Exploring Google I/O 2022

Exploring Google I/O 2022

Hey there,

You probably couldn’t care less, but my exams are finally over! For what it’s worth, they weren't the best. Especially math! But yeah. My summer break just started so I can write regularly now and not leave you hanging for weeks before I publish an issue.

In the three weeks, I went missing in action, a lot took place in the tech industry! The most prominent event was the  Google I/O. For those of you who are new to the tech world. Google I/O is basically Google’s conference where they share what they have been up to in the past year. They talk about changes coming to their software and hardware lineups. This time around, Google hit a home run! They introduced several changes and I am excited to see most of them. However, it isn’t Google if they don’t talk about a product that is “industry-changing” when it is nothing but an ugly piece of junk.

Here is everything that happened at the Google I/O in a nutshell. Google is launching the Pixel SmartWatch, the Pixel 6A, and an ugly-looking tablet in 2023. Google is also making changes to the Next Hub Max, revealed the looks of the Pixel 7, talked about Android 13’s vision and also spoke about the new Pixel Buds that are not in the same competitor bracket as the AirPods.

Let’s kick it off by talking about the Pixel 6A. The Pixel 6A is a budget phone by Google that aims to deliver at a lower price point. This year the A series got a ramp up! The Pixel 6A now features the camera bar design from the Pixel 6– which in my opinion, looks unique in its way. However, it is not the prettiest. This phone will also feature Google's Tensor Chip! This means that instead of using processors from Snapdragon, Google will be employing its own in-house chip that allows for better performance and efficiency and allows phones to take full advantage of AI. The phone comes at a low and similar price point to the iPhone SE at $449. And yet, manages to bag a bigger, 6.1-inch screen with practically no bezels. The phone screen is capped at 60Hz and has an in-display fingerprint scanner. At this lower price point, the phone features camera specs that are staggering but do not match the levels of Google’s flagship phones :) The phone also supports 5G and Google promises 5 years of security updates! Which, if you ask me, is groundbreaking. Anyway, the phone does not ship until the end of July and pre-orders only start on the 21st of July :) In my opinion, this is a must-have. It is probably better than all of its competitors. The Pixel 6A seems like a sweet deal.

Another thing that seems sweet from what Google mentioned is the Pixel Watch. Yes, it is finally coming this fall! After years of waiting, we finally have a watch that is made by Google. I just hope it isn’t a failure like the OnePlus Watch. This wasn’t a full reveal but more like a teaser. The Pixel Watch was one of the worst kept secrets in the tech world since most aspects of the watch were already revealed :) It is no surprise that the watch features a circular design with a tactile crown on the right. The watch will also feature Google’s WearOS 3 which will enhance the entire user experience of the product and will have notable improvements. The watch will also feature stuff like a tight Google Maps integration and Google Wallet. The watch will also absorb a lot of features from FitBit watches because after all, Google acquired FitBit for $2.1 billion in 2021. Google however said this will be a premium-priced product so that’s a slight bummer. My guess is that Google’s watch will start at $399, but I guess we will have to wait and watch till the end of September for a price reveal.

Google is also working on a so-called premium tablet – the Pixel tablet. The pixel tablet will be a step towards completing their ecosystem. From the renders, the tablet looks extremely ugly. It has white bezels all around, a thick profile and looks like a Samsung tablet from 2014. On top of that, it features Android 13 :( My predictions are that this will be one of Google’s biggest failures of the decade. Everyone knows that Android tablets have never really proved to be fruitful or change-making, They are just iPads with uglier designs and unoptimised software. Samsung has heavily invested itself in the tablet business but has never been able to penetrate the market. The worst part is, that Samsung actually has a modular design which competes with the iPad. On the other hand, Google doesn't even feature a clever design and on top of that, features Android that has never been optimised perfectly for large screens. From all the information we have now, we aren’t sure if the tablet will come with accessories such as a detachable keyboard or have integrations for tracking devices. All we know is – the tablet will feature Google’s Tensor chip and has an ugly design. Let’s hope that it doesn’t end like a failure.

But that is not it! Google is also working on earphones that could probably compete with the AirPods Pro. The Pixel Buds Pro are the complete package for an Android user. The buds will come with IPX4 water and sweat resistance, they’ll feature active noise cancellation and spatial audio, and they have a better fit this time! Google is really looking to work on its ecosystem. The buds will come in four different colours and aim to ship with the Pixel 6A. The buds also have this really cool feature which will allow them to connect to multiple devices simultaneously so you don’t have to connect your earbuds to a different device every time. This is very similar to Apple’s implementation of the magic switch they have between Apple devices. However, Apple has never been really able to perfect this system so let’s wait and see how Google implements this. The buds also feature an 11-hour battery life so that’s a plus point too!

Again, the Pixel 6A was not the only phone that Google teased at this event. They also teased the Pixel 7 and the 7 Pro with the next-gen Tensor chips. From what we know so far, the Pixel 7 retains the fancy camera bar but has a subtle change. The phone will feature a triple camera setup on the back and will ditch the dual-tone colour too. And that’s all, Google did not mention or show anything else about this year’s flagship line-up :( But from what I can see, Google is really trying to work on this hardware side of things and they have been able to improve significantly over the past few years.

Google also spoke about the software refinements it is bringing to the table this year. First off, Android 13. Android 13 doesn’t add a lot of new offerings but instead chooses to build on what Android 12 offers. Android 13 comes with ever so slight changes such as improved Material You with more customizability options. The update also adds a new security menu with added privacy permissions. Along with this, this update will let you set languages per app. So, I could probably have English on Twitter and Hindi on a news application. However, the biggest update in Android 13 is complete RCS support! Users have been wanting this for ages and it is finally time they got it. RCS is this really huge thing related to text messages. I would love to explain, but I think this video does a better job. Android 13 is also bringing the Google Wallet to devices which means just like Apple Wallet, you would now be able to store all your passes, gift cards, and credit & debit cards in one place for easy use.

Some other small changes from the software end are included as well. Google Meet’s AI will now try and fix your crappy webcam quality using AI so you can have the best experience over a range of hardware devices. Google also updated Android Auto which now has a more uniform UI over cars and different locations. The update brings split-screen mode to all devices which means you can navigate your way home and control music at the same time. Read more about the changes to Android Auto here. Google is also working on Nest Hub Max. The new Nest Hub Max will support a feature that will allow you to just look at the screen and talk away without having to say, “Hey, Google.” This seems pretty cool but it would come with a lot of privacy implications.

Google also spoke about this really interesting feature – virtual cards. This is something that has been gaining a lot of attention lately and it is the need of the hour. However, this issue is already over the top and has a lot of content. So, maybe I’ll write about it sometime next week :)

And, that’s a wrap, that was everything that happened at the Google I/O this week. I hoped you liked this issue and I also sincerely hope the Pixel tablet does not fail ;) Anyway, if you ever wanna chat about tech, feel free to drop me a message on my Twitter handle. If not, I’ll catch up with you next week. Until then, make sure to update your tech devices and keep yourself safe online.

Instaling Android 13 on an emulator,
Tejas Tagra (he/him)
6096 days