Gooooood morning. While you were sleeping, Google held its annual Made By Google event, where it announced the latest range of Pixel devices.
While most of what we heard was leaked ahead of time, we still got a decent enough surprise.
Everything Google announced at Made By Google
Google Pixel 8
Although it still looks very Pixelly, the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro have had a pretty dramatic redesign this year, with the waterfall edges swapped for a more rounded, straight edge and the camera system getting a sizable upgrade, too. The Pixel 8’s 50MP main camera boasts 21 per cent more light sensitivity than Pixel 7, and the ultrawide now packs autofocus. You’ll also get a tonne of video and photo editing features. The phone itself is smaller than its predecessor and it packs the Google Tensor G3 chip so you know it’ll be a powerhorse.
Google Pixel 8 Pro
It wouldn’t be a Google Pixel event without the star and that’s the Pixel 8 Pro. Just like the Pixel 8, only better, the Pixel 8 Pro is another machine from the Search giant. In addition to everything the 8 has, the 8 Pro also has a thermometer – just point it at something and you can see how hot it is (up to 200-degrees C). It will ship with a fully upgraded pro-level triple rear camera system including a 5x telephoto lens and the high-resolution 6.7-inch Super Actua display is brighter than ever, adjusting intelligently between 1 and 120Hz for what Google reckons is “responsive performance and power efficiency”.
Google Pixel Watch 2
The 2022 Pixel Watch was Google’s first smartwatch attempt, one that had been heavily anticipated since the company scooped up Fitbit back in 2019. The watch didn’t have the most favourable reception among the Google die-hards, however, and we couldn’t crown it as the best Android smartwatch either, considering the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 outperformed it in every category. But Google has given it another go, this morning announcing the Pixel Watch 2. It’s got a little bit better battery life, the addition of three new sensors for stress management, sleep tracking, and more accurate health and fitness capabilities.
Google Pixel Buds
While the Buds haven’t received an upgrade, they’ve received two new colour options to match the new colour options available with the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro handsets. But, coming later this month to all Google Pixel Buds is a software update with five new features including Clear Calling, which will block out other people’s background noise when you’re on a call, as well as Conversation Detection, which pauses your music and switches to transparency mode automatically when you start speaking.
Google Pixel Fold
It’s still not coming – sorry. We thought we were going to get an update from Google about Australian availability at the Pixel event, but alas….
For starters, Android 14 is bringing a bunch of new AI features (kicking off with the Pixel 8 series first and then rolling out to other devices), such as AI-generated wallpapers created from a prompt, and now, Pixel 8 devices will use AI to change the ‘At a glance’ section depending on what’s currently important, such as a turn in the weather. Additionally, with the Tensor 3 chip on Pixel 8 devices, Google has merged the Assistant and its Bard AI, so that your on-device voice assistant also functions as a chatbot, and can help with even more tasks across the entire suite of installed Google apps (this is rolling out later this year). New AI image photos have also been introduced, such as the ability to swap out faces that are looking away from the camera and make them focus on the photographer (this is called ‘Best Take’). Additionally, a new Magic Eraser feature for videos can edit out background noise.
It wouldn’t be a phone event without touching on new operating system capabilities, and Google certainly didn’t disappoint. Android 14 ships with enhanced lock screen customisation, such as the ability to switch around your clock and shortcuts, and as mentioned above, you can now set an AI-generated wallpaper based on a prompt. Other than customisation options, Google said it’s going to be a lot better about asking for permission before accessing your data. Now, Android will include notifications if an app wants to use data like your location. The new permissions system is rather akin to iOS, as Apple has been a lot better at giving users control over who has access to their data. Android is also promoting a new way to store users’ health data on their devices, through a new Health Connect feature. This should encrypt your data to the device, where Google says nobody but the user should have access to it. The camera UI has also been updated, and there are new accessibility updates: Users can customise how zoomed-in the magnifier goes through settings, and now users can keep the magnifier on when switching from one app to the next. Users can also change font size a bit easier through the Quick Settings. Users can also set up “Flash notifications” if they don’t usually hear the sound notifications, plus Google said it’s added a new way to easily connect hearing aids.
There you have it, everything announced at Made By Google this morning. Head over to the company’s website to learn more. While you’re here, why not check out our daily tech deals, our guide to the best value for money NBN plans, and info on the latest phones from Apple and Samsung. Head to our dedicated Mobile tab for more. And stay tuned for our reviews of the Google Pixel 8 and 8 Pro.
Image: Google/Gizmodo Australia