At I/O 2022, Google Took Hardware Seriously
Google hosted its I/O 2022 consumer keynote this week, where it showcased its new hardware developments, including the Pixel 6a and Pixel Watch, as well as software innovations, including an ‘immersive’ view on Google Maps. While the Pixel 6a is confirmed to launch in India, the Silicon Valley giant has not yet provided any details on the arrival of the Pixel Watch and other products in the country that it showcased at the keynote. It also unveiled the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, as well as the Pixel Tablet as its next-generation hardware that will debut at a later stage.
To talk about the best of Google I/O 2022, Orbital host Akhil Arora speaks with Reviews Editor Roydon Cerejo and Executive Editor Jamshed Avari on this week’s episode of the Gadgets 360 podcast.
The Pixel 6a debuted at the I/O 2022 consumer keynote with a price tag of $449 (roughly Rs. 34,700). The phone comes in three distinct colours, namely Chalk, Charcoal, and Sage. It has a single 6GB RAM + 128GB storage variant. Although Google has not yet revealed any specifics about the India launch of the Pixel 6a, it did confirm that the phone will make its way to India later this year. It is tipped to be available through Flipkart sometime by the end of July.
Google has offered its custom Tensor SoC on the Pixel 6a — similar to last year’s Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. The new phone also comes with a dedicated security coprocessor called Titan M1. It carries dual rear cameras, including a 12-megapixel primary sensor. There is also a 4,410mAh battery with fast charging support.
The Pixel 6a’s design reminds us of the existing Pixel 6-series models.
Alongside the Pixel 6a, at I/O 2022, Google unveiled the Pixel Watch after years’ long anticipation and a series of rumours. The smartwatch carries a circular domed design and swappable wrist bands. The Pixel Watch also features a Fitbit integration for enhanced fitness tracking support. Thank goodness the Fitbit acquisition finally means something.
Google also announced the Pixel Buds Pro as its next-generation truly wireless stereo (TWS) earbuds at the event. The earbuds come with active noise cancellation (ANC) support that makes them different from the existing Pixel Buds models. Details about the India launch of the Pixel Watch and Pixel Buds Pro were not provided at the I/O 2022 keynote.
Beyond that, Google also teased future hardware, showcasing the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, as well as the Pixel Tablet. The Pixel 7 series is confirmed to debut later this year — alongside the Pixel Watch. However, the Pixel Tablet is teased to arrive sometime in 2023.
Google also demonstrated its new ‘immersive’ view on Google Maps that is aimed to offer a rich, digital model of the world to users through their mobile devices. It will work on both Android and iOS hardware, and use Google Cloud for rendering the experience to put less burden on the device.
The new offering has initially started rolling out in Los Angeles, London, New York, San Francisco, and Tokyo. However, there is no word on whether — or when exactly — we’ll get it in India. The track record is not good on such features.
Google also announced an expansion of languages on its Translate app to 24 additional languages. These include more Indian languages in Assamese, Bhojpuri, Mizo, and Sanskrit.
The event also gave us a sneak peek of the next-generation Google Glass that appear to be more natural over the original Google Glass. Exact details on when we could see the new augmented reality (AR) pair of glasses are yet to be announced, though.
We talk more about the Google Glass upgrade, as well as how well the Pixel 6a might perform in the Indian market. You can listen to all this and more by hitting the play button on the Spotify player embedded above.
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