Google I/O 2021 kicked off with a keynote event that included a look at some great innovations, from new features in Maps to updated ways to manage your search history to some great views into what's coming in the next big version of Google's mobile operating system, Android 12. But there were some large gaps in the presentation, some of which we expected and some that were more of a disappointment.
Long story short is that the keynote presentation was entirely focused on software, with no new hardware announcements.
Here then, are the big things Google didn't give us during this year's IO keynote event.
The Pixel 5 remains the company's top phone, packing solid specs and camera performance into an attractive and relatively compact body. And while its price tag is competitive against the iPhone 12 Pro Max and Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, it's still out of reach for many. Google is expected to launch a cheaper version, the Pixel 5A, just as it did with the Pixel 4A last year, but so far there's no sign.
The Pixel 5 and Pixel 4A.
The Pixel 4A was launched in August, however, so it's likely Google is keeping to a similar release schedule and we'll simply have to wait till the summer to get some of that sweet cheap-phone action. The Pixel 6, meanwhile, isn't expected until October, so we definitely weren't thinking we'd get any kind of hint of that just yet.
Google made a variety of announcements around upcoming features in its smartwatch operating system, Wear OS, but it didn't offer any new hardware to go along. That's a shame, as one of the bigger rumors around the event was that the company would show off its first wearable device, the Pixel Watch. We've seen a variety of leaked renders of the device and we were pretty much all set for its reveal.
The Pixel 4A offered a more affordable entry into the world of the company's phones, and a Pixel Buds A Series would've done something similar for wireless earbuds that provide Google Assistant functions. But a Buds A Series was, sadly, a no-show.
Google Pixel Buds 2
Google was rumored to be working on its own chip, apparently code-named Whitechapel, to power its phones, and likely its future Chromebooks too. The company was expected to debut the chip at Google I/O. That would've given developers the chance to find out more about the new silicon during the multiday conference, so they could start developing software in time for the chip's public rollout.