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Daily Authority: 📱 Pixel perfect

Google I/O catchup, Samsung's next-gen foldables, and an Xbox 360 throwback.
By
May 12, 2022
Google IO 2022 pixel 6a green front back
Google

☀️ Good morning! Paula here again, covering for Tristan — he’s back with you tomorrow. This morning I discovered the delights of miso butter with eggs on toast. Yum!

Google I/O: Here’s everything you missed

Google IO 2022 pixel 6a green
Google

Google’s marathon two-hour keynote yesterday unveiled a whole heap of hardware, software, and more. If you missed it, watch it here, or just catch up quickly with our roundup of everything Google announced.

Pixel 6a launch

Starting with the highly anticipated Pixel 6a release:

  • First: It looks a lot like a Pixel 6, but it’s only covered with Gorilla Glass 3, with a plastic back, and cuts some features to keep pricing low.
  • There’s a slightly smaller 6.1-inch display, with a rather disappointing 60Hz refresh rate, 128GB of onboard storage, no microSD card slot, and 6GB of RAM, plus the same cameras as the Pixel 5a.
  • Also, a 4,410mAh battery, with Adaptive Battery promising all-day power, but again, disappointing 18W charging power, which isn’t up to scratch with other mid-range phones in the market.
  • Good news: Google Tensor under the hood, the same processor as the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, plus sub-6Ghz and mmWave 5G.
  • Available for pre-order July 21 for $449, on general sale July 28 — and it’s coming to India too.

Pixel Watch preview

Google Pixel Watch Official
Google

Though we didn’t get a full-on Pixel Watch launch, we got a preview of Google’s long-rumored first flagship wearable:

  • There’s no rectangular option, instead, it’s a sleek, round watch case with a rotating digital crown and customizable bands.
  • There’s support for Google Assistant, relaunched Google Wallet, and the Google Home app, plus an LTE model so you can use these features without your phone nearby.
  • Google also promised “deep integration with Fitbit,” likely advanced sleep monitoring, continuous heart rate tracking, and comprehensive fitness tracking.
  • Looks like it won’t work with iPhones, only Android phones running Android 8 and above.

The Pixel Watch is arriving this fall, alongside the Pixel 7.

Pixel tablet

Google IO 2022 pixel tablet
Google

We also got a first peek at Google’s first Android tablet in almost seven years.

  • The Pixel tablet will run on Google’s Tensor silicon, likely the second-generation version which will debut inside the Pixel 7 this fall.
  • According to Rick Osterloh, Google SVP of Devices and Services, it’ll be on the “larger side,” and though no word of pricing yet, it’ll apparently be a “premium” tablet so don’t expect it to be cheap.
  • Our peek showed a camera positioned in the middle of the landscape bezel, like the Galaxy Tab S series, which should make video calls more natural, plus a single rear camera and USB-C port flanked by two speakers.

It’ll get a full reveal and retail release in 2023.

Everything else hardware

Google Pixel 7 series colorways Google
Google

Still with us? Here’s what else we saw yesterday:

  • The Pixel Buds Pro, Google’s first Pixel buds with ANC, plus a more powerful chipset, available to pre-order from July 21 and on general sale July 28 for $199.
  • A Pixel 7 preview: It’s coming in fall, with a next-generation Tensor SoC and Android 13, plus we got some glimpses of the phone.

Live translation glasses

Google IO 2022 smart glasses
Google

Definitely worth a mention here — right at the end of the keynote we got a peek at Google’s new AR smart glasses

  •  Digital Trends’ Andy Boxall called them “life-changing” but pointed out we don’t know if they’ll ever be released as an actual product.
  • Their live translation feature uses augmented reality and AI (plus possible embedded mics and cameras) to see a person speaking to you, listen to what they’re saying, translate it, and display the translation like subtitles on the translucent screens in the glasses frames.
  • No, this isn’t Google Glass 3, but it did blow our minds a bit.
  • As a researcher pointed out in the video, it’s “Kind of like subtitles for the world.”
  • They looked pretty much like normal glasses too.

Software

Lots here to unpack but we’ll focus on the main stuff:

  • A bunch of Wear OS news, including a promise Google Assistant’s coming “soon” to the Galaxy Watch 4 series.
  • Android 13 updates including expanded support for the RCS texting standard and the option for multilingual users to set specific apps to use specific languages — e.g. Tweet in French and search in German.
  • Google Wallet’s relaunch — yup, it’s basically the same as Google Pay, but will support digital IDs including, soon, driver’s licenses.
  • Google Lens’ Scene Exploration feature which basically overlays useful info on top of products you point your camera at, could be a big shopping time-saver but no precise timescale for when we’ll see it in the real world yet.
  • A new Near Me feature for Multisearch, taking your location into account when Multisearching to find shops, restaurants, etc near you based on photos and text.
  • Immersive View in Google Maps lets you move around in a CGI-rendered 3D space, even seeing inside restaurants and bars, though not 100% accurate as based on user photos and filled in with Google’s algorithms — rolling out in “select cities” this year.

That’s about it!

Roundup

📱 This is our first look at the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 (Android Authority).

🔥 And here’s our first look at the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 (Android Authority).

🎢 Samsung shows off first multi-rollable phone prototype (Android Authority).

Android 13 beta 2 drops for Pixel phones, starting with the Pixel 4 series (Android Authority).

💻 Thousands of websites can see what you type even before you hit submit… (Wired).

💲 Terra’s Luna plunged 87% in 24 hours, from $54.36 on Monday to a low of $3.71 on Tuesday (Gizmodo).

🎮 Finding a PlayStation 5 might get easier this year: Sony’s forecasting sales of 18 million this fiscal year, a dramatic rise, could mean supply issues are improving (Gamespot).

🎧 Sony’s WH-1000XM5 headphones are launching today at 4 PM GMT.

⚡ Struggling to pick the right charger? Our charging guide explains everything from charging standards to how charging your phone actually works.

Throwback Thursday

On this day in 2005, the Xbox 360 was unveiled on MTV, later launched across the US and Canada on November 22 that same year (December 2 in Europe). We think you’ll agree the video is just a bit cringe.

In 2009, IGN named the Xbox 360 the sixth-greatest video console of all time (the NES took the top spot).

  • The video makes me feel a bit nostalgic, with the Gorillaz, super-young Elijah Wood, and the old iPod silhouette commercial.
  • Plus, the Pimp My Ride guys. Remember that show? And the game? I’m showing my age now.
  • “Before we take a step into the future, we have to see how gaming got to this level.” I’m not quite old enough to remember Pong, but give me a Sega Genesis (we called it the Mega Drive here in the UK) and a copy of Altered Beast any day.
  • Did you know Call of Duty 2 was the Xbox 360’s best-selling game in 2005, selling over a million copies? Today that figure seems low, with hits like Spider Man: Miles Morales selling over 6.5 million copies on PlayStation 5.

Nostalgically,

Paula Beaton, Copy Editor.