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4 favorite hardware announcements at Google I/O 2022

The annual Google I/O Developer Conference is a software-focused event. But that isn’t stopping Google from announcing a bunch of hardware coming soon(-ish). Let’s look at our favorite announcements from this week’s event.

Google Pixel Watch

The long-rumored, not-so-secret Pixel smartwatch is finally here. This is definitely a smartwatch we’ve been waiting for. It will be launching alongside the Pixel 7 series in the fall. The Pixel Watch marks Google’s first major collaboration with Fitbit, which it acquired in 2019. We can expect the integration to go beyond customizable watch faces. You should be able to sync your data with your Fitbit account, so you can access it online or through the Fitbit app. This watch will also use Fitbit’s latest algorithms for health and fitness. 

But Google promises that your Fitbit data and Google data will stay private and separate. This was the condition the company agreed to when it acquired Fitbit. So, your health data collected on the Pixel Watch will remain under Fitbit’s watch. The integration also means you can get insights on your heart rate, sleep tracking, and Active Zone Minutes, which is Fitbit’s standard for tracking your physical activity.

Now, let’s talk about the design. The Pixel Watch features a circular dome design and a tactile crown/side button. We’re expecting an “improved” Wear OS 3 with a “refreshed” user interface that promises better navigation and smart notifications. Google plans to release a cellular version of the watch so you can stay connected even if you don’t have your smartphone with you. 

Since it’s a Google smartwatch, you will get access to native Google apps like Maps, Assistant, Wallet, Home, etc. This watch will also feature Emergency SOS, allowing you to contact a trusted loved one or emergency services when needed. We don’t know much about its other specs because Google keeps that under wraps, perhaps until the smartwatch launches in the fall (or at least until the fresh wave of leaks hits us).

Google Pixel Buds Pro

It’s meant to be Google’s answer to the AirPods Pro, but we see it more as a competition for the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro as the top dog in the Android wireless earbuds space. The Pixel Buds Pro do get the option to work with iOS, though. But there won’t be support for the companion app to tweak settings, and we’re guessing software updates that may come to the earbuds.

The Pixel Buds Pro bring active noise cancellation to its earbuds line, which uses custom speakers paired with a six-core audio chip to cut out the unnecessary noise. These earbuds are designed to sit deeper in the canal. Google equips the Pixel Buds Pro with built-in sensors to measure the pressure you may feel there and help relieve that. It also helps with keeping out external noise.

These earbuds also get multipoint Bluetooth support, allowing you to connect two devices simultaneously. It will make it easier to switch devices when you need to (like when you’re watching on a laptop but then your phone rings). The buds are IPX4 water-resistant, while the case is IPX2 water-resistant. Battery life seems to be promising, offering up to 11 hours without ANC or up to seven with ANC on. You can also wirelessly charge the case.

The feature that isn’t available at launch but will come later this year is its spatial audio support for compatible Pixel phones. This would make watching shows and films on Pixels a much more immersive experience.

The Pixel Buds Pro retails for USD 199, and they come in coral, lemongrass, fog, and charcoal.

Google Pixel 7, 7 Pro

Google is trying to stay ahead of the rumors by teasing the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro, which will run on the next-generation Google Tensor chipset. The company retains the visor-like design of the Pixel 6, but now the camera bar has polished aluminum running right into the frames on both sides.

From the looks of it, the Pixel 7 gets two rear cameras while the 7 Pro gets three, which is still similar to what we have on the Pixel 6. Aside from sharing a bit of its design, Google hasn’t said much about the Pixel 7, which will launch alongside the Pixel Watch in the fall.

Google Pixel 6A 

The Pixel 6a has been rumored for a while, but now it has been officially launched by the company. And one of the biggest changes with this smartphone is that it rocks Pixel’s Tensor SoC instead of a Qualcomm chip while still carrying the same price tag as the Pixel 5A at USD 449. It also adopts the design of the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro that features a raised horizontal camera bump and a dual-tone body.

It gets a smaller 6.1-inch OLED 1080p display with a 60Hz refresh rate and Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection. The Pixel 6A has one configuration: 6GB RAM + 128GB of storage with 5G connectivity. 

Its cameras are similar to the 5 series with a dual-camera setup on the back, including a 12.2-megapixel primary sensor and a 12-megapixel ultrawide camera. In front, there is an 8-megapixel camera. What has changed is that Google brought in some of the Pixel 6 series’ camera features like Magic Eraser, Real Tone, and Face Unblur.

Google downgraded the battery of the Pixel 6A by putting in a smaller 4,400mAh battery (compared to the 5A with a 4,680mAh battery). The company promises that you can still get a full day’s use similar to the 5A, probably due to more efficient hardware and software integration since google now controls both of these variables. Pre-orders for it will kick off on July 21 and then will ship on July 28. The Pixel 6A is available in white, green, and black.

A premium Pixel tablet

One other product Google teased was its upcoming return into the tablet space. But there isn’t really too much information about how it will perform. The company just showed off the interface a bit and the device itself. It has a big white bezel around the display and a matte, plastic-like back that doesn’t seem to make it look very high-end. Again, this tablet is expected to launch in 2023, so we might see design changes. We hope Google polishes that look. If this is positioned as competition for the premium iPad and Samsung tablets, it might disappoint.

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