Google’s annual Google I/O developer event took place May 11-12, and it was packed with announcements of new hardware, software, and more from the brand across categories like smartphones, computers, and even smartwatches.
While there was a lot announced at the event, including updates to services like Google Maps, like Immersive View that layer images overtop simulated buildings, along with enhanced translations, greater privacy, natural language with Google Assistant, and more, we’re breaking down the biggest announcements from the event pertaining to consumer hardware.
Google Pixel 6A Smartphone
The newest smartphone in the Pixel line-up will be the Pixel 6A, which is set for availability in the U.S. on July 21. Selling for $599 in Canada, it will be a pared down version with a 12MP camera (a marked difference from the 6’s 50MP camera) and less powerful processor, but will also include Google’s Tensor AI chip. With a 6.1-inch screen, the Pixel 6A will serve as a perfect mid-tier or entry-level device for those on a budget who want the clean, Android experience. The Pixel 7, meanwhile, is scheduled to launch in the Fall.
Google Pixel 7 Smartphone
As the latest model in the premium line-up, the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro were teased at the event, but attendees only got to see renderings of the device. Aesthetically, they appear to have different camera cutouts and a noticeable different back panel design. The frame is also made of recycled aluminum. The 7 will have a pair of cameras and the 7 Pro will have three, and they will feature the Tensor chip. Both will launch alongside Android 13 sometime in the Fall.
Google Pixel Watch
Yes, Google is finally coming out with its own smartwatch, the Google Pixel Watch. Thanks to the company’s acquisition of Fitbit last year, the watch has been developed with years of expertise in the business behind it. Indeed, while Pixel Watch will run on Wear OS 3, it will feature Fitbit integration as well. With a round face with tactile crown, the entire face wraps around the circular front, giving it a sleek and fashionable look. There are minimal details available so far, but Google did reveal that the watch will have all the essential tracking features, including sleep tracking and continuous heart rate monitoring. It will also presumably include the ability to make mobile payments and control compatible smart home devices, right from your wrist. Chances are the watch might also work with Google Assistant, but that hasn’t yet been confirmed.
Google Pixel Buds Pro
It’s no surprise that, since Apple launched its AirPods Pro, it was only a matter of time before Google followed suit and launched its own premium true wireless earbuds to match. The Pixel Buds Pro ($259 in Canada, July 21 for pre-orders, July 28 launch) will boast advanced features like active noise cancellation, waterproof design, custom audio chip, and Bluetooth multipoint support for connecting more than one device at once. With Google’s Silent Seal, the Buds automatically adapt to your ears to maximize ANC, but it also monitors pressure in the ear canal to relieve as necessary so you can comfortably wear them for long periods of time. They will run for up to seven hours per charge with ANC on (presumably longer with ANC off). The Buds will also come in a variety of colour options to express your personality. After launch, they will receive an update to add spatial audio, putting them even closer in line with Apple’s AirPods Pros. Additionally, they will eventually get compatibility with the Android Find My Device service, which will rival Apple’s similar function.
A New Pixel Tablet
While it doesn’t yet have an official name, Google did confirm that it would be launching a new Android tablet next year, which would work as a companion device to a Pixel smartphone. The only detail that was revealed about the device, however, is that it will feature a Tensor chip, Google’s new custom chip design that is reportedly more efficient and intelligently prioritizes activities.
Google will be launching a pair of AR glasses that can translate conversations in real time as you speak. It’s more a concept that doesn’t have a name, launch date, or price just yet. But it was interestingly, nonetheless, as a means for Google to flex its tech muscles and show what the company can do.
The Google Wallet is returning, this time allowing users to store everything from payment cards to events passes, rewards program memberships, vaccination records, and more. Google’s clear answer to Apple Wallet, it’s a smart move to help Android phone owners leave their wallets at home and access important cards at the tap of a button.
Android 13 Beta
The latest version of the mobile OS is now available for anyone to download and try with a compatible device. Among the improvements are the addition of Google Wallet, a Now Playing notification, and slight usability refinements. This new OS isn’t a huge jump from Android 12, but it is just the refresh the OS needs before another massive update.
Google Assistant Upgrades
The most significant upgrade to Google Assistant, along with continued enhancements towards understanding more natural language, is a new feature called Look and Talk. When activated by the user along with Face Match and Voice Match, you can simple look at the Nest Hub Max, speak a command, and it will respond – there’s no more need to say “Hey Google” first. It works by analyzing signals from the camera and microphone, including everything from how close you are to the smart speaker to what direction you’re facing, where you’re looking, and how your lips are moving, to understand if you’re delivering a command or just chatting nearby. You can also set Quick Phrases for your most common commands so you can say those without the “Hey Google” prompt first from anywhere in the home within earshot of the smart device, like “turn on kitchen lights” or “set a timer for 20 minutes.” Like Look and Talk, Quick Replies only work when you opt in.