Google was busy this week, announcing plenty of new software and service features to pass around the developer table, and some shiny new hardware for everyone to feast their eyes on.
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This year’s I/O developer conference saw the launch of three major Pixel products, including a successor to last year’s Pixel 6a and two new ventures for the search giant: a dockable tablet and a foldable. There were announcements for generative AI and Bard-related updates too, of course, and ZDNET’s Sabrina Ortiz has all of that covered in full.
For now, here’s the lowdown of every piece of hardware Google unveiled at I/O 2023.
The Pixel A-series continues to play a prominent role in Google’s mobile lineup, delivering most, if not all, the latest Android software features in a hardware package that compromises just enough to flaunt a competitive price tag. The Pixel 7a continues that.
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This year, the mid-range Pixel sees improvements where it matters most: display quality, charging tech, and camera performance. For starters, the Pixel 7a’s 6.1-inch display gets a bump up to 90Hz from 60, making the user experience much smoother. Pixel 7a is also the first A-series device to feature wireless charging, even if that’s capped at just 7.5 watts.
As for the cameras, you now get a 64MP main lens that’s capable of SuperRes Zoom. Fan-favorite Pixel features like Magic Eraser and Photo Unblur have also trickled down from the flagship Pixels, and that’s mostly thanks to the new Tensor G2 chip powering the unit.
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The Pixel 7a is available for pre-order today for $499, a $50 bump from its predecessor. The upcharge comes at a time when consumer spending has stagnated, though Google is justifying the decision by offering an improved feature set while still selling last year’s Pixel 6a at a lower price — $349.
While most Android tablet manufacturers continue to fight over specs and numbers, Google’s new Pixel Tablet puts practicality at the forefront — and within the confines of your home.
The company first unveiled its next-gen tablet during its October hardware event last year, and today’s showing just about confirms all the specs and features of the device.
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The Pixel Tablet features Google’s own Tensor G2 processor, a new nano-ceramic coating that’s reminiscent of porcelain, and, most notably, a wireless charging dock that turns the tablet into a smart home speaker when not in hand.
With the Pixel Tablet, Google is thinking beyond the standard use cases of a handheld slab. And given its software prowess, a seamless entertainment and productivity experience that bests every other Android competitor is within reach, including the just-released OnePlus Tab.
Also: Google Pixel Tablet vs. Apple iPad (2022)
You can pre-order the Pixel Tablet for $499 today, and that price includes the wireless charging/speaker dock. Should you want more docks — because why wouldn’t you have one in every room of your house — you can buy them separately for $129 each.
The Pixel Fold was arguably the most anticipated product from Google I/O this year, and the company delivered everything that we wanted. (You might not be a fan of the price, though.)
Google touts the Pixel Fold as the thinnest foldable on the market, with a smaller form factor than its closest competitor, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4. It’s not wrong. The new foldable has a 5.8-inch display on the front and a 7.6-inch display inside, both of which refresh at 120Hz.
Also: Google unveils Pixel Fold, the thinnest foldable phone on the market
Most importantly, Google presented several use cases for the folding form factor, like Dual Screen Live Translation, which provides a transcription of dialogues between two different languages, and astrophotography, which lets you capture stars when you set the phone down and flex the display upwards. Some of the announced features will be available when the Pixel Fold gets the Android 14 update later this year.
Also: Google Pixel Fold vs. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
A Google Tensor G2 chip powers Pixel Fold, lending to improved machine learning capabilities, photo-editing features, and better efficiency overall. No matter which storage configuration you purchase — prices start at $1,799 for the 256GB model and $1,919 for the 512GB — you’ll get 12GB of RAM, a 4,821mAh battery capacity, and Titan M2 security.
Pre-orders start today, and Google says the Pixel Fold will begin to ship next month.
What wasn’t announced at I/O Earlier this year, Google expanded its data-transferring service, Fast Pair, so that Android smartphones could quickly and easily move files from one device to another on the initial boot-up screen. In that process, app developer expert Mishaal Rahman discovered a line of code that suggested the company was working on a ‘Locator tag’.
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This rumored Bluetooth tracker will be Google’s answer to the Apple AirTag and Tile Mate, both of which have proven to be reliable location tags that add to users’ mobile experiences. In this case, the Google tracker will dial into the vast Android user network to assist with nearby distance tracking.
There were hopes that Google would tease the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro during I/O this year, much like how it did with the 7 series last May, but that wasn’t the case.
Google typically releases its flagship, slab-style smartphones during the fall season, and that cadence looks to remain in 2023. This year, the company is expected to launch the Pixel 8 series around September and October, succeeding last year’s 7 series.
Also: Google’s Pixel cameras focus on ‘accessible creativity’ with impressive new features
Still, Google will likely focus on camera upgrades, an improved Tensor processor (possibly named ‘Tensor G3′), and new computational features that build on the successes of previous years’ Photo Unblur and Magic Eraser. The new phones should also operate on the latest Android 14 version.
Last year’s Google Pixel Watch was the company’s first attempt at creating a mainstream smartwatch from scratch, hardware included. Naturally, it had its first-gen woes, such as middling battery life, buggy software, and a lack of polish compared to Apple and Samsung’s best.
Given the original Pixel Watch was the first of its kind, only time will tell what the release schedule will be for the Google smartwatch. If things stay the same, then a fall release is imminent. Otherwise, expect an even more mature product at a later time.
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