Today, on May 11, Google hosted its annual I/O event. As is par for the course, the company talked about a variety of different efforts and products, new initiatives and much more. But, as things started to close out, Google managed to unveil some new devices, too.
And that includes a brand new smartwatch that, for all intents and purposes, has seemingly been in the works for a long, long time. And today it’s finally officially official. The Pixel Watch. And, as the company describes it, it’s “the first watch made inside and out by Google.” Unsurprisingly, it boasts the company’s Wear OS on board, and it will also boast Fitbit health features baked inside.
Along with that, Google also unveiled new truly wireless headphones and hinted at its next major flagship smartphone for good measure.
This is probably the shining star for Google, as far as products are concerned. Mostly because the Pixel Watch in particular has been rumored for so long. First thing first: it launches this fall alongside Google’s newest smartphones. The Pixel Watch isn’t like other Wear OS smartwatches, though, in that it won’t be compatible with Apple’s iPhone. It’s designed to work strictly with Android, just like Apple’s smartwatch is designed to work solely with iOS.
No surprise there, right?
The Pixel Watch has a circular design, with a face that has a slight dome. There is a “tactile” crown for on-device operation, while also offering up a side button as well. It will boast support for swappable bands and it’s made from recycled stainless steel. Google says it will have a refreshed UI thanks to an upgraded Wear OS 3, and better notifications and navigation.
It will also support a cellular option when it launches later this year.
With Fitbit built into the smartwatch, the device will support Active Zone Minutes, heart rate tracking, and sleep tracking. Google says Fitbit integration will be felt throughout the software, not simply plopped into a single app. There will be customizable watch faces, too. Users will be able to sync data with their Fitbit account information, and data will be viewable through the Fitbit app, too.
And . . . That’s it, for now. Google’s not breaking down specifications just yet. So, for now, this is what we have to work with. But at least the thing’s a real product!
Pixel 7/Pixel 7 Pro
The next generation of Pixel phones is on the horizon. Here’s a first look at the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro — equipped with a new generation of Google Tensor and a sleek design. Coming this fall. #GoogleIO pic.twitter.com/WMysJv1lZP
— Google (@Google) May 11, 2022
Just like the Pixel Watch, the big reveal for the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro is more about teasing what’s coming later this year, rather than a paper announcement. We do know that the phone will still feature a bar on the back, where the cameras are located. But, this time around, it’s an aluminum camera bar.
It’s a modest update, in the grand scheme of things. It will be powered by the newest version of Android out of the box (Android 13), and it will feature an upgraded version of Google’s Tensor SoC. The Pixel 7 will have a pair of cameras on the back, while the Pixel 7 Pro will boast three cameras on the back.
No mention of the specifications we should expect to see. Google’s getting ahead of the rumor mill here, if nothing else.
Pixel Buds Pro
It isn’t all teasing, though. The Pixel Buds Pro are an actual product you can pre-order starting July 21. They are an upgraded version of the Pixel Buds, and they are jam-packed with features. As one should expect from a pro-labeled device.
First and foremost, the Pixel Buds Pro feature Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) thanks to a custom 6-core audio chip. From today’s announcement:
Everyone’s ears are unique, so it’s not always possible for the eartips to create a perfect seal that prevents sound from leaking in from the outside. Pixel Buds Pro use Silent Seal™ to adapt to your ear, to help maximize the amount of noise that’s canceled. And built-in sensors will measure the pressure in your ear canal to make sure you’re comfortable even during long listening sessions. Say goodbye to that annoying plugged ear feeling!
The Pixel Buds Pro feature “Hey Google” support for access to Assistant, Multipoint connectivity so they can quickly switch between Bluetooth-enabled devices, and Transparency mode for good measure. The new headphones are IPX4 for water resistance, and the case is IPX2 water resistant.
The new headphone come in a variety of colors: Coral, Lemongrass, Charcoal, and Fog. They offer up to 11 hours of listening time on a single charge, or up to 7 hours with ANC switched on.
The other stuff
Those are the big three, so to speak. However, Google also announced:
The Pixel 6A is based on a combination of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, the phones Google launched late last year. It offers up some premium features, including Google’s custom Tensor processor under the hood. All this for a price that’s set at $449. It has a metal frame, the familiar design, and comes in three colors: Sage, Chalk, and Charcoal.
Per the announcement:
The Pixel Camera is built to be versatile and adapt to your needs, and you’ll see some of those features and technologies on Pixel 6a — from Real Tone, which authentically represents all skin tones, to Night Sight, which makes low-light photography a breeze, to Magic Eraser in Google Photos, which makes distractions disappear. And good news, we’ve enhanced Magic Eraser so you can also change the color of distracting objects in your photo. In just a few taps, the object’s colors and shading blend in naturally. So the focus is on the subjects — where it should be.
The Pixel 6A goes up for pre-order starting July 21, 2022. It will be on store shelves starting July 28.
A new Pixel tablet
As reported by The Verge, Google isn’t giving up on tablets. In fact, the Pixel team is now working on a tablet! And apparently the device will launch sometime in 2023. You can see an early look at what’s coming down the pipe in the image above. The details are light, of course. But, Google’s Tensor SoC will be under the hood, powering the whole show.
As noted in the original report, though, this is a big change for Google. Back in 2019, the company appeared to be giving up on the whole tablet initiative altogether:
Hey, it's true…Google's HARDWARE team will be solely focused on building laptops moving forward, but make no mistake, Android & Chrome OS teams are 100% committed for the long-run on working with our partners on tablets for all segments of the market (consumer, enterprise, edu)
— Rick Osterloh (@rosterloh) June 20, 2019
But, this is 2022 and things change. Per the report:
We see it as a critical part of how people are interacting with media and computers at home, especially,’ Osterloh said in an interview ahead of I/O. Google seems to think of Chrome OS as mostly a tool for work and school, while Android is the consumer product. (Osterloh did say Google plans to make more Pixelbooks, by the way, but he wouldn’t say when.) And the pandemic made it clearer than ever to Google that tablets have a unique place in users’ lives as entertainment, gaming, and general consumption devices. (You’d think a decade-plus of Apple’s iPad success would have made that clear already, but alas.) ‘And certainly, we think we want to design something that’s a perfect companion for Pixel with a larger form factor.
The full report on the upcoming Pixel tablet is certainly worth a read.