Google I/O 2022 Announces New Pixel Products

Google I/O is an annual developers conference that discusses Google products and projects in the pipeline. The last couple of events were derailed by COVID-19, but for 2022, the 2-day event will be held in person at Mountain View, CA. The event is kicked off with a two-hour keynote led by CEO, Sundar Pichai. Here were the product announcements we were most excited to hear about:

Pixel 6a

The Pixel 6a will be the next phone released by Google. Following the success of the Pixel 6 line, the Pixel 6a is predictably announced at the half-year mark as with every other a-series phone since the Pixel 3a. The Pixel 6a will cost $449 and available for preorder on July 21. It will house the same Tensor chip as the 6/6 Pro, so the performance is already expected to reach flagship levels. Of course with the Pixel 6a as the budget line, there will be some tradeoffs. These tradeoffs look to be: a 12 MP camera sensor versus 50 MP on the 6/6 Pro flagships, 60 Hz screen refresh versus 90/120 Hz, lesser RAM at 6 GB versus 8/12 GB, and a slightly smaller screen and battery.

Pixel 6a is the new bang for buck leader.

Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro

These future flagships were quickly teased as coming in Fall 2022, per the usual Google Pixel release cycle. The 7 Pro will retain a triple camera setup like the 6 Pro. A new Tensor SoC will also be used, but specifications were not disclosed.

Pixel 7 Pro teaser touts its 3 camera system.

Pixel Buds Pro

These will be the first truly wireless buds from Google with active noise cancellation. They were announced as having 11 hours listening time, and 7 hours with noise cancellation. One notable feature is that a single missing earbud will be located via Google Find My Phone. The Pixel Buds Pro will be releasing Summer 2022.

At $199, the Pixel Buds looks to rival the Airpods Pro price point.

Google Pixel Watch

The Pixel Watch has been teased for many years as the natural complement to Google’s successful Pixel phone line. Fans were eagerly awaiting an announcement in February 2017 but instead were greeted with an LG/Google watch collaboration called the LG Watch Sport and LG Watch Style. Suffice to say, these watches never delivered the promised seamless integration. The lack of development for WearOS was also partly to blame, with Apple’s WatchOS taking more than a 5 to 1 market share over the Google system. Hopefully, things change when the Pixel Watch is launched with the Pixel 7 in Fall 2022.

Pixel Watch glass dome looks a bit breakable from this angle.

Google Pixel Tablet

An even quicker tease was the 2023 Pixel Tablet. Google is looking to reenter the tablet market from its last product, the 2015 Pixel C. A first look shows us the look of a tablet from 2016 with a plastic-looking back and a medium-sized bezel. A single back camera is in the corner position, while the front camera is centered top in landscape orientation. I am not sure how much slack to give Google from such a generic presentation, but as a quick teaser, maybe there’s more than meets the eye here.

This tablet form factor looks very similar to the Google Nest products.

Google Wallet

Everything mentioned regarding Google Wallet was nothing really new until we got to one notable announcement. It seems Google is working with a couple of states to digitize driver licenses to work with Google Wallet, though they did not say which states. Apple Wallet has taken the lead in this feature with active development for Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Oklahoma, and Utah. Google seems to be playing catch up, but for those of us that haven’t sold our souls to Apple, just know there will be another buyer soon.


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