Google’s annual developer conference kicked off with plenty of announcements, some of which were expected and some that seemingly came out of nowhere. Nonetheless, Google managed to showcase some pretty enticing software and even more hardware than we would’ve expected.
Here are some of the top announcements to come from the Google I/O keynote. But be warned; there are a lot of Pixels.
Pixel Watch is real and it’s coming with Fitbit
There were whispers that Google would tease the Pixel Watch at I/O, and tease it did. Rick Osterloh, Google’s senior vice president of Devices & Services, showcased the device strapped to his wrist. As far as design, it looks exactly like the watch that was left at a restaurant last month, featuring a round, bulbous design and proprietary straps.
However, it wasn’t much more than a tease. We got some details of the device, including the fact that it will launch alongside the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro and come in both Wi-Fi and LTE variants. It will also be the first Wear OS watch to feature Fitbit integration, something Google teased at last year’s I/O. Besides that, Google was largely mum on details, but it won’t be long before we get a full picture.
An early look at the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro
We weren’t really expecting Google to tease the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro this early, but here we are. Both devices will feature similar designs to the Pixel 6 series but with a slightly different camera visor that features a lot more recycled aluminum. This should allay any fears of potential cracks. The phones will likely feature similar setups to their respective predecessors based on the camera holes. They will also feature a next-gen Tensor chipset, enabling more powerful AI capabilities.
The Pixel 7 and 7 Pro are coming this fall alongside the Pixel Watch, meaning we have several months of additional teasers (and leaks) to look forward to.
The Pixel 6a is a flagship in a mid-range body
Of course, we have to talk about the Pixel 6a. Google announced the impressive mid-range smartphone, which will be powered by the same flagship chipset found in its more expensive counterparts. This will enable many of the same AI tricks such as Magic Eraser and more. However, the phone will sport lesser camera hardware specs and only a 60Hz AMOLED display, likely to keep the price down.
Speaking of price, $449 is not bad for what you’re getting, and this is bound to be one of the best budget Android phones on the market when it launches this July. Oh, and did we mention that the Pixel 6a is making its way to India? This will be the first time India gets a new Pixel smartphone in nearly two years.
Google announces the Pixel Tablet a year early
This one came out of left field, but the Pixel Tablet has us excited, nonetheless. Google hasn’t made its own tablet for quite some time, so we weren’t really expecting a reboot. However, it makes sense, given the new focus on tablets, foldables, and large screen Android devices. The company has been improving things on the software front to accommodate tablets, so now Google is doubling down on this commitment and giving us new first-party hardware.
Google says it will try to get the tablet out in 2023. Hopefully, it turns out to be a good one that can compete with the likes of Samsung.
Android 13 already gets its second beta
You can’t talk about a new Pixel without bringing up the latest version of Android. The new Android 13 has been in beta for less than a month, and Google has already released the second beta, which brings more changes to the photo picker, improved theming options, and more.
Android 13 Beta 2 also lays more groundwork for tablets and large-screen devices, gearing up for the eventual launch of the Pixel tablet. Google says it’s updating more than 20 of its own apps to optimize for big screens, and it’s working with partners to update apps like Facebook, TikTok, and more.
Google Wallet: reborn
Google Wallet is back, and this time it looks like it’s here to stay. After recently giving us a revamped Google Pay, the company is now shifting gears slightly from the P2P focus on the payment app to a more comprehensive digital wallet. This will store not only payment cards, but also digital IDs, car keys, transit passes, hotel keys, concert tickets, and pretty much anything developers can cook up for the app.
Google Wallet will replace the older Google Pay app that’s still in use in most countries that support it. However, in the U.S. and Singapore, Google Wallet and Google Pay will complement each other.
See what you search, search what you see
Of course, it’s not a Google conference without talking about Search and AI. Google is improving on its recently launched multisearch feature to give users the ability to search locally. This will make it easy to find exactly what you’re looking for in your own neighborhood. And If you’re already at the store, Google is working on bringing multisearch to Google Lens through a feature called “scene exploration,” allowing you to point your camera at objects in a scene and view insights while refining what you’re looking for.
Maps is also getting a new immersive indoor view, which will allow you to peek inside restaurants in case you want a better feel of the place before you decide.
Google is also using AI to help users ditch the “Hey Google” prompt with Nest Hub Max devices. An update will utilize the camera to detect when a user is looking at the device so it can pick up on any commands without the wake word. It will also utilize Face Match, Voice Match, and the Real Tone technology from the Pixel 6 in order to ensure that you’re identified correctly.
The Pixel Buds Pro get some serious audio
Google finally has a pair of ANC wireless earbuds to better compete with the best wireless earbuds from Samsung and even Apple. The Pixel Buds Pro feature a sleek design and come in a few different colors. As far as battery life, expect up to 31 hours of listening time or roughly 11 hours per charge. And unlike the Pixel Buds A-Series, these feature wireless charging, so you can top them up with your Pixel Stand (2nd Gen).
The new Pixel Buds Pro are launching alongside the Pixel 6a this July for just $199.
Some sort of Google Glass teaser
Finally, Google CEO Sundar Pichai ended the keynote with a teaser for a new pair of AR glasses. We’re not sure if this is a new consumer-focused Google Glass successor, but it was showcased translating speech in real-time and displaying it for the user to view naturally in conversation. There have been rumors that Google was looking to design a pair of AR glasses, although these appear more like aR (assisted Reality) glasses. Not much was said about them, so we’ll have to wait and see what we get, but it’s clear Google is leveraging its expertise in AI to hopefully give us a pair of smart and stylish smart glasses.