Google announced two new Pixel phones and its latest Pixel smartwatch on Wednesday during its Made by Google event in New York City. The new Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro are Google’s latest attempts to capture a fraction of the market share from Apple’s iPhone.
The Pixel 8 starts at $699, while the Pixel 8 Pro starts at $999. That’s a $100 increase from last year’s Pixel 7 and 7 Pro. The Pixel brand has a small but growing market share, and Google’s hardware business doesn’t drive significant revenue for parent company Alphabet. Of the $74.6 billion in revenue Alphabet reported for the second quarter, for example, $58.14 billion came from Google ads. Another $8 billion was generated by Google Cloud.
The Pixel 8 phones and Pixel Watch 2, which starts at $349, are available to order beginning Wednesday and will hit store shelves on Oct. 12
Here are some of the best new features in Google’s new products.
Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro
The new Pixel 8 and 8 Pro have rounder corners and a flatter display compared to last year’s models. The entry-level Pixel 8 has a better screen with refresh speeds as fast as the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, which means scrolling through websites or playing games will look smoother.
Both the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro run on Google’s new Tensor G3 chip. The G3 is Google’s in-house chip, which allows the company to leverage its artificial intelligence and machine-learning resources in areas like the phone’s camera.
The Pixel 8 Pro includes new AI-powered editing tools. It still has the popular Magic Eraser tool, which allows you to remove unwanted images in photos, but it also has a new photo tool called Best Take. Let’s say you take a series of group photos, Best Take lets you combine similar pictures into one where everyone is looking at the camera and smiling. Google also says it’s improved its Real Tone photography feature to help better represent the nuances of different skin tones.
Audio Magic Eraser allows users to remove unwanted sounds from videos. So, if you’re capturing your kid riding a bike for the first time and a pesky truck is reversing in the background, Audio Magic Eraser allows users to remove that distracting beeping noise.
The Pixel 8 Pro also has a built-in thermometer. It’s marketed as a tool to get the temperature of beverages and cookware by scanning them. It’s not immediately clear what other purpose it might serve.
Google says its G3 Tensor chip will improve call quality and help the phone detect and filter out more spam calls.
The Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro are the first smartphones to launch with Android 14 out of the box.
Pixel Watch 2
One of the most interesting new features is stress tracking. The watch gathers data like your heart rate variability and skin temperature to help detect when you’re under pressure. The device will then make healthy suggestions for you: like going for a walk or trying a guided breathing exercise.
The Pixel Watch 2 also includes improved heart rate tracking and workout detection. It has the same battery life as the original — Google promises up to 24 hours using the always-on display.