Controversial hot-take: Smart Displays suck. Companies don’t know what they’re doing with them, and their approach feels a lot like they’ve got a solution in search of a problem. No company has successfully flip-flopped on the smart home display issue as much as Google. They acquired Nest, designed a Nest Hub Display, forgot about it a year later, killed the Nexus tablet, forgot about tablets altogether for almost a decade, and then designed the Pixel Tablet as a strange crossover between a tablet and a smart home display. Everyone who’s reviewed it says the same thing – nothing makes sense. Designer Chris Barnes, however, has a better idea… and it borrows directly from an unlikely source of inspiration – the Apple Watch.
Designer: Chris Barnes
Every year, Tim Cook takes the stage at Apple’s main keynote, talking about how the Apple Watch helped save the lives of hundreds if not thousands of people. The watch made a successful impression as a health device, helping detect unusual heartbeats, body temperature, breathing, or even detecting if someone’s fallen. Perpetually strapped to your wrist, the Apple Watch is the perfect ‘guardian angel’ designed within the Cupertino company’s product ecosystem. Google doesn’t have that (yet), but this unique smart home display by Barnes proves to be exactly that. It combines the functionality of the Apple Watch with the large size and usability of a smart home display. Meet the Google OMA concept, an ideal gadget for the elderly or technologically un-savvy to use within their homes.
The Google OMA is an intuitively designed, smart alternative to your average landline and provides an important connectivity experience for elderly people, allowing them to stay in touch with their families. While the Apple Watch does something somewhat similar (allowing you to monitor stats of the elderly wearers for safety’s sake), the Google OMA easily allows both parties to video-call each other whenever possible, providing a video-based communication bridge that’s in line with current technological capabilities.
In essence, the Google OMA is a smart display that’s designed keeping the elderly in mind. Its large screen makes visual elements easy to read and tap, and the circular profile means you’re never holding the Google OMA the wrong way. No matter how you hold it, the circular display orients itself to stay vertical. The Google OMA comes with a curved body that sits on a charging base, and can be un-docked and held in both hands sort of like a cup, allowing elderly people to easily hold their device in a manner that suits them well.
The Google OMA works as a smart personal display rather than just a smart home display, doing the job of a landline, a phone, or an Apple Watch. It sits on a countertop and can be used to play games like sudoku, log in your mood, or contact people using a rotary phone-inspired contact list that just feels familiar. The OMA device can be held in your hand while video chatting, or to your ear for a conventional audio-only experience. It’s designed for people who aren’t used to a lot of new technologies, coming with simple features and functions… and yes, a dedicated home menu also lets you access smart home features, allowing it to do the job of a smart home display too.
What the Google OMA has that the Pixel Tablet doesn’t is clarity of the problem it’s looking to solve. The OMA helps elderly people stay connected with their families, guardians, and friends in an easy, intuitive, and meaningful way. Unlike smart home displays that end up just being glorified screens for album art or the weather, the OMA has a sense of purpose, thanks to a well-defined design brief. Moreover, it allows non-tech consumers to benefit from technology, bringing more people into Google’s ecosystem… and that’s only a good thing.
Dubbed “Design’s Secret Weapon” by Fast Company, Whipsaw’s designs are so ubiquitous they simply can’t be ignored. With over 300 design awards, and nearly a hundred clients comprising the likes of Meta, Google, Samsung, Dell, Ford, Sony, and Peloton, Whipsaw’s work exists across multiple industries, covering the kind of breadth that most design studios only dream of. The studio was founded by Dan Harden in 1999, headquartering in San Francisco, where Whisaw established inroads into what would eventually become the Silicon Valley of the world… However, its impact can be seen across diverse industries including consumer electronics, housewares, computing, robotics, medical, scientific, and commercial products.
This spotlight hopes to capture Whipsaw’s approach to design by chronicling some of its latest work and analyzing the design trends that emerge from them. Whipsaw’s multidisciplinary team of strategists, designers, and engineers work across four categories, covering all aspects of a product journey from research & strategy to industrial design, visual design, and mechanical engineering. In October last year, Harden even announced the formation of the Whipsaw Design Lab (WDL) – a space for designers to truly explore the potential of creative thinking without the constraint of technology, budget, or a ‘client concern’. “WDL has no requirements, clients, timelines, or limits. Just pure Design spelled with a capital D. And most of all, no compromises,” he says.
Created over a period of 3 years, Tonal combines exercise with technology and machine learning to bring the gym trainer to your home. Tonal is a wall-mounted fitness device that offers a unique combination of modern hardware and personalized coaching. Unlike traditional gym equipment that relies on large metal plates and gravity, Tonal uses an electromagnetic resistance engine to provide smooth and precise weight in single-pound increments. This is supplemented by an intelligent touch-sensitive display that acts as your feedback machine, allowing you to measure every ounce of progress as you get through your reps.
The device was a result of a 3-year collaboration between Whipsaw and Tonal. Every aspect of its design was meticulously crafted to ensure optimal performance, durability, and aesthetics. When not in use, Tonal is sleek and unobtrusive, blending seamlessly into any wall. However, when activated, its arms pivot out on vertical columns, allowing for a wide range of exercises, including standing lat pulldowns, low squats, and lateral chest flys. Tonal marks a steady shift in home-based exercise, an emerging trend in the fitness space that also propelled companies like Peloton to fame.
Kabata Smart Weights
Yet another innovation in the fitness space, Kabata smart weights are a revolutionary set of adjustable-weight dumbbells designed for strength training. With just a simple turn of a knob, the weights can be instantly adjusted from 5 to 60 pounds. The weight plates are locked or unlocked together using a hidden camshaft mechanism, allowing you to assemble the desired total weight in 5-pound increments. The Kabata weight handles are equipped with advanced sensors that can detect movement, acceleration, angular velocity, and position, making it easier for you to optimize your workouts. Additionally, the handles feature haptic drivers that vibrate to correct your physical form and motivate you during your workout.
The Kabata isn’t your average pair of weights. The Kabata system is fully connected and comes with a mobile app that incorporates data analytics and predictive AI to automatically adjust the weights for you in tailored workout programs. The app pulls data from the weights to your smartphone, allowing you to access training programs, monitor key performance metrics, and share your workout with your community. This sleek system is a great example of how Whipsaw aims at modernizing a conventional product category by relying on bleeding-edge technology to truly uplift a product’s UX.
Tile Bluetooth Trackers
Creating a Bluetooth Tracker isn’t easy when it’s an absolutely new category. Tile’s first devices were sold in 2013, giving it a significant edge over other trackers like the AirTag, which came nearly 8 years later. This meant pretty much starting with an entirely blank page, which was the challenge for Whipsaw and Tile. The companies have been close collaborators ever since, working on all the newer SKUs like the Mate, Sticker, Slim, Pro, and Ultra. Each Tile device offers a greatly increased finding range of up to 400 feet, a louder ring, and voice-enabled finding through Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. “We designed these trackers in several form factors with optional attachment methods in order to fit every use case, whether attached to a key chain, in a wallet, or directly adhered to your favorite items,” say the folks at Whipsaw. “There are many design improvements from our previous 2018 line, including smaller dimensions, lighter weight, and softer forms that feel great in the hand.” Tile was recently awarded #5 on Fast Company‘s list of Most Innovative Companies 2021.
Google Trekker Backpack for Google Earth
Google’s Trekker backpack is a mapping device that works in tandem with Street View, Google Maps, and Google Earth. It captures and creates interactive maps of locations that are inaccessible to vehicles, such as nature trails, iconic landmarks like Machu Picchu, and crowded city centers. The Trekker is a valuable tool for cartographers due to its unique mobility, and it is currently being used to document some of the world’s most magnificent places for everyone to learn about and enjoy. It’s even spawned a sub-culture of travelers committed to revealing new frontiers and sharing their experiences with the global community.
The backpack is an all-in-one system that includes a 360-degree camera array, two positioning LIDARS for mapping terrains, a computer with heat sink cooling, and two hot-swap batteries. For Whipsaw, the challenge was to create a portable solution that was waterproof, highly durable, and worked seamlessly. Additionally, it was also prudent to make the Trekker backpack comfortable for extended wear time, ensuring it was well-balanced, lightweight, and easy to put on and take off.
Koda AI Robot Dog
In 2018, Whipsaw was approached by KODA Inc. to collaborate on a project integrating their fusion multi-processor and AI-based software. The result was the KODA Robot Dog, the first high-end domestic robot dog to run on a decentralized blockchain network. Equipped with an 11 teraflop processor capable of A.I. machine-learning, the KODA Robot Dog relied on a hive-mind of sorts to optimize its behavior. It even sported four 3-dimensional surround-view cameras and 14 motors, including in the neck and tail, giving it dog-like gestural qualities. By sharing data with other KODA dogs on the network, the robot was able to learn from experiences it had never encountered before. For example, a KODA dog in Phoenix could learn how to avoid slipping on ice by receiving knowledge from other KODAs based in colder climates like Anchorage, Alaska, or Toronto, Canada. Whipsaw’s design ensured that the KODA Robot Dog retained a friendly, cute demeanor despite its incredible capabilities.
Bear Robotics Servi Food Service Robot
Sort of like a Roomba for hospitality, the Servi automates table-waiting with its unique design that’s built to help with restaurant workflows by both delivering food to tables and clearing the tables at the end of a meal. When guests arrive, Servi promptly welcomes them with a friendly voice and courteous gestures. Customers can easily place their order with Servi, who then transmits it directly to the kitchen. Once the order is prepared, Servi is equipped with one of her two top platforms to efficiently deliver the food to the designated table. While navigating, Servi adeptly avoids any individuals or obstacles in her path. After the meal, diners can conveniently place their dishes in Servi’s bottom bin as she returns to the table.
Whipsaw considered every type of restaurant environment while developing Servi’s custom design—from cramped and crowded rooms to gleaming banquet halls with spotless interiors—and made her as safe, quiet, and washable as possible. “We also packed a ton of technology into her small footprint so she never gets in the way,” the company says.
We’ve covered a fair number of projectors on YD, and UHT projectors seem to overwhelmingly be the future of the technology. They require no distance from your projection surface, and are capable of vivid, highly detailed imagery, while also projecting audio from in front of you to match the visuals. Hisense and Whipsaw worked extensively to develop a line of UHT projectors with timeless beauty, quality materials, unique form, and exquisite detailing. “Throughout this project, our primary goals were to innovate on product configurations that would be compact enough to compete with standard TVs and to create aesthetic solutions that would excite internal stakeholders and ultimately end-users,” say the Whipsaw team.
PacBio Revio Sequencing System
Proving that there’s really no industry that can’t benefit from Whipsaw’s approach to design innovation, the company worked with PacBio to help design Revio – a gene sequencing system that can be utilized for various purposes such as human genetic analysis, cancer research, and agricultural genomics. The Revio has the capability to sequence up to 1,300 whole human genomes annually for less than $1,000 per genome. Whipsaw collaborated with PacBio to create a new user interaction model and a stunning industrial design for the instrument, which includes an intuitive user interface.
Revio’s bold monolithic design creates an impression of solid reliability, sophistication, and cutting-edge tech. Meanwhile, the black towering box comes with a hint of color, tying in with PacBio’s own visual branding. “Every detail was meticulously crafted for perfection, from the single sheet of back-painted Gorilla glass on the sliding door to the Bugatti-inspired woven wire ventilation grill. The fit and finish are exemplary, with premium materials and textures throughout.”
The long-anticipated Google Pixel 7A smartphone has now been officially introduced at the I/O 2023 annual developer conference’s keynote event. Keeping in mind the competitive landscape with strong contenders such as Galaxy A54 5G and OnePlus 11R. Google had to offer something compelling and that’s what they’ve done with the new value-oriented Pixel smartphone.
The device is hard to distinguish from the Pixel 7 that was released last fall with its aluminum camera island and metallic side rails. Only if one notices closely, the camera bump on this one is a bit thinner. Most importantly the new release is quite a few levels increment over the Pixel 6A and that too at a $100 lower price bracket. Along with this Google also announced the Pixel Fold and Pixel Tablet at the event, so quite a lot to look forward to for prospective buyers.
For starter, the Pixel 7A has a 90Hz refresh rate screen option for a smoother user experience. A very common complaint that Pixel 6A users and critics shouted out loud since it is a basic feature nowadays. The device also comes with wireless charging capability and face unlock feature that should lure more buyers into the Google ecosystem.
Another added perk is the presence of Tensor G2 processor that also powers the guts of the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro flagship costing $599 and $899 (unlocked version) respectively. That means the Pixel 7A will have same software trickery up its sleeve like voice-to-text, image Real Tone processing and Photo Unblur features.
The phone gets IP67 water and dust resistance rating and the 6.1-inch 1080p OLED display gets Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection. This size is just right for small-handed people as compared to the 6.3-inch Pixel 7. The camera setup on the smartphone is impressive as predicted with a 64MP primary sensor and a 13MP ultrawide shooter. Pixel devices are known for their camera prowess and 7A ups the ante with a higher resolution than the Pixel 7. The front-facing camera is also better with 13MP resolution.
The 128GB storage and 8GB of RAM could have got any other variant in 256GB configuration but we aren’t complaining. Google bringing many premium features at a lesser price tag of $499 to its devices is a clear sign it wants to compete for the bigger chunk of the market.
Perhaps save for the Apple iPad Pro and its equivalent Samsung Galaxy Tab S, there are still some people who are not yet sold on what a tablet is for. Some simply see it as a larger phone, which has become less relevant these days thanks to larger phones and foldables. Others treat them like the next step from laptops, at least those that are powerful enough or can run the apps they need. Most, however, probably still can’t find a purpose or even a need for a tablet in their lives, so Google is trying to provide yet another possible answer. With its new Pixel Tablet, it’s practically saying that devices are meant to stay at home to keep you company and keep you connected to other people without ever having to step outside.
If you were looking for the next step in the evolution of tablets, especially in design, you might come off very disappointed with the new Google Pixel Tablet. Compared to the likes of the iPad Pro or the Microsoft Surface Pro, the 11-inch Google tablet seems almost nondescript and might even look too plain. It meets Google’s intended purpose for the tablet, though, which is to never leave home and to almost stay attached to its speaker stand.
Together, the Pixel Tablet and its Charging Speaker Dock do make a minimalist couple that would actually look at home in your, er, home. If the basic design language of muted colors and fabrics seems familiar, it’s because it’s the same language that the Google Nest family of smart home devices speaks. In fact, the Pixel Tablet and the Nest Hub Max look almost too identical, except for the fact that you can detach the Pixel Tablet when you want to watch a video more comfortably.
Therein lies the purpose of the Pixel Tablet, which despite its name, is really meant more to be a Smart Home Display with a detachable display. You can use it to control your smart appliances, whether via touch or voice, and you can use it to chat with others on a screen larger than your phone. But when you want to sit back and binge or play games, you simply detach the tablet and carry on.
In any other context, especially outdoors, the Pixel Tablet would look almost boring, though thankfully, it isn’t as plain inside as you might expect. When it comes to hardware specs, Google didn’t really hold back in giving the Pixel Tablet much-needed power. The screen is a bright 2560×1600 LCD panel, and the entire party is run by a Tensor G2 processor, accompanied by 8GB of RAM. The Charging Speaker Dock has a 43.5mm full-range speaker inside and can charge the tablet through pogo pins at a maximum 15W rate.
The Google Pixel Tablet is now available for pre-order for $499, and it fully launched on 20. You can’t buy the tablet alone, but, amusingly, you can buy just the dock for $120 in case you need extras around the house. While the Pixel Tablet’s design and purpose might sound underwhelming compared to the competition, it definitely has some muscle to make it useful for more than just home use. Perhaps more importantly, its arrival comes with Google’s commitment to really push for developers to make Android apps work better on larger screens, a commitment that will hopefully last beyond the lifetime of this device.
It’s fascinating to see how mobile devices constantly evolve year after year, providing users with a broader range of options to suit their needs. The Google Pixel Fold is a perfect example of this, as it combines smartphone and tablet technology to push the boundaries of innovation in the Android market. Foldable smartphones have risen in recent years, and Google is finally getting into the game with the Pixel Fold. This device offers a versatile form factor that seamlessly transitions between folded and unfolded states, meeting the demands of users who want the best of both worlds, powered by the rawest form of the Android operating system.
The Pixel Fold has an exceptionally proven camera system that takes full advantage of its distinct design, providing a smooth experience on both screens. The phone’s rear camera has a 10.8 MP ultrawide lens, a 48 MP primary camera, and a 5X telephoto lens. Additionally, the inner camera has an 8 MP lens.
The Tensor G2 and Android, combined with AI, make the Pixel Fold a powerful phone that transforms into a compact tablet. When folded, it reveals a slim 5.8-inch front display that easily fits in your pocket, making it the thinnest foldable on the market.
Experience a larger-than-typical smartphone display with the Pixel Fold. Simply unfold it to reveal a spacious 7.6-inch screen. Its custom 180-degree fluid friction hinge ensures a flat and crease-free display. Plus, the Corning Gorilla Glass Victus provides scratch resistance, and its IPX8 water-resistant design safeguards it against the elements.
The Pixel Fold is incredibly slim, with a thickness of only 0.5 inches. When closed, it measures 3.1 inches in width and 5.5 inches in height. Once it is unfolded, its overall size is 6.2 inches. Amazingly, it only weighs 10 ounces.
Despite its size, this device’s battery is smaller than its competitors and other Pixel phones, with only 4821 mAh. However, Google assures users of a battery life of more than 24 hours or up to 72 hours with Extreme Battery Saver mode on. Unfortunately, the fast charging feature requires a separate purchase of a 30W USB-C charger.
As a globetrotter, one feature I’m most excited to try out is the dual-screen interpreter mode for real-time translation and all the personal AI features expected from a Pixel device, including safety speech and call assist. This is also an excellent entertainment device, with a “tabletop mode” for optimized video playback and the ability to switch displays within an app.
You can now place a preorder for the Pixel Fold, which will be shipped next month. As a bonus, if you preorder, you can receive a free Pixel Watch. The Pixel Fold is a high-end device that Google has put a lot of effort into creating. It starts at $1,799 for the 256 GB model and goes up to $1,919 for the 512 GB model, which is only available in Obsidian. However, the Porcelain model only comes with 256GB and is exclusively sold in the Google Play store.
Considering that the Pixel Fold is a first-generation device, the cost charged by Google better come with a long-lasting build. We’re excited to test out the design and usability of the device once we get our hands on it.
Google has just officially confirmed something that has long been leaked almost to death. With its entry into the foldable phone competition, Google has pretty much validated a device category that manufacturers have started taking seriously, but consumers are still wary of. The Pixel Fold isn’t exactly proof of a successful and thriving niche market, but it is at least an indication that the Android maker is taking it seriously. There are still many variables that could make or break Google’s first stab at a foldable phone, but here are some of the design decisions that the Pixel Fold needs to follow or avoid to survive in this exciting but risky endeavor.
5 Ways the Pixel Fold will Fly
Samsung might be the leading brand in foldables, but its design isn’t exactly the best in class, especially with the Galaxy Z Fold line that hasn’t changed its basic shape since it first debuted. Disregarding technical considerations like the hinge design and the foldable display panel itself, the biggest design complaint people have is that the device is difficult to use as a regular phone when folded shut.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
OPPO Find N2
The Pixel Fold will seemingly join the likes of the OPPO Find N2 with an external display aspect ratio that is closer to the norm compared to the tall and narrow Galaxy Z Fold 4. Although it does make the device a bit more squarish when unfolded, this design means that the Pixel Fold will be more usable as a regular phone when folded. That will also make the device more approachable to people that do still use their smartphones as phones rather than just miniature tablets.
Foldable phones, by their very nature, are head-turners already, and some brands seem to leave things at that. While the foldable display is definitely novel, the rest of the phone sometimes ends up being lackluster. With few exceptions, foldable phone designs have simply followed that of their non-folding siblings, making them almost visually indistinguishable from regular phones when they’re folded shut.
The Pixel Fold is bringing something fresh, a trait that it inherited from the current Pixel phone design. While not exactly identical to the “visor” of the Pixel 7, it still carries that distinct horizontal camera bump that you won’t see on any other brand these days. It isn’t trying to mimic the look of a digital camera or any other device and stands proudly on its own with a quirky design that could appeal to a wide range of people, especially younger audiences.
Foldable phones have the image of being fragile luxury items, mostly because of how the first generation of devices lived and died with the slightest accidents. A lot has changed over the years, but that stereotype remains, especially since few of these phones can even boast of the same durability as normal handsets. Where dust and water resistance is common among premium devices, it’s still a rarity among all foldables save those made by Samsung.
Of the many foldables in the market, only Samsung is able to boast of an IPX8 rating. It might be thanks to its hinge, which, unfortunately, still causes a more visible crease. Google could easily one-up the competition with this much-sought-after assurance. It had more time to cook in the oven, so it has little excuse not to get this basic feature down right from the start.
Pixel Perfect Photography
Although not exactly dismal, foldable phones aren’t exactly up there when it comes to photography performance. There is just so much you can cram in such a thin device, and most of the build costs will go toward the R&D and implementation of the hinge and display technologies. That makes foldables less ideal for one of the most important uses for phones these days: taking photos and videos.
This is where Google’s special sauce comes in. Ever since the first Pixel phone, Google has been doing magic with its computational photography, producing astounding results even with what some would consider sub-par imaging sensors. That said, the first teaser for the Pixel Fold hints at a competent array of cameras, including what could be a periscope telephoto shooter. With both hardware and software, Google could possibly pull off a foldable phone that shutterbugs would absolutely love.
Premiere Android Experience
Google isn’t the oldest or biggest phone manufacturer in the market, but the reason that its Pixel phones sell well is because of the software experience it offers. Android is long past its teenage years, but some of its flaws linger around. Although they do offer some added value, custom vendor skins and experiences come with a lot of bloat that creates problems across the board.
It does have its own set of proprietary and exclusive bits, but the Pixel experience is the closest you’ll get to an unadulterated Android experience as envisioned by Google. For the Pixel Fold, we’ll finally see Google’s interpretation of what a foldable phone is supposed to be and do in a way that’s not burdened by bloatware or hampered by late or sporadic updates.
5 Ways the Pixel Fold will Fold
Although Google has nearly perfected its Android phone experience, it hasn’t seriously dabbled outside that category. Sure, it knows about tablets, but its attitude to these large slates has been anything but supportive. The Pixel tablet may be a sign of the changing times, but that only means that Google is only now acknowledging a device it has long tried to ignore.
A foldable is a cross between a phone and a tablet, and it would be completely uncharted territory for Google. Sure, it actually worked with Samsung on some of the features that would be hidden in Android for years, but it’s one thing to work on things behind closed doors and quite another thing to have a finished commercial product. Hopefully the Pixel Fold won’t feel half-baked like Google’s first attempts to support tablets back in Honeycomb and Nexus days.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
Unlike a smartphone or tablet, a foldable phone would need some special attention from developers to get right. Although it’s definitely possible for apps to work as is without modification, the experience wouldn’t be comfortable and may sometimes even break, depending on how well they conform to Android app guidelines.
Even years after major brands like Samsung have been launching foldable phones, only a few apps have taken advantage of this unique form factor. Then again, some apps still don’t support tablets at this point in time. Google will definitely need to do some nudging to get developers to take note, especially those with popular names on phones or tablets.
Despite their popularity, Pixel phones are not that easy to come by, especially if you live outside the US and EU. The global coverage of Google’s products is still relatively small compared to the network of the likes of Samsung or even OPPO. The Pixel Fold might have an even shorter reach, limited to a few markets that Google would consider “major.”
It’s almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy because sales of such a limited device will definitely be small. Furthermore, it won’t have a chance to be tested by a lot more people, people who could provide important feedback on how to improve the product. It might not be a surprise, then, if Google announces later on that the Pixel Fold is a commercial failure and axes it after just a single generation.
TECNO PHANTOM V Fold
Despite their growing numbers, many people still aren’t convinced there’s ever a need for foldable phones. Most of that is probably due to how expensive and fragile these devices are. More screen space and more productivity have been the common tag lines for foldables, but those might not be the only ways to sell the design.
Google definitely needs to work on how it sends its message across effectively, and it might actually have a bit of trouble pulling that off on its first try. It took almost six generations for Google to make a hit Pixel phone design and a marketing strategy that revolved around creating a personal connection with one’s smartphone. It could try that same strategy with the Pixel Fold, but a clamshell-type foldable might be a better fit for a lifestyle device like the Pixel 6 and Pixel 7.
Google Pixel 7
At the end of the day, however, the biggest hindrance to the market embracing the Pixel Fold wholeheartedly is, ironically, Google itself. While the tech giant is famous for its ideas and products, it is equally notorious for killing them off suddenly as well. Google’s past attitude towards Android devices outside of smartphones might not spark much confidence, so it isn’t going to be a surprise if people approach it with some hesitation.
The age of smartphones being one-off novelties is long over. People buy these essential devices with some expectations not only about their longevity but also about their future options. If there is no or little assurance that Google will carry the Pixel Fold forward to future iterations, they might be less willing to invest in an expensive product that might not live beyond the first generation.
Most smartphone companies try to keep their flagship products (or any product really) under wraps in the hopes of a big reveal on the day of its launch. Not Google. If you politely ask them, they’ll just leak their own design to you like they did with the Pixel 4 back in 2019. Or maybe they’ll pre-emptively announce phones 6 months too soon like they did with the Pixel 7’s design during last year’s I/O. This time, it seems Google didn’t even WAIT for I/O, and decided to just casually drop the Pixel Fold announcement on Twitter. Set for a May 10 release, the Fold is Google’s first foray into the foldables market, following mostly Asian companies like Samsung, Huawei, Oppo, Xiaomi, and Motorola. The design is exactly what we’re expecting, following the book-shaped folding format seen on the Galaxy Z Fold series from Samsung. There’s no official word on any of the details and specs, although this short 8-second video tells us a lot about what to expect. It’s got over 200K views so far, although whether that translates to sales is an entirely different argument.
Images of the Pixel Fold leaked earlier this week as prominent leakster Evan Blass shared them on Twitter. While these renders gave a pretty detailed view of the Pixel Fold’s design and even its screen layout and software elements, the confirmation finally came from Google’s team today as they shared the most comprehensive look at the phone yet. The 8-second video above shows a stunning-looking foldable with a dual-screen, 3-lens camera bump, and what feels like the slimmest hinge on any foldable yet.
The Pixel Fold’s interior screen features a slim black bezel, rather than an edge-to-edge display. The folding screen appears to have Android widgets and user interface elements that have been optimized for the larger screen size. It’s likely that the adaptive Android elements will be showcased during the Pixel Fold’s reveal.
It’s important to note, however, that foldable phones typically come with a higher price point than traditional smartphones. While Google has yet to release any official information on the price or specs of this device, it’s safe to assume that it will be significantly more expensive than their non-folding Pixel models.
While the public response to foldables in general has been incredibly tepid globally (folding phones seem to have only truly breached Asian markets), the reactions on Twitter seem overwhelmingly positive, as users are falling in love with the short snippet. Fair warning, though… rendered videos are never an indication of what a product will actually look like. The Pixel 7, although glamorous online, has shown signs of wear and tear with parts of the metallic casing of the camera bump being subject to scuffs, scratches, and even dents. At the end of 2022, some Pixel 7 users also reported that the glass in front of their camera lens randomly shattered without any warning. We’re yet to see what the Pixel Fold turns out like – so far we have no details aside from a launch date and a sign-up page on Google’s store webfront.
Although Google has not yet officially confirmed the release of its foldable smartphone, there have been numerous leaks and rumors about the Google foldable phone, supposedly called the Pixel Fold, which could look something like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold series.
Google is almost certainly going to launch the Pixel 7a at Google I/O 2023 on May 10. There are no two ways about it. According to recent reports, the search engine giant could also release its foldable smartphone at the event with June as the likely launch date.
Mock-up renders of the Pixel Fold have been polluting the internet for quite some time now. But it’s only now that the first images of what appear to be official renders of the Pixel Fold have been shared on Twitter by reliable leakster Evan Blass.
These almost real render images of the much-anticipated Google Pixel Fold provide us with a clearer idea of what the device may look like. The images show both the folded and unfolded forms of the phone, suggesting that the Pixel Fold could have a remarkably thin hinge with a small gap between the two halves.
In comparison to the other foldable devices currently available, the Pixel Fold appears to be very slim. Further, Evan’s tweet reveals the Pixel Fold is 5.5 inches tall and measures half and inch thick when folded; when unfolded the phone is only 0.2 inches thick. Featuring a 9.5MP front camera with an 84-degree field of view, the phone would have an additional 8MP camera on the inside.
While these images are not official, Evans is known for his accurate leaks, making it highly likely that the Pixel Fold will look similar to what we see in these renders. It is expected with IPX8 water resistance in Obsidian or Porcelain for almost $1,799.
Every year means new iterations of your favorite phones from the likes of Apple, Samsung and Google, so you might be tempted to upgrade to your handset. But with some new phones costing over $1,000, keeping up with the latest and greatest can really take a toll on your wallet. So why not offset the cost by putting your old device up for sale? If you’re wondering which trade-in service will yield you the biggest bang for your buck, and how easy it will be, we have answers to those questions (and more). We've rounded up some of the leading contenders for offloading your old electronics. It’s not just phones, either — perhaps you have an old laptop that isn't quite cutting it anymore, or maybe you've got some other stuff sitting in the closet collecting dust.
If you're looking for the littlest hassle and want your money as soon as possible, there are plenty of sites that will automate the trade-in process. You'll select your device from a list, get a quote within minutes and send the device back for cash in a matter of days.
Decluttr definitely lives up to its name. Not only can you sell phones from a number of manufacturers, including Apple, Samsung and Google, but the site also takes lots of physical media, including CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays, video games and books. For devices, you'll be asked for a general assessment of its condition, and given a quote immediately. Once you complete your order the site will send you a free shipping label. Decluttr also will accept handsets as old as the iPhone 6S, though it'll offer you only $7 for a 16GB model in good condition.
uSell operates as a broker, searching other sites for their best offers on a given device and taking care of the rest. Like most buyback sites, it's big on iPhones, but you can still sell off other manufacturers' devices; it really depends on who's buying them at that point. The selection is a bit of a grab bag — newer phones like the Galaxy S21 aren't listed, though you can get a quote for the iPhone 11 ($210 for an unlocked, “flawless” 64GB model). Once you complete your order the site will send you a free shipping kit to send out your phone, and you can get paid for the item via PayPal, Venmo or an old fashioned check.
If you don't want to have to worry about packaging up your old device and mailing it off, or would like to receive your payout right away, there's always ecoATM. It's literally there in the name: an automated machine that you place your device into and it examines the handset and pays you on the spot. It accepts the biggest brands (i.e., Apple, Google and Samsung), along with devices from a wide variety of manufacturers, including LG, Motorola and ZTE. If the machine determines that your device isn't worth anything at all, you can still use ecoATM to responsibly recycle your old gadget. You'll find ecoATM kiosks in Walmart and Kroger locations, as well as malls and check cashing stores across the country.
While browsing Amazon listings, it’s likely you’ve come across products marked as “refurbished.” Well, if you’ve ever wondered where those come from, a lot of them likely hail from Amazon’s trade-in program. The company will put its own products, like Kindle readers and Fire tablets front and center, but you can also send in phones and gaming products in for an Amazon gift card as well. It’s not great if you want cash, but if you’re looking to upgrade an Amazon device this option is your best bet, as trading in an older one also nets you a 25 percent discount in addition to the store credit. You’ll need to print out a shipping label, or you can drop off your electronics at select Amazon Locker or Whole Foods locations.
This is a good option if you’re looking to upgrade to a newer Apple device. You can trade in iPhones, iPads, Macs and even Apple Watches. That’s notable as wearables are a category you don’t often see on trade-in sites. Apple will even take your old Android phone if you were thinking of making the switch. The trade-in values are on par with other sites, but you can get a smaller payout in the form of a gift card instead if you’d rather wait before making a new purchase, want to put it toward media purchases or even just use it in an Apple Store. Which, by the way, also accepts trade-ins in case you’re not comfortable shipping your old but still expensive device.
The nice thing about It’sWorthMore is that its on-site forms handle a larger variety of gadgets than other sites, incorporating companies such as Microsoft, AMD and even GoPro in addition to standards like Apple, Samsung and Google. You’ll answer a few standard questions about your device’s condition and whether you still have the original box — obviously, the more you’ve kept from the original packaging, the better. You’ll then get a ballpark estimate of its worth and a prepaid shipping label to print out. Once your device is received you’ll generally get the assessment and payment via check, PayPal, Venmo or Zelle within two to three business days.
The appeal of BuyBackWorld is that device assessment is a streamlined process: Instead of having to answer a barrage of detailed questions for your device you give it a general assessment and let the site handle the rest. Just like with It’sWorthMore, BuyBackWorld will provide a printable shipping label in your confirmation email but, if you don’t have a printer or boxes to pack your device up, you can always have the site send you a free shipping kit, which can handle everything the site takes except desktop computers.
If you’ve read through the other site descriptions, GadgetGone’s modus operandi should be familiar: To sell a product, you’ll have to answer a few questions about what type of device you have and what condition it’s in, after which the site will generate a prepaid shipping label. At least here you can find brands like OnePlus included among the options, and you can also sell MacBooks and Mac Minis here. You can get paid a number of ways, too, including PayPal, virtual VISA card, Amazon and Target gift cards or just good old fashioned bank transfer.
Sometimes you need your money right now, or just don't want to trust your device to the vagaries of various shipping companies. There are a few nationwide retailers that accept trade-ins for cash or store credit. Additionally, wireless carriers like Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint will all give you credit toward a new phone.
Best Buy also offers trade-ins both by mail and in-store — with more than 1,000 locations, this might be extremely convenient for you. You fill out the form online and bring that to customer service. It's easy, but there's one big downside: You can get your payout only via a Best Buy gift card. This is great if you spend a lot of money with them anyway, but less good if you really need cash.
GameStop is infamous for buying games back at ridiculously low prices and flipping them at near retail, but don't let that stop you from making some easy cash when you need to quickly clear your closet of old electronics and games. And yes, I said cash: GameStop offers store credit, a Visa prepaid card or actual money if you want to take your bounty elsewhere. For example, you can trade in Animal Crossing for the Switch and get $22 in store credit or $18 cash, which isn't bad when new copies are going for $48 on Amazon. GameStop also accepts phones, tablets and Apple Watches, though the prices aren't going to match what you'd get from an online trade-in site.
Consumer to consumer
Sometimes you prefer to cut out the middleman and get a bit more personal — a transaction where you're selling your device directly to another person instead of letting a faceless site flip it for you as a "refurbished" unit. In those cases, you want a site that's more user-to-user, though a few will still automate certain bits to make your sale as smooth as possible.
Swappa is a marketplace site, which means sellers can set their own price. So if you're getting rid of a newer phone, this is probably the best way to go — the iPhone 13 fetches around $515, for example. That's a huge improvement over what you'd get selling through a site like Decluttr, which is offering only $422 for a 128GB unit.
When shopping on Amazon, you've probably been tempted by some of those marketplace deals in the past and, chances are, if you list an item on there, someone will give your old device a look. Since almost everyone on earth seems to have an Amazon account, your potential customer base is huge, and it costs only $0.99, plus a percentage based on category, to sell an item through the site. The downsides are that Amazon isn't really optimized for individual sales; you'll be competing with wholesale companies and even bots that will tweak the price of a product automatically in response to the competition.
eBay is sort of the Wild West of sales sites, but the biggest advantage is that you can sell anything there and hopefully find a buyer, regardless of how old a product is. Even so, the site has come a long way in the past decade or so, adding structured categories that can help lead customers to your product. For phones, you can search by network, color or storage capacity, and even filter for features like 4K video or fingerprint sensors.
In the end, it still works as it always did: You list a product and set an end date for the listing with a minimum price, or just set a "Buy It Now" price if you don't want to wait to see how an auction turns out. Chances are you already have an eBay account with a feedback score, so there's no extra setup required on your part. Your first 250 listings are free every month, and you'll pay up to 15 percent of the purchase price only if an item sells. The biggest downside is that you're competing with a lot more sellers, and chances are there's always someone willing to undercut you on price.
Ultimately, the site you go with should be whatever's most useful and convenient, but if you just care about how much money you'll end up with, we've priced out a few recent flagship handsets just to give you an idea of what each site offers. We've also thrown in the Nintendo Switch, because it might be time to sell yours off and finally upgrade to an OLED model.
All phone prices are for the lowest storage capacity, usually 128GB. The prices are for the unlocked models when available, or the carrier where it's being traded. These prices were valid the day this post was written, but they fluctuate daily or, in the case of sites like Amazon and eBay, hourly.
Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
Google Pixel 6
$291 cash / $364 credit
$131 cash / $164 credit
$80 cash / $100 credit
If you were looking to sell some games, we've also got a shorter list, because not every site accepts trade-ins. GameStop will offer you more money than what's listed below if you're a member of its Elite or Elite Pro programs.
Elden Ring (Xbox)
Horizon Forbidden West (PS5)
Pokémon Legends Arceus (Switch)
$11 cash / $14 credit
$13 cast / $16 credit
$14 cash / $17 credit
Once you've picked a site and listed your item, there are a few important things to remember before you ship off your device. The most important, when disposing of a phone or laptop or any other device containing personal data, is to do a full factory reset. That also means turning off "Find My iPhone" and the activation lock on iOS devices. See if you can unlock the phone, too; you'll actually get more money selling it carrier-free. And finally, make sure you've backed up any important data you may have, like contact info, game saves and, of course, photos. Cash is great, but it won't save your memories.
Images: Mike Blake / Reuters (ecoATM); Alamy (Gamestop); Getty Images for eBay (eBay)
This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/where-to-sell-used-electronics.html?src=rss