Google’s hardware team under Rick Osterloh has struggled to find its footing in recent years, but it had a certifiable hit on its hands with last year’s Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. Not resting on its laurels, Google has revealed a new batch of Pixel devices at Google I/O, plus offered up some teasers for devices that will launch in the coming months… and even next year. It was really an embarrassment of riches for Pixel fans.
The most immediate and important change to Google’s Pixel line is the new Pixel 6a. Naturally, this is the successor to the Pixel 5a from last year. The device adopts the same physical design language as the Pixel 6, and it even has Google’s high-end Tensor mobile processor. One notable drawback to this approach: there’s no headphone jack. This may be a dealbreaker for some. The phone will have a 6.1-inch 1080p OLED screen, 6GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage. On the camera front, little has changed from previous A-series phones. You’ll get a 12.2MP primary and a 12MP ultrawide, but the real magic of Pixel cameras is in the software anyway. This phone will be available for pre-order on July 21 for $449.
Alongside the 6a, Google will also be launching the Pixel Buds Pro, patching a gaping hole in its personal audio lineup. These buds are a little bulky-looking compared to the Pixel Buds A, but they can do a lot more. Google is particularly proud of the custom six-core audio processing chip that enables active noise canceling for the first time in Google’s Pixel family. Google says it uses something called “Silent Seal” to adapt to your ears and maximize the amount of sound canceled. They also have the pressure sensor and dynamic seal similar to the 2020 Pixel Buds, which can prevent that stopped-up feeling you get from other earbuds. They’ll retail for $199 when they launch on July 21.
Google also looked further into the future during the I/O keynote, revealing the Pixel Watch for the first time. This device won’t launch until fall, so there’s a lot we don’t know about it. We do know Google is finally taking advantage of its ownership of Fitbit, integrating the firm’s advanced fitness tracking in the watch. It looks like a very fancy piece of hardware with a stainless steel case and a curved glass dome over the touch screen—it’s basically a round Apple Watch. Google demoed a few features of the watch, giving us our first glimpse of Wear OS 3.1, including new versions of Maps and Assistant on wearables. Pricing and exact release date are still up in the air, but it won’t be cheap—leaks have placed it at $300-400.
We expect the watch to launch at the same time as the Pixel 7, which Google also teased for the fall. There’s even less information about this device, but the presenter did cite a change that addresses one of my personal Pixel 6 nitpicks. The Pixel 7 will have the same oversized camera visor as the Pixel 6, but instead of being a combination of glass and plastic, it will be all aluminum. The Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro will ship with Android 13, which is only available in beta right now. The new OS will probably begin rolling out to current-gen Pixel devices a few weeks prior to this phone’s launch.
Google even looked forward to 2023 at I/O, pre-announcing the Pixel Tablet. That’s not to be confused with the Pixel Slate, the Chrome OS tablet that was unceremoniously dumped 18 months after release when Google decided it didn’t want to make tablets anymore. What a difference a few years can make. The Pixel Tablet will run Android, which reinforced Google’s newfound focus on large-screen Android devices. It even created an “extra” version of Android this cycle focused on tablets: Android 12L. By the time the Pixel Tablet ships, it will surely be on Android 13… or 14? It may be a year or more before we get all the details, but you’ll have the Pixel 7 and Pixel Watch to tide you over until then.
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