Google Pixel Watch 3 unofficial renders have no surprises to reveal

Android is available on a wide variety of devices, but not all of them have Google’s official blessing, let alone a product with Google’s name on it. In fact, it wasn’t until 2022 that Google launched its own smartwatch to stand along with sporty and stylish options from luxury brands. The Google Pixel Watch represents to some extent the vision that Google has for Wear OS smartwatches, and it seems that this vision hasn’t changed much over the past three years. At least that seems to be the impression you’ll get from these Pixel Watch 3 renders that, unsurprisingly, have an uncanny resemblance to the Pixel Watch 2 last year.

Designer: Google (via OnLeaks, 91mobiles)

Google Pixel Watch 2

In terms of design, the Pixel Watches have admittedly been quite distinctive. While their peers sported mostly flat screens with bezels reminiscent of classic watches, the Pixel Watch has a very curved surface, almost like an upturned bowl, that gave it a sleek and modern look. Just like the Pixel 6 smartphone, it is a design that spoke to the heart of many fans, and thankfully Google doesn’t seem to have any plans of changing that yet.

Google Pixel Watch 2

Based on unofficial renders of the smartwatch, the upcoming Pixel Watch 3 has the exact same design as its predecessor, save for one subtle detail you’ll never notice just by looking at the device. According to rumors, the Pixel Watch 3 will be slightly thicker than the Pixel Watch 2, and this is mostly due to a slightly larger battery as well. That’s 307mAh versus 304mAh, which is honestly an almost negligible difference. On the flip side, the Pixel 3’s height and width are allegedly smaller at 40.79 x 40.73 mm than the 41 x 41 mm of the Pixel Watch 2.

Google Pixel Watch 3

There isn’t much information yet about the rest of the Pixel Watch 3, but we do expect some more senses and, more importantly, a pinch of AI. Of course, the watch itself won’t be powerful enough for on-device AI features, so it will have to tie up with a paired smartphone. The Pixel Watch 3 is also expected to come in two sizes, with a larger Pixel Watch 3 Pro also in the works.

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The Evolution of Smartphones: What Are GenAI Phones?

Generative AI, or GenAI, has been making waves in the software industry for several years, proving its potential to revolutionize various sectors with its ability to generate new content and provide insightful analyses based on existing data. However, it is only recently that this technology has started to transition from software applications to consumer hardware, specifically within the mobile phone market. This transition marks the beginning of a new era in consumer electronics, where smartphones are not only smart in name but are endowed with the capability to perform complex AI tasks that were once reserved for powerful servers.

The term “GenAI smartphone,” or “GenAI phones” for short, began to gain traction in the last six months, emerging prominently in reports from leading market research firms. These devices are distinguished from standard smartphones’ ability to harness large-scale, pre-trained generative AI models to create and modify content directly on the device. This capability isn’t just a marginal upgrade to existing features. Still, it represents a fundamental shift in how mobile technology interacts with users, offering distinctive personalization and functionality directly from one’s hand.

As these GenAI smartphones prepare to enter the market, they promise to redefine user interactions with mobile devices. With the potential to handle tasks ranging from real-time language translation and complex content creation to intuitive personal assistants that understand and predict user needs, GenAI phones aim to set a new standard in mobile computing. This evolution from a communication tool to an intelligent companion stresses a pivotal shift in the mobile industry, driving consumer excitement and industry innovation. As we stand on the brink of this technological leap, it is crucial to understand what precisely a GenAI smartphone is, how it differs from traditional smartphones, and what it promises for the future of mobile technology.

What is a GenAI Phone?

A GenAI phone represents a new category of smartphones that embed generative artificial intelligence (AI) at the core of their functionality, offering previously unimaginable capabilities in a handheld device. These devices integrate large-scale, pre-trained AI models to provide unprecedented personalization and functionality directly from one’s hand.

At the heart of a GenAI phone are AI-driven applications capable of generating original content. Whether it’s composing personalized emails, designing unique artwork, or creating music from simple user prompts, these applications dynamically produce outputs tailored to user interactions. Unlike traditional apps that operate within their confines, AI tools in a GenAI phone are embedded system-wide, enhancing the user experience across all functionalities. This integration ensures that AI capabilities improve everything from the camera and messaging apps to system settings, adapting to the user’s behavior to predict and automate actions like app selection or environmental adjustments.

GenAI phones are equipped with specialized CPUs explicitly designed for intensive AI tasks to power these sophisticated features. These processors perform billions of operations per second, enabling the device to run complex AI models directly on the device. This capability of processing data locally speeds up operations by eliminating the latency associated with cloud computing. It significantly enhances user privacy and security, as sensitive data does not need to be transmitted over the Internet.

GenAI phones must remain elegantly designed and user-friendly despite the advanced technology embedded within them. Consumers expect their devices to combine functionality with aesthetic appeal, mirroring the sleekness and minimalism of products like the iPad Pro M4. The challenge for manufacturers is integrating these powerful AI capabilities into slim, attractive, and intuitive devices, ensuring that technological advancements enhance rather than complicate the user experience.

What Isn’t a GenAI Phone and Current Market Scenario

Understanding what isn’t a GenAI phone is crucial in distinguishing it from the myriad of smartphones equipped with basic AI functionalities. Although many modern smartphones boast AI capabilities, having AI features doesn’t automatically make a device a GenAI phone. This distinction is required to set realistic expectations about the device’s capabilities and understand smartphone technology’s evolution. A GenAI phone fundamentally differs from standard smartphones because it integrates advanced AI functionalities directly into the device’s core systems and processes data locally rather than relying heavily on cloud computing. This integration means that GenAI phones are equipped with specialized hardware to handle complex AI tasks independently, thereby enhancing privacy and functionality by keeping the processing on the device itself.

In contrast, many smartphones on the market today, often mistaken for GenAI devices, do not meet these criteria. For example, while devices like the iPhone 15 Pro Max offer AI-driven features like facial recognition, predictive text, and enhanced photography tools, these features, although advanced, do not necessarily qualify the device as a GenAI phone. This is because a true GenAI phone not only uses AI for specific tasks but integrates AI deeply across all system operations, processing complex AI tasks entirely on the device. In other words, even though iPhones process a significant amount of data on-device to ensure user privacy, the breadth and independence of AI integration in terms of generative capabilities might not be as extensive as in dedicated GenAI devices. Similarly, many Android devices boast impressive AI-powered photo editing and voice assistant features; however, these tasks are often processed with the aid of cloud servers, making them less autonomous and, therefore, not true GenAI phones. These smartphones might utilize AI for specific applications like optimizing battery life, managing screen brightness based on ambient conditions, or even offering user behavior-driven app suggestions. Yet, because they lack the hardware to independently process complex AI tasks directly on the device, they fall short of the GenAI classification. The reliance on cloud processing raises concerns about data privacy and limits the device’s functionality when offline or in areas with poor connectivity.

Thus, while many current smartphones are marketed with the allure of AI, only a select few truly qualify as GenAI phones by virtue of their ability to perform sophisticated AI operations natively and independently. Among the notable examples that set the benchmark in this emerging category are the Samsung Galaxy S24 series and the Google Pixel 8 Pro. These devices display the integration of AI at a foundational level, equipped with the necessary hardware to process complex AI tasks directly on the phone. This enables a range of innovative applications, from enhanced image processing to real-time language translation without cloud dependency.

For instance, the Samsung Galaxy S24 series demonstrates its generative AI capabilities through features that enable sophisticated on-device content creation and personalization, enhancing user interaction in ways that were previously only achievable with server-based computing. Similarly, the Google Pixel 8 Pro leverages its specialized hardware to deliver advanced AI functionalities like next-generation assistant features and more nuanced user engagement through AI, all processed locally on the device. This focus on native processing is a crucial aspect that boosts performance and efficiency and significantly enhances data privacy, a growing concern among consumers. By minimizing data transmission to external servers, these GenAI phones offer a more secure environment for users to enjoy the benefits of AI without compromising their personal information.

Transitioning into the Apple ecosystem, recent developments indicate a significant shift that could redefine the landscape of GenAI phones. Rumors of Apple’s potential partnership with OpenAI and the integration of an advanced Siri capable of leveraging OpenAI’s technologies suggest a significant upgrade in Apple’s AI capabilities. Such a collaboration could bring about a new iteration of Siri that is far more advanced than its current form, potentially incorporating the ability to understand and generate human-like text, engage in more dynamic conversations, and offer personalized suggestions with a higher degree of relevance and context.

If these speculations hold, this move could be a game-changer for the Apple ecosystem, integrating more deeply with iOS, macOS, visionOS and iPadOS. It could enhance the Apple suite of products with a level of AI sophistication previously unseen in its devices. For Apple, known for its tightly integrated ecosystem and emphasis on user privacy, the challenge will be to balance these advanced capabilities with the need to maintain data security, especially considering the potential use of cloud-based processing to support more complex AI tasks.

Apple iPhone Concept

This anticipated development could position Apple to catch up with and potentially surpass its competitors in the race to refine and expand the capabilities of GenAI phones. Integrating such advanced AI could transform how users interact with their devices, making Apple’s ecosystem even more intuitive and integrated and potentially setting a new standard for what smartphones can achieve in personal technology.

The Future of GenAI Phones, Market Impact, and Consumer Adoption

The future of GenAI phones is anticipated to transform our daily interactions with mobile devices radically. Integrating generative AI features into mainstream smartphones is becoming more prevalent as technology advances. Companies like Apple, NVIDIA, Qualcomm, Microsoft, Samsung, and Google are at the forefront of this evolution, actively developing ways to incorporate GenAI capabilities into future models and through updates to existing devices. This push towards more intelligent smartphones will likely enhance how we communicate, create, and interact with our devices daily.

Apple M4 and Snapdragon X Elite

The impact of these developments on the market cannot be understated. After years of incremental upgrades that have seen diminishing consumer excitement, GenAI phones promise to inject new life into the somewhat stagnant smartphone market. According to insights from Counterpoint Research, incorporating GenAI technologies is expected to boost smartphone sales significantly. Their data projects a notable increase in market share and adoption rates for GenAI smartphones over the next few years, with these advanced devices set to account for a substantial portion of total smartphone shipments by 2027.

This shift is expected to reshape consumer expectations and drive demand for smartphones that are smarter, more intuitive, and capable of independently performing complex tasks. As GenAI phones become more common, they are anticipated to influence a broad spectrum of consumer electronics, setting new standards for functionality and interactivity. Integrating AI into everyday technology promises to make our digital experiences more personalized and efficient, fundamentally changing our relationship with technology.

In essence, the rise of GenAI phones indicates a new era in personal technology, where our devices understand and anticipate our needs better than ever. For everyday users, this means smartphones that can offer real-time translations, sophisticated content creation, and proactive personal assistance—all processed locally on the device for faster, more secure interactions. As these technologies mature, they are expected to become integral to our digital lives, making advanced AI a luxury and a standard component of future smartphones.

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Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 5 Enduro smartwatch launches to a shrinking Wear OS market

The Apple Watch finally gave smartwatches their long overdue recognition, but for some brands, that came a little too late. Google’s wearable platform has undergone several changes over the years, but it hasn’t been able to enjoy the same degree of ubiquity as Android has on smartphones. Wear OS still powers many smartwatches in the market today, but that number is dwindling with the exit of many luxury and fashion brands. As if to prove that the platform is still as healthy as ever, Mobvoi launched an “Enduro” version of its 2023 TicWatch Pro 5 flagship, but its focus on sports and activities makes it less appealing to the general population.

Designer: Mobvoi

As far as smartwatches go, the mouthful that is the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 5 Enduro is actually quite attractive, at least for those who want a sports watch that can keep up with their lifestyles. Its claim to fame is, like many Mobvoi smartwatches, its dual display technology has a regular AMOLED screen underneath a low-power display. The idea is that you switch to the duller screen on top if you want to preserve battery life without sacrificing tracking features.

With the Enduro, Mobvoi is playing up the ability of that low-power screen to show different backlight colors, making the information pop out better. This same color-changing ability is utilized to represent your heart rate, giving you a visual clue at a glance when you might need to take a breather. Of course, the smartwatch has all the makings of a typical Wear OS device, from tracking your health, including sleep quality and heart rhythm detection, to customizing watch faces to access a number of apps that support the wearable operating system.

As its name suggests, the TicWatch Pro 5 Enduro is made to last, and it does so in more ways than one. The sapphire crystal glass display gives the screen the durability it needs to survive accidents along your adventures, while the 90-hour battery life ensures you have very little downtime to charge the smartwatch. That said, it runs on Qualcomm’s aging Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1 processor from 2022, so performance and power efficiency might not be up to snuff.

At $350, the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 5 Enduro is hardly an accessible smartwatch, and it’s clearly aimed at people who take their health and fitness very seriously. It looks like a handsome sports watch, yes, but a lot of Wear OS products will be bearing this aesthetic with fashion brands like Fossil calling it quits on smartwatches. This gives competitors that don’t use Wear OS plenty of opportunities to nibble away at Google’s share of the market pie, further weakening the platform’s reach.

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Google Pixel 8a official: A more affordable way to experience Google’s AI

Even before AI and machine learning became buzzwords, Google was already utilizing these technologies behind the scenes to power services like Search and Google Assistant. In line with recent trends, however, it has started applying and advertising AI for anything and everything, especially for its Pixel devices. AI features, however, are normally accessed through online services, which incurs security and privacy issues, or on the device itself, which requires powerful hardware that’s often available only on more expensive flagships. That’s the kind of situation that the new Google Pixel 8a is trying to change, offering a more accessible device to access Google’s AI-powered features and services for years on end.

Designer: Google

The Pixel 8a is practically the Pixel 8 in both design and spirit. It has the exact same appearance, though in a slightly smaller size and one important change in materials. The back of this newer Pixel phone is a matte composite instead of the Pixel 8’s glass rear. The color options available are also slightly different, with the Pixel 8a leaning more towards fun and saturated hues like Aloe green and Bay blue. Otherwise, the two are almost exactly identical, which some Pixel fans have grown pretty fond of.

The Pixel 8a even shares the same Tensor G3 processor as the current flagship, though we won’t be surprised if we find out later that it has been dialed down a bit. That said, it still has enough power to support almost all of Google’s AI features on the Pixel, from Circle to Search to Gemini assistant for summarizing pages or notes to removing background noise from recorded video. There will still be some features exclusive to the Pixel 8, of course, but you can already enjoy most of what’s available on the Pixel 8a, especially when it comes to photography.

It will definitely need it because one of the biggest corners that Google had to cut was the camera system. Neither the 64MP main camera nor the 13MP ultra-wide has autofocus, and both have slightly lower specs than the Pixel 8. In other words, the Pixel 8a will rely more heavily on AI and algorithms to compensate for the camera hardware’s limitation. There are also some other key differences, like a slower (but still fast) 18W charging speed.

All in all, you’re getting nearly the same Pixel 8 experience for $200 less, with the Pixel 8a going for $499 for 128GB of storage and $549 for the first-ever 256GB option for a Pixel “a” series. Aside from the camera, none of the “downgrades” are deal-breakers, making the Pixel 8a a very worthwhile investment for the future, especially since the phone will also be getting Android updates for seven years.

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Google Pixel 8a: News, Rumors, Price, and Release Date

Google’s annual developer conference is fast approaching, and with it comes announcements of new devices that will showcase the company’s software for years to come. The Google Pixel Fold 2, which may be known as the Google Pixel 9 Pro Fold, is already making headlines and becoming the center of attraction, but it is hardly the only mobile device expected to be unveiled this month. As part of the more affordable “a” series, the Pixel 8a may sound uninteresting at first glance, but a few leaks and rumors paint a more curious picture of the Google Pixel 8a, making it a feasible candidate to be your 2024 purchase.

Designer: Google

Google Pixel 8a: Design

For those terribly disappointed by rumors of the changes that the Pixel 9 series will be making to a distinctive design, the Google Pixel 8a will offer a refuge. It still bears the same aesthetics of its namesake, namely a rounder and gentler appearance coupled with the “visor” camera design that Google’s phones have been using for three generations now. That said, the Pixel 8a will bring its own twist, making it perhaps even more interesting than its predecessor.

Image courtesy of: SmartPrix

For one, there are clues showing a matte surface for the phone’s rear rather than the traditional glass. This not only improves the grip of the device but also a bit of visual embellishment. This material change could go hand in hand with the “fun” colors that will be available for the phone, which might include Blue and Red, though those could also just be new official cases.

Image courtesy of: TechDroider

Perhaps a bit more interesting is the information provided by Evan Blass, a.k.a. evleaks, about the sustainability story of the Pixel 8a. There’s mention of the use of recycled materials, which could refer to either the back panel, the aluminum frame, or both. It will definitely be a huge design win if the Pixel 8a turns out to be Google’s most sustainable phone, especially considering how long it will be supported.

Google Pixel 8a: Specs and Software

In line with its current practice, we don’t expect to see a huge difference when it comes to the Pixel 8a’s hardware. It will be borrowing the same Tensor G3 as the Pixel 8a, but perhaps a bit watered down in performance. The display will be a new 120Hz panel, up from the Pixel 7a’s 60Hz, with an even brighter 1400 nits. The same trio of cameras that’s on the Pixel 7a will make its way to this year’s budget phone, so don’t expect a world of difference in terms of image output. What’s new is a 256GB storage option, which also shakes the pricing up a bit.

In other words, the Pixel 8a will be a very incremental update to the Pixel 7a and a step down from the Pixel 8. It’s not a surprising state of affairs, as it gives Pixel fans an option to grab the Google experience without burning a hole through their wallets. What will make all these worthwhile, however, is the software that runs on the device, and that one is expected to be fresh and new, at least compared to the hardware.

The Pixel 8a will naturally run Android 14 at launch, with updates to Android 15 immediately coming. More importantly, however, it will be running parts of Google’s Gemini AI suite, with tons of AI-powered features for search, photography, and more. Google is also promising 7 years of software updates, quite a feat in the mobile world, though it’s not clear how many of those will be actual Android upgrades versus security patches.

Google Pixel 8a: Price and Release Date

With Google I/O set for May 14, the timeline for revealing new devices is just around the corner. There are rumors that the Pixel Fold 2/Pixel 9 Pro Fold will be announced a few days earlier, but there’s no reason to expect the Pixel 8a to get special treatment. If Google doesn’t break from traditions, orders for the phone will start on that day as well.

As for the price, Google is thankfully keeping the figures the same, at least for the base model. For 128GB of storage, the Pixel 8a will go for $499, or the same launch price as the Pixel 7a. This year, however, a 256GB model is supposedly in the works, and that will go for $599. They’re not exactly “cheap,” but they’re still well below the usual $800 to $1,000 that consumers pay for with a brand-new flagship.

Google Pixel 8a: Final Thoughts

It’s not really strange that smartphone companies and their marketing engines tend to focus on the more expensive high-end products. After all, those are what make the most profits and also have the biggest expenses. That’s not to say they’re always the best, and definitely not for all people. The Google Pixel 8a, despite the stigma of being a “cheaper” version of a flagship, seems to be shaping up to be one interesting design and could be more worth your money in the long run.

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Google Pixel Tablet Relaunch: News, Rumors, Price, and Release Date

Google isn’t exactly known for its love of tablets. Android 3.0 Honeycomb was the first version to support large-screen devices, but it was mostly seen as a quick stopgap measure to curb the growing number of tablets modifying an experience that was meant for phones only (looking at you, Samsung and HTC). The release, however, was considered to be so rushed and so bad that Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich was released half a year later. Google didn’t seem keen to make its own Android tablets either, be it the old Nexus brand or the short-lived Pixel C, but that’s not to say its own fans haven’t been clamoring for an official Google tablet for years. That finally happened nearly a year ago with the Pixel Tablet, which painted this large device as something different from an iPad or a Samsung Galaxy Tab. Rather than launch a new Pixel Tablet 2 this year, however, Google is apparently making the rather unorthodox move of relaunching the existing model, and it seems like it will be a mixed bag based on what we’re hearing so far.

Designer: Google

Google Pixel Tablet: Design

The most important thing about this “relaunch” is that there is no word on any major internal or external changes to the Google Pixel, and that’s not entirely a bad thing. There are some whispers about a new and darker color option, but that seems unlikely at this point. The Pixel Tablet’s design is largely driven by Google’s vision of what the tablet really is for, which all boils down to a device that’s meant more to stay at home than accompany you wherever you go.

The Google Pixel Tablet’s aesthetics are simple, homey, and a bit traditional. Unlike the flat and sharp edges of the likes of the current Apple iPads, Google’s design has curved sides and a gentler demeanor. It’s not something you’ll flaunt outdoors but will be perfectly at home inside the house. That’s primarily because Google’s purpose for its tablet isn’t on-the-go productivity or entertainment but as pretty much a portable smart display for controlling your smart devices, making video calls, or playing music. The fact that you can only buy the Pixel Tablet with its charging speaker dock pretty much drives home that identity.

This will be the exact same Pixel Tablet that Google is said to be “relaunching” in just two weeks but with a slight twist. The accessories for the tablet are being changed, and this speaker charger will no longer be bundled with the Pixel Tablet by default. Although it’s only the accessory lineup that will change, it also subtly changes the message that the product will be sending. Strangely enough, the design will also remain the same, so it’s not a complete overhaul of its identity either.

Google Pixel Tablet: Specs and Software

We’re unlikely to see any internal changes either, which means we’ll be seeing the same 2022-era specs like a Tensor G2 processor and 8GB of RAM, for starters. Truth be told, the Pixel Tablet hardware was plenty fine for what it was made for and can even support a bit of gaming on the side. Whether that holds true in 2024 and beyond is a bit uncertain, however, especially with Google opening up the device to new use cases that may demand more from the hardware.

What is basically changing is that Google will no longer ship the Pixel Tablet with the Charging Speaker Dock, which has important ramifications as far as pricing goes. More importantly, however, it is rumored to introduce new accessories, namely an official Google stylus as well as a keyboard for the tablet, most likely a keyboard cover like those sold for the Galaxy Tab S9, for example. Unfortunately, there are no leaks on the design that these products will take, but given the design of the official Pixel Tablet Case, we’re expecting something that will match the tablet’s aesthetics as well.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9+

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra

Designer: Samsung

Of course, the Pixel Tablet has had support for a wide range of styluses implementing the USI 2.0 standard as well as the myriad Bluetooth keyboards in the market. But having Google’s official stamp pretty much sends the message that the Pixel Tablet is also good for creativity and productivity, whether it’s making art, scribbling notes, or typing documents. The keyboard case even makes a case (pun intended) for bringing it out of your home and setting up an ad hoc office in a cafe somewhere. The Pixel Tablet’s hardware could still be up to the task, but more resource-hungry apps could hit a wall easily with this configuration.

As for the software, the Pixel Tablet will still be running Android 14 by the time it launches, but we’re expecting to see more AI-related features drop through updates. Circle to Search, in particular, will be easier to do with a stylus, and Google’s NotebookLM AI-powered app will be more useful if you can quickly type with a keyboard. The Google Pixel Tablet will be growing up from being a homebody to a digital nomad, allowing you to enjoy and utilize Google’s services anywhere you go and on a larger screen.

Google Pixel Tablet: Price and Release Date

Google’s new pricing strategy will be a mixed bag. On the one hand, you will finally be able to buy a Pixel Tablet on its own without having the Charging Speaker Base forced on you. Presuming the standalone base still costs $129, then the solo Pixel Tablet could be made available for only $379, hopefully a bit lower. This makes the tablet more accessible, especially for people who have better-sounding speakers anyway.

On the other hand, all accessories will have to be purchased separately, and the price tags might be hard to swallow. According to the rumors, the Pixel stylus and keyboard could amount to around $100 each, setting you back $579 for the complete mobile office package. A total of $699 if you also want a home base at, well, home. Granted, the Apple Pencil is already $120, but that’s normal for an Apple product. One can only hope that these figures are ballpark estimates instead.

As for when all these will drop, signs point to a May 10 “relaunch” for the Pixel Tablet. That’s a pretty odd strategy given that Google I/O 2024 will be taking play on May 14. The only way this will make total sense is if there’s a new Pixel Tablet 2 or even Pixel Tablet Pro being announced there, but that will immediately make the Pixel Tablet relaunch dead on arrival unless the accessories are 100% compatible with the new Google tablet.

Google Pixel Tablet: Final Thoughts

Although it might not launch a new tablet, it’s actually encouraging to hear that Google is continuing to support its only tablet not just with software updates but new accessories as well. These are accessories it could have launched on day one, however, but that would have probably muddled the message it was trying to send. It tried to set the Pixel Tablet apart from the iPads and Galaxy Tabs of the market by focusing on its benefits at home. Now it’s sending a different message, one that says it’s finally safe to go out.

At the same time, however, it does make the Pixel Tablet feel old and stale, which is a bit worrying considering Google’s history with Android tablets. It won’t kill off its tablet line immediately, but not having an immediate successor makes one wonder if Google will simply milk the existing model dry and then call it quits. Then again, Google has also been notorious for killing off successful products after a few generations, so the Pixel Tablet’s fate will always be in the air anyway.

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Google Pixel Fold 2: News, Rumors, Price, and Release Date

Despite developing an operating system that’s used on a variety of devices and computers, Google has practically snubbed anything other than a smartphone. It’s notorious for having a love-hate relationship with tablets, for example, so it was a bit of a surprise that Google would launch its own foldable device. Perhaps even more surprising is how it might actually release a second-gen foldable phone. Given its pedigree, the next Google foldable is definitely going to pique people’s curiosity, whether it will be called the Pixel Fold 2 or the Pixel 9 Pro Fold. Judging from what we’ve been hearing so far, this foldable phone will be undergoing several significant changes, though not all of them might appeal to Pixel fans and onlookers alike.

Designer: Google (renders courtesy of Smartprix, @OnLeaks)

Google Pixel Fold 2: Design

For three generations since the Pixel 6 in 2021, Google seemed to have settled on a signature design that, unusual as it may have been, gave its phones a unique personality. It seems, however, that Google has gotten tired of that look and will be moving to a different design for the Pixel 9 series. For better or for worse, that change is apparently happening to the foldable version of the Pixel as well, but not in the same way as leaks and renders would have it.

The camera bump, which was a horizontal bar across the width of the Pixel Fold’s “back,” has now been reduced to a more conventional rectangle. But unlike the ones you’d see on other smartphones, Google opted for an odd horizontal layout, with black pill-shaped markings that hold the actual camera lenses. It’s definitely an unusual design, but unlike the current “visor” shape, many might find it visually unappealing.

Fortunately, there will be even more important design changes in store for the Pixel Fold 2 (or Pixel 9 Pro Fold), though they might be a bit more subtle. According to rumors and at least one leaked prototype, the next Google foldable will have an outer screen that is taller than its predecessor, yielding an unfolded shape that is more square than the first Pixel Fold as well. Whereas the Pixel Fold had a rectangular shape that resembled a small notebook, the Pixel Fold 2 could be more like a minuscule iPad mini.

This change in screen aspect ratios isn’t just cosmetic and will have important usability implications. It won’t be as tall and narrow as the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5, which is notorious for being almost unusable as a regular phone, but it could make it a bit more awkward to use the Pixel Fold 2 in folded form, at least with a single hand. Those who loved the current wider design of the Pixel Fold might be disappointed, but those who missed using a 16:9 phone will welcome this change.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2

Google Pixel Fold 2: Specs and Software

With the change in screen aspect ratios come changes in screen sizes as well, and everyone will probably love what’s rumored so far. The Pixel Fold 2/Pixel 9 Pro Fold is expected to have bigger screens on both sides, though there is some agreement on the exact sizes. Some claim that the external Cover Screen will be 6.4 inches and the main foldable screen will be 7.9 inches, while another source uses 6.29 inches and 8.02 inches for those same screens, respectively. Either way, it will still be a significant size boost compared to the current Pixel Fold’s 5.8-inch exterior and 7.6-inch interior displays.

As far as the hardware is concerned, Google might debut a new Tensor G4 on the Pixel Fold 2, a very big leap from the Tensor G2 on the OG Pixel Fold. Details on this new processor are still extremely slim at this point, but you can expect significant performance improvements, especially on Google’s favorite AI features. Uncharacteristically, Google might also be extra generous and give the Pixel Fold 2 as much as 16GB of RAM, something that even the Galaxy Z Fold 6 isn’t expected to have.

There seems to be some disagreement on which version of Android the Pixel Fold 2 will ship with, but that mostly depends on when the foldable device will actually launch. It could go with Android 14, which is the current version in circulation, or it could delay it to coincide with the release of Android 15. Pushing the Pixel 9 Pro Fold’s launch to the end of the year might sound unreasonable, but there might be one very good reason for doing so. Android 15 betas have revealed that Google implemented improvements to the behavior of apps on foldable phones, something that its Pixel Fold badly needed.

Google Pixel Fold 2: Cameras

It’s a bit surprising that there hasn’t been any news on the kind of cameras that the Pixel Fold 2 will bear. The new camera design on the back may look like Google was making room for an additional camera, but the lack of news in that department suggests otherwise. In short, the new Pixel Fold may still be using the exact same three sensors as the current model, with some additional lenses for focusing or maybe a thermal sensor for taking temperatures. It wouldn’t be unheard of for Google, since it prefers to rely on software solutions to improve image quality.

Another big camera design change will be the internal selfie camera which used to sit on the Pixel Fold’s ugly thick bezels. According to leaks and renders, the Pixel Fold 2 will do away with those atrocities, which means there’s a need to move the camera to a different place. The consensus is that it will take the form of an under-display camera similar to the Galaxy Z Fold, but it’s also possible Google will opt for a simpler solution that has a traditional punch-hole cutout for the camera.

Google Pixel Fold 2: Price and Release Date

Although the Pixel Fold 2, or Pixel 9 Pro Fold, will be advertised as an upgrade, it doesn’t seem like a huge generational leap if not for the difference in design and the new Tensor G4 processor. As such, it’s probably only reasonable to expect that the price tag won’t go higher than the $1,800 that the first Pixel Fold launched with. At the same time, it’s also not expected to go lower than that either.

As for its launch date, that could depend on whether Google wants to delay it to sync with Android 15’s release. If it’s fine with having it run Android 14 out of the box, it could follow the same schedule last year that saw the Pixel Fold hit shelves in June. Otherwise, we might be looking at an October date after Android 15 goes gold. Either way, we’ll definitely find out more next month when Google reveals the real deal at I/O 2024.

Google Pixel Fold 2: Final Thoughts

The first Pixel Fold was definitely a surprise for Google fans. It managed to carry some of the personality of the Pixel design language to a foldable phone, along with Google’s blessed flavor of the Android user experience. At the same time, however, it really failed to stand up to other options in the market, and its very thick bezels were a big turn-off for more design-conscious consumers.

Fortunately, the Pixel Fold 2 will be improving on those pain points, but it raises the question of whether it’s actually enough or if they’re the right changes to make. The screens will be larger and have thinner bezels, but Google is also moving away from an aspect ratio that was praised by some reviewers as one of its winning traits. The camera design will definitely be divisive, especially if it doesn’t bring significant improvements to the camera system anyway. While the Pixel Fold 2, or Pixel 9 Pro Fold, will catch the attention of Pixel fans and market watchers, it might not end up being the big hit that Google wants it to be, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy of low sales that will lead to the early demise of Google’s foldable phone line.

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Pebblebee trackers can find items with the new Google Find My Device network

Although Bluetooth item trackers existed long before, Apple really took things up a notch with the AirTags. Of course, what made these small discs really valuable wasn’t just their minimalist design but their use of Apple’s crowd-sourced Find My network. This system basically utilized the large number of iOS devices spread throughout the world to pinpoint the tracker’s location accurately and quickly. It was a long time coming, but Google finally launched its own version of that network, unsurprisingly dubbed “Find My Device,” and soon Android phone owners will also be able to locate lost wallets, misplaced remote controls, stolen bags, or any other items with these upcoming “item finders” designed for every need and purpose.

Designer: Pebblebee

It’s almost a meme about how remote controls tend to get sucked into the black hole that is the living room couch, but having no way to control a TV or entertainment system is no laughing matter. The new Pebblebee Tag for Android makes that problem a thing of the past by letting you stick a thin 40mm x 26mm (1.57in x 1.02in) black rectangle on the remote so that you can easily locate it later, even if it’s buried under cushions and pillows. Given its small size, it’s also trivial to slip this tracker in pockets, bags, and suitcases so that you’ll never accidentally forget them in the coffee shop ever again.

That Tag might be a tad too thick for your wallet, but the Pebblebee Card has you covered on that front. No larger than a credit card, this 2.8mm (0.11in) super-thin tracker promises to save you from the stress and fear of losing one of the most important objects in your life. And just like the Tag, it can be easily used for bags, laptop sleeves, and other slim spaces to give you that same peace of mind.

Keys are also often misplaced even at home, turning late mornings into frantic searchers for the small objects that give access to the car or, worse, the door. With a whole that’s perfect for a keyring or carabiner, the Pebblebee Clip makes sure that no item will ever be permanently lost. That includes anything with a hook, a zipper, or a hole that this small circle can attach to without getting in your way, like suitcase zippers or handles, bag straps, and bicycle handlebars.

All three Pebblebee trackers can be charged wirelessly and their batteries can last from 8 to 18 months before you actually need to put it down on the magnetic wireless charger again. With a bright LED and a loud melody, you can easily pinpoint the tracker’s location if it’s nearby, while Google’s new Find My Device network gives you global coverage if it is out of the 300ft Bluetooth range. All trackers are IPX6 water resistant, so you don’t have worry to too much about exposing them to the weather, and their minimalist design makes them fit with almost any object. The trackers also work with Pebblebee’s own mobile app, though they aren’t compatible with Apple’s Find My system.

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Google Pixel 9 and 9 Pro XL renders show a less dramatic design change

There are a few designs in the smartphone market that have become synonymous with the brands they represent. Although some phones followed in its footsteps, Apple wholeheartedly embraced the iPhone notch for several generations. Samsung’s S Pen is something very few manufacturers have imitated, and Nothing’s Glyph lights have made dynamic LED lighting a thing on smartphones. And then there’s Google’s camera design, which has been dubbed by some as a visor, that gave the Pixel 6 onward a visually unique character. Unfortunately, brands and designs change, and it seems that the Pixel 9 trio will bid farewell to that distinctive design, though its replacement is admittedly a bit less egregious than other leaks would have us believe.

Designer: Google (via 91mobiles, MySmartPrice, Steve Hemmerstoffer)

Google Pixel 9 Pro XL

Truth be told, the “visor” camera design on the recent Pixel phones isn’t exactly the sleekest and most elegant design around, but it has enough elements that make it interesting and distinctive without being obnoxious or garish. It also has the side effect, intentional or otherwise, of raising the phone at an angle without making it wobble. Based on leaks confirmed by these unofficial renders, we might have seen the last of that design and will behold another variation that may be even more controversial than the original design on the Pixel 6 from 2021.

Google Pixel 9

Google Pixel 9

Instead of a raised strip that goes from edge to edge, the Pixel 9 phones will instead have a long pill-shaped camera bump that still spans the entire width of the phone. But unlike blurry leaked photos of prototype models, these renders show a better picture of what is allegedly the final design of that camera bump. It will follow the same two-tone theme as the Pixel 8 before it, giving it a bit of style and visual interest.

Google Pixel 9

It will definitely not be everyone’s cup of tea, especially those who have regarded the visor design to be the signature mark of the Pixel phones from the past three years. But more than just brand identity, this capsule-shaped bump also has the effect of making its thickness even more noticeable and abrupt, as if someone just glued a large chunk of metal and glass onto the back of the phone. The Pixel 8’s camera bump is just as thick, but the curved edge and smoother curves give the impression that it is thinner than it really is.

Google Pixel 9 Pro XL

Another detail coming out from these leaks is that Google will launch three models this year instead of just two. That will be the Pixel 9, Pixel 9 Pro, and Pixel 9 Pro XL. The “XL” model hasn’t been seen since the Pixel 5 XL in 2020, so it will be interesting how Google will position these three phones in the market.

Google Pixel 9 Pro XL

Google Pixel 9 Pro XL

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Google Pixel Fold 2 display might be even bigger, according to a leak

After MWC 2024 last month, it was clear that foldable phones aren’t going anywhere despite previous prophecies of doom. Samsung is obviously very much in the running, and Honor is pulling out the stops as well. Google is the one brand that is believed to be a bit over the fence, especially in the direction it will be taking its Pixel Fold in. There are already some expected big changes in design, but the changes might be even bigger than expected, literally. According to the latest rumor, the Google Pixel Fold 2’s screens will indeed be bigger, but they will actually be a lot bigger than previously cited, and this change could have significant repercussions for the rest of the foldable phone’s design.

Designer: Google (via Ross Young)

Although foldable phones are marketed as phones that can turn into tablets, the reality is that they can only turn into mini tablets that are even smaller than the iPad mini. This is mostly due to the requirement that these devices should still be usable as normal phones, something that’s actually near impossible if you fold a 10-inch tablet in half. Not unless you can actually fold it in three, which is what Samsung might be doing soon.

In the meantime, however, phone manufacturers have to work within that limitation, and Google will apparently be pushing the boundaries with its second-gen design. According to the newest unofficial information, the Google Pixel Fold 2 will have an external “Cover Screen” size of 6.29 inches and an internal main display of 8.02 inches. Considering the first Pixel Fold had sizes of 5.8 inches and 7.6 inches for those same screens, that’s a rather big jump in terms of screen size. For comparison, the iPad mini has an 8.3-inch screen.

That size increase won’t just be for the sake of bragging, though, as it will definitely affect the usability of the device. Yes, you will be able to enjoy more content or a less cramped space, but that could come at the cost of being bigger to hold in one hand, especially when folded as a phone. There’s also the matter of bezel size, which the Pixel Fold was notorious for. Either way, it won’t be the compact foldable that many people actually loved, so Google might lose some fans but gain others.

Unfortunately, the source didn’t confirm the other two big changes rumored for the Pixel Fold 2, particularly the aspect ratio and especially the camera design. The latter might prove to be the more controversial change for Google’s once-beautiful design, especially if the hardware upgrade doesn’t exactly warrant that change. The screens for the Pixel Fold 2 will reportedly go into production next month, so an announcement won’t be far away.

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