Google has announced a slew of announcements relating to new hardware at its I/O developer conference.

The new hardware includes new Pixel smartphones, a Pixel smartwatch, a Pixel tablet, Pixel earbuds, and even new AR glasses.

The expanded hardware portfolio shows the search engine giant is seeking to expand its options beyond its core advertising business, and deepens its competition with tech giant Apple.

Pixel smartphones

For the first time in three years, the I/O developer conference was held in person following two years of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Google revealed three new Pixel smartphones. The first of these is the affordable Pixel 6a smartphone, which has the same Google Tensor processor and hardware security architecture with Titan M2 as the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro.

It includes a raised horizontal camera bump (12 megapixel rear camera, plus ultrawide camera) and a two-tone body, that is found on last year’s Pixel 6 and 6 Pro.

It boasts a 6.1 inch OLED 1080p display.

After criticising Apple for dropping the headphone jack a while back, Google quietly dumped it from Pixel 6A

The Pixel 6a will cost $449 and it is the successor to Google’s Pixel 5A. It will be available for pre-order on 21 July and will begin shipping on 28 July.

Google also took the wraps of its upcoming Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro flagship smartphones.

The firm did not reveal too much details about these new flagship phones, but they are expected to be released in the Autumn.

Pixel Watch

Google also finally announced its long-rumoured wearable device, with the Pixel Watch. This is the first time that Google is to manufacture its own smartwatch, and will result in the tech giant posing a direct challenge to the Apple Watch.

Of course the new wearable will run Google’s WearOS operating system and be compatible with services such as its voice-enabled Google Assistant, Google Maps and Google Wallet.

And it will be integrated with Fitbit, which Google acquired in 2019, which will add a number of activity tracking and fitness features.

This Pixel Watch is also slated for release in the Autumn.

On a separate note, Google also teased a forthcoming ‘premium’ Pixel Tablet device, although details remain patchy and its arrival is not expected in the immediate future.

Pixel Buds Pro

Google’s latest wireless earbuds are slated to arrive on 28 July and are called the Pixel Buds Pro.

They are expected to sell for $199 and feature noise cancellation and long battery life, as would be expected being the pro version.

Last year Google had released the Pixel Buds A-Series that cost just $99.

AR Glasses

The last notable hardware announcement from Google came as something of a surprise, when it showed off its latest AR glasses.

There is no word on when these wearables will be released, and Google was coy about revealing any of the specific features of the glasses, other than one particularly strong augmented reality capability, involving speech recognition.

This essentially allows the AR glass wearer to see (in words on a lense) what another person is saying, when the other person is speaking in a different language.

This could be an incredible development for people visiting foreign countries.

Google offered a video demonstration of AR glasses here.

But Google has been down this route before with the Google Glass, which were eventually killed off after a privacy backlash.

Notable mentions

Besides the hardware announcements, there were a number of notable mentions.

Android 13 is Google next major operating system update and it seems as though it continue to expand privacy and customisation features introduced with Android 12.

Google is also bringing back the Wallet app, as a centralised place to manage payment and credit cards, but it will also keep proof of vaccination cards, room keys, and even government issued IDs, such as drivers licences.

Another noteworthy development is that Google is now using a 10 point skin tone scale that it hopes will make AI less biased – something Google has struggled with of late.

Google is also adding new capabilities to its image search feature, namely Ctrl+F to allow a user to take a picture of an object and search for local results.

For example a person could take a picture of a plate of food and find results locally of suitable restaurants.

One of the final notable mentions was a couple of new features in the Nest Hub Max.

Google can let users talk to the Assistant on the Next Hub Max just be looking directly at the screen, instead of saying ‘Hey Google.’

Google calls this feature ‘look and talk,’ and there is no word yet on whether Google intends to roll this out to other devices.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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