may introduce a few more UI changes to improve animations during navigation, with the wide release of the OS coming out in Autumn.

Privacy and security changes

Android 13 updates are also set to include big changes to tighten privacy and security, such as the new notification permission prompt (like iOS) and restrictions on accessibility services to help reduce the risk of banking trojans like FluBot.

The changes will mean notifications will be treated similarly to iOS, where users have to opt into notifications before they can be shown. This announcement will mean UI changes will be required, it’s important to capitalise on iOS knowledge in situations such as these, recognising what works in helping users understand why they should opt-in.

Rumoured mobile device and wearable releases

This year’s biggest rumour has it that there'll be a new Pixel 6a, Pixel Watch and possibly a 'pro' version of the Pixel Buds with spatial audio (also new in Android 13). 

The most hyped thing in that list is definitely the Pixel Watch, given that it first leaked over a year ago and is supposed to be launching with features currently missing from WearOS, such as Google Assistant. 

We're seeing more and more opportunities within wearable technology that are unlocking more consumer data, increased employee productivity and improved customer service.

We’re excited to see what Google updates will allow us to update our offerings for our clients within this space. 

Upgrades to the Nest Hubs

The Nest Hub (2nd gen) and Nest Hub Max are great devices, but the smart display market needs a bit more elevation. Another rumour claims Google is working on a new-generation Nest Hub smart display, that comes with an exciting feature — a detachable display. It’s not confirmed how powerful this tablet will be, what unique features it’ll include, or how it will fare in comparison to the more conventional tablets, but it sounds exciting!

As it stands currently, the Nest Hub (2nd gen) has an app launcher available, but it only allows specific apps such as Spotify, Pandora and YouTube. Which is fairly limiting, as it doesn't run Android (they run another Google OS called Fuchsia). The rumoured new Nest Hub may change all of that though, as it's supposedly going to be detachable and run Android, which would allow us to support it much more easily. This could be a really exciting announcement for brands looking for more ways to widen their user reach.

Changes I would love to see…

There are some changes I'd like to see in Android 13, such as better adoption of the Material You colour system. Google didn't require OEMs to use it in Android 12 (in fact they only open sourced it in 12.1), which has led to discrepancies between different devices. This will cause hesitance from designers and developers to use it, making using the platform inconsistent for users.

There are also a number of changes coming in Android Studio, including better support for developing watch apps, a welcome change I'm happy to see with the platform gaining traction and a Pixel Watch on the way. In addition, improvements to Jetpack Compose are always welcome, as it is the future of layout implementation on Android, especially for wearables.

To find out more about the latest announcements from Google and how they can help drive your business forwards, get in touch with our team of experts.

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