The 5 Biggest Announcements From Google’s Fall Event
Pixel phones, tablets and smartwatches are getting cool upgrades, but the best new features and products aren’t available yet
“It’s all coming together.” That was the big message at this year’s Made by Google event, held Thursday morning at Brooklyn’s National Sawdust. At the hour-plus event, Google bigwigs introduced new iterations of their Pixel phones, smartwatches and tablets, emphasizing the synergy between each product and some cool new features related to privacy, photography, fitness and accessibility.
Having sat through several of these tech brand launches, it’s obvious that Google’s take lacks the dynamics of Apple or even Samsung. The company did get in two subtle digs at Apple — one regarding smartphone photo quality, one more of a plea for everyone to adapt the RCS messaging standard that Apple happily ignores. (Side note: Google touting voice message transcription and unlocking their phones with a Face ID is the rare time you’ll see the company lag behind the iPhone.)
Dry presentation or not, there were some interesting Pixel updates, as noted below (it was only mentioned briefly today, but some new Google Nest home products were announced earlier this week).
Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro Emphasize Photos Near and Far
Utilizing Google’s updated Tensor G2 processor, the theme for the new Pixel phones — besides an admittedly sleek look obtained with 100% recycled materials — was advanced video and photo quality. The Pixel 7 ($599+) offers a 6.3” display and the 7 Pro ($899+) ups that to 6.7” — other than that, both phones now offer Super Res Zoom, which promises sharp pics even at 8x (for the Pixel 7) and 30x for the Pro. And the latter phone apparently reaches the same optical quality as a dedicated camera with a 10x telephoto lens while also offering Macro Focus, which allows for hi-def pics from as close as three centimeters away. Both phones also offer Guided Frame (which uses audio and haptic feedback to help with selfies, particularly useful for people who are blind or with low vision) and Cinematic Blur, a movie-like setting offering shallow depth of field.
Your Old Photos Can Get a Boost (With a Catch)
Machine learning helps Google improve your old, blurry pics and even take out unwanted people or objects in the background via Google’s Photo Unblur … provided you have the new Pixel phones and utilize Google Photos.
Pixel Phones Are Getting a Free Virtual Private Network
While it’s not available quite yet, both new Pixel phones will get VPN by Google One at no cost, adding a layer of encryption.
Google Pixel Watch Goes All in on Fitness
Besides offering a rather seamless design, these water- and scratch-resistant timepieces are integrated with Fitbit, meaning you’ll have access to health, sleep and fitness features (including more advanced heart rate tracking). The Google Pixel Watch starts at $349 and a wide range of accessory bands are available at launch.
Google’s Pixel Tablet Wants to Be More Than a Handheld
While not debuting until 2023, Google officials discussed their upcoming tablet and noted (to applause) a wireless charging dock with speakers, which basically turns your handheld device into a smart display.
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