Google I/O 2022 | From Pixel 6a to Watch: here are the hardware highlights

Google’s new Pixel portfolio: Pixel Watch, Pixel 6a, Pixel Buds Pro.

Google’s new Pixel portfolio: Pixel Watch, Pixel 6a, Pixel Buds Pro. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Google I/O 2022, the company’s annual developers’ conference, commenced on Monday with a keynote, where, as expected, the tech giant made many hardware and software announcements in front of a limited live audience.

The two-day hybrid event showcased some new Google products, expanding the firm’s Pixel portfolio. The new additions to Google’s family of hardware devices include its latest A-series smartphone – Pixel 6a, a set of premium wireless earbuds – Pixel Buds Pro, and its first watch – Pixel Watch. It also offered a look at an upcoming Pixel tablet and its next-gen flagship smartphones – Pixel 7 and 7 Pro.

Pixel 6a

Over the years, Google’s Android-based Pixel smartphones have evolved and essentially offer a hardware and software experience that works together, just like Apple’s iOS devices. The search giant’s newly-announced Pixel 6a, like its A-series predecessors, offers many of the hardware and software features available on the premium Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro smartphones at a more affordable price point.

Starting with the design, the mid-range smartphone resembles its bigger sibling, Pixel 6 and retains many of the same hardware features like a metal frame, and the camera bar, among others. It is powered by Google’s Tensor processor, which was launched last year and is part of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. It also shares the same hardware security architecture with the Titan M2 chip. The device will receive five years of security updates, according to Google.

Pixel 6a’s camera Bar has a dual rear camera setup with a main sensor and an ultrawide sensor. Its camera features include Night Sight for low-light photography, Magic Eraser for editing pictures, and Real Tone, which according to Google, ‘authentically represents all skin tones’.

Google claims that the A-series smartphone would offer all-day battery life and can last up to 72 hours when in the Extreme Battery Saver mode. Pixel 6a will be available in three colours – Chalk, Charcoal and Sage for pre-order starting at $449 (about ₹ 34,760) on July 21 in certain countries.

Pixel Buds Pro

The new premium wireless earbuds offer some advanced features compared to Pixel Buds A-Series wireless earbuds, which were launched last year. Pixel Buds Pro brings features such as Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), Silent Seal, and Multipoint connectivity, with support for spatial audio in the future.

The earbuds’ ANC feature relies on a custom 6-core audio chip that runs Google-developed algorithms, Google said in a blog post, adding that the Silent Seal feature adapts to listeners’ ears to help maximise the amount of noise that’s cancelled.

Pixel Buds Pro also have built-in sensors to determine the pressure in listeners’ ear canal. And with Multipoint connectivity, the earbuds are capable of automatically switching between previously paired Bluetooth devices.

While the earbuds are equipped with noise cancellation features, they also have a Transparency mode to allow ambient noises to come through during outdoor usage. Additionally, they have IPX4 water resistance, and the case is IPX2 water-resistant, according to Google.

The premium wireless earphones support wireless charging and can provide up to 11 hours of listening time or up to 7 hours with ANC. Pixel Buds Pro will be available in four colours Charcoal, Fog, Coral and Lemongrass with a soft matte finish and a two-tone design. Like the Pixel 6a, the earbuds can be pre-ordered on July 21 in certain countries.

Pixel Watch

The wearable device is the first-ever all-Google built watch and expands the tech giant’s wristwear portfolio that currently comprises only Fitbit devices. Pixel Watch has a circular, near-bezel less, domed design and comes with easily attachable bands. It is 80% recycled stainless steel and has a tactile crown to navigate different watch features.

One of the highlighting features of the Pixel Watch is Fitbit integration, which brings advanced health and fitness tools to the device, owing to Google’s $2.1 billion acquisition of the fitness device maker.

Additionally, the watch would give users access to Google Assistant, which will also make its way to the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 series in the future, according to the search giant.

Pixel Watch will run on Google’s Wear OS, which will power more devices from smartwatch makers like Samsung, Fossil and Montblanc in the coming months. In the coming months, the Alphabet-owned firm will share more details about the Pixel Watch, which will take on the Apple Watch, and Samsung Galaxy Watch, among others.

Other hardware announcements

At the keynote, Google also offered a brief glimpse of its Pixel 7 series phones, which will be powered by the next version of Tensor chips. Google’s custom-designed system on a chip will also power the Pixel tablet, more about which could be expected in the future. The consumer electronic company is also opening its second Google Store in Brooklyn, New York in June, where people will be able to experience and purchase its hardware products.

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Printable version | May 13, 2022 10:47:34 am |