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5 things we want to see from Google in 2023
From a hardware perspective, Google had a great 2022. The Pixel 7 series wowed us all, with the Pixel 7 Pro being both our Reader’s Choice and Editor’s Choice winner for the best phone of the year. Even the vanilla Pixel 7 came in second place in our internal voting. The Pixel Watch finally landed (even if it wasn’t all we’d hoped for), we learned about a new smart display/tablet hybrid coming in 2023, and Google’s Nest division released some great new products, too.
With all this in mind, what can we hope for from the Big G in 2023? We’ve got a list of five things we want to see, and we also want to know about the hopes you have.
A foldable worthy of the Pixel name
Google hasn’t confirmed anything, but we are 99.999% certain that there will be a Pixel foldable landing in 2023. It might be called the Pixel Fold or the Pixel Notepad, but there is something on the way. Leaked renders show the phone looking pretty sleek — kind of like a mix between the OPPO Find N2 and a Pixel 7 Pro.
The big question hanging over the foldable, however, is whether or not Google is going to get in its own way. Historically, the company has a terrible habit of entering a market with gusto, failing, and then immediately leaving to chase something new (see: Stadia). We really hope Google doesn’t do this with the foldable.
We really hope Google commits to the foldable form factor, unlike many of its other ventures.
Likewise, Google has sometimes had difficulty accepting that the best way to make hardware better is better hardware. While great software is immeasurably important for a smartphone, it doesn’t mean anything if the hardware doesn’t match it. Thankfully, Google seems to have finally learned this lesson after the back-to-back commercial failures of the Pixel 4 and Pixel 5. Let’s just hope it hasn’t forgotten.
Essentially, we want the Pixel Fold/Notepad to live up to the current bar set by the Pixel 7 and Pixel 6. Considering Apple has no foldable devices on the horizon, this could be Google’s one and only chance to get in on the ground floor when it comes to the foldable industry. Otherwise, it’s going to be Samsung’s market alone, which is never good for consumers.
A smaller Pro-level Pixel
Considering how the Pixel 7 Pro swept our awards in 2022, it’s no secret that we love it. However, just because we love it doesn’t mean we don’t wish it was a bit better. For example, we love that Google trimmed down the curved display a bit as compared to 2021, but why not get rid of the curve altogether? Flat displays are what the people want, Google.
Barring those annoying curves, one of the things we most hope to see is Google trim down the overall size of the next Pro-level Pixel (presumably the Pixel 8 Pro). The Pixel 7 Pro (and, incidentally, the Pixel 6 Pro) aren’t gargantuan behemoths or anything, but they are pretty big. Meanwhile, the Pixel 7 is basically the perfect size. Why can’t we get a phone with all the Pixel 7 Pro perks but in a similar size to the Pixel 7’s?
Would it be too much to ask for the Pixel 8 Pro to be a teensy bit smaller?
We know that’s a big ask, but huge phones aren’t as popular as they used to be. Even Apple is finding it difficult to sell the iPhone 14 Plus, for example. While price and a lack of compelling features could be big factors there, it’s clear that making a regular iPhone bigger doesn’t have the pull it used to have back in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 7 days. Consumers are starting to understand that usability is an integral aspect of enjoying their phones, and needing two hands to do even the most basic tasks isn’t very utilitarian.
Obviously, there will continue to be a market for large phones. We don’t think Google — or any OEM, including Apple — should abandon them altogether. We just don’t like needing to decide between Pro-level features and usability anymore. Give us a third option!
A renewed focus on the smart home
One of the more shocking bits of news we heard in 2022 was how Amazon is scaling back its Alexa team. Apparently, the company feels Alexa isn’t as much of a success as we all tend to think it is. Historically, Amazon has been the smart home ecosystem leader, with Google relegated to second place. Meanwhile, Apple trails way behind in a distant third. With Amazon weakening, this is Google’s golden opportunity. With the right moves, it could become the top dog of the smart home.
Of course, “with the right moves” is the key phrase there. Google is already well-positioned with its Nest division, which creates high-quality products that are genuinely useful. The Google Home app has come a long way, and 2023 will see it becoming even more powerful. But Nest products are also prohibitively expensive for many consumers, and Google tends to be quite late to the party when it comes to new markets. For example, the first-ever wireless camera from Nest dropped in 2021!
The smart home could be Google's to take if it can polish the rough edges of Nest and Home.
This is why we’re worried Google could squander this new opportunity. The smart home market is growing fast, with market estimates pointing to a nearly $139 billion size by 2026. That growth could be Google’s to take if it can polish the rough edges of Nest and the Google Home ecosystem.
The new smart home standard known as Matter is going to help with this. Google has already rolled out Matter support to a bulk of its Nest-branded products — but that won’t be enough. It needs more products in the Nest family and it needs to figure out a way to make those products cheaper. It’s making the right moves with the Google Home app, but it also needs to stay focused and consistent.
There are still plenty of people out there who haven’t committed to a smart home ecosystem, so Google needs to win them over fast.
A longer-lasting Pixel Watch 2
The Google Pixel Watch was one of the most anticipated products of 2022. While it offers good looks, some innovative features, and great integration with Wear OS, it has terrible battery life and is way too expensive for what it is.
Inevitably, Google will launch a Pixel Watch 2, hopefully in 2023. We can only hope that this follow-up product fixes the biggest problem with the watch, which is the poor battery life. We’re not expecting a week of juice (even if that’s what we should be able to expect), but the Pixel Watch 2 needs to get through a full 24-36 hours at maxed-out settings. If it can’t do that, it will simply never be able to win over folks who don’t see a smartwatch as an essential product in their lives.
The Pixel Watch 2 won't survive if it doesn't offer 24 hours of battery life at maxed-out settings.
People who love smartwatches have grown to accept the pitfalls of battery life. Most Apple Watches only see about 24 hours of battery life, but Google can’t use the battery life of the Apple Watch as a metric to meet, because that just won’t fly with the Android crowd. There are more smartwatch options for Android users, and Samsung is right there offering 2-day battery life on the Galaxy Watch 5.
Obviously, we also hope for a price drop on the Pixel Watch 2. If Google can deliver a minimum battery life of 24-36 hours regardless of user settings and keep the watch under $300, it might have a winner. But if it just repackages the Pixel Watch with a handful of new features for the follow-up, it will be a tough sell.
Extended software support
When Google launched the Pixel 6 series, it made a big noise about how it was extending its software support schedule. Instead of two Android upgrades and three years of security patches, new Pixels would see three upgrades and five years of patches.
This would be impressive if Samsung hadn’t already announced its own commitment to four upgrades and five years of patches. Both policies still pale in comparison to Apple, which offers up to six years of upgrades.
Everything in one place: Phone update policies from every major Android manufacturer
Simply put, it’s embarrassing that Google — the company that owns Android — can’t even match Samsung’s commitment, to say nothing of Apple’s. We had high hopes Google would catch up to Samsung with the launch of the Pixel 7 series, but that didn’t happen.
Maybe 2023 will be the big year and the Pixel 8 series will get five full years of support. If Google really wants to play in the big leagues amongst Samsung and Apple, it needs to bring some real thunder — and three measly upgrades just ain’t it.
You tell us: What do you want to see from Google in 2023?
Our readers are very passionate about Google, and we have no doubts they have some opinions about this list. Please let us know which of the five things you want to see most from Google in 2023 by voting in the poll below.
What do you want to see from Google in 2023?
Be sure to head to the comments to discuss your choice. Also, if there’s something else you’d like to see from the company in 2023, be sure to mention that as well!