Google has announced a slew of new products as it seeks to compete with Apple on tablets and smartwatches. It unveiled a lower-cost smartphone, high-end headphones and a watch due later this year, as well as Android updates.
During the keynote at its IO Developer Conference, Google announced plans to create a broader collection of own-brand devices rather than relying on third parties like Samsung using its software.
“We go for the ecosystem,” said Rick Osterloh, head of consumer hardware at Google. “We want people to know where Google is heading with devices as an organization over the next few years.”
The Pixel 6a is Google’s new smaller, mid-range Android phone, costing from £399 ($449/A$749), shipping on July 28. It has a 6.1-inch display and the same recycled aluminum body, two-tone colors and rear camera bar as the company’s top-end phones.
It features Google’s high-end Tensor processor, 5G, and the Pixel 6’s Titan M2 security chip, along with 6GB of memory and 128GB of storage. It will be supported with software updates for at least five years, making it one of the longest-lasting Android phones.
The 6a has a pair of 12-megapixel wide and ultra-wide cameras on the back, which support the same enhanced skin tone and magic eraser features as Google’s top models.
Pixel Buds Pro
Google has announced its first noise-canceling Bluetooth headphones, called Pixel Buds Pro, which will ship on July 28 for £179 ($199/A$299).
The headphones use Google-designed chips, algorithms and speakers, in direct competition with Apple’s more expensive AirPods Pro. They have IPX4 sweat resistance and the same smart features as Google’s previous headphones, such as hands-free voice assistant, walking instructions and instant translation capabilities.
The Buds Pro can connect to two Bluetooth devices at once, like a phone for calls and a laptop for music, including iPhones, Macs, and PCs. They last up to seven hours with noise cancellation and up to 20 hours with their charging case.
Google has introduced its first own-brand WearOS smartwatch, called Pixel Watch, which will ship in the fall. It has a round, domed design, is made from recycled stainless steel and has optional 4G connectivity. It offers various Google apps and services, including Assistant, Maps, and Pay, and the Play Store for third-party apps.
It will also feature a suite of Fitbit health and activity tracking services, following Google’s purchase of the company, which was completed last year. The watch will work with most Android phones, not just Pixels.
Pixel 7, Pixel 7 Pro and Pixel Tablet
Google has unveiled its next best Pixel 7 and 7 Pro smartphones for later this year. They will feature premium polished aluminum and glass bodies and the company’s next-generation Tensor processor, which ships with Android 13 in the fall.
Google also announced plans to return to making Android tablets in 2023 as companions to its Pixel phones. The premium Pixel tablet will have Google’s Tensor chip and take advantage of Android 13 with additions for better split-screen multitasking and better space utilization on tablets, including updates to 20 of Google’s apps , with third-party apps like TikTok, Zoom, Facebook, and others gaining new tablet-optimized designs.
Android 13, Maps, Search and Assistant
Google introduced new software features coming later this year, including the ability to request removal of search results containing your contact information, automatic summarization of key points in Google Docs and Chat, and the ability to just talk to Google Assistant looking at the Nest Hub Max smart display.
Later this year, Google Maps will get a new immersive view, which combines street and aerial imagery to create digital models of cities such as London, Los Angeles and New York. Users will be able to virtually walk through cities at different times of the day with information overlaid, such as weather conditions, traffic, and a location’s attendance.
Android 13 will also be released this summer as a free update, bringing with it greater customization and privacy options, including the ability to force apps to ask if they can send you notifications before doing so. similar to iOS, and other location access restrictions. for apps.
Google’s Material You color theme from Android 12 will be extended to more of the interface, including custom app icons. Now multiple languages can be used simultaneously on one phone, like English in a social media app, but Spanish in a banking app. The new Google Wallet will be able to collect payment cards, loyalty cards, transport tickets and boarding passes in one place, with different types of identification such as student cards and driver’s licenses in United States later this year.
Users willing to try out the new features can test the software in beta form on Pixel phones from Google and other third-party manufacturers.