Google is about to unleash a whirlwind of product announcements at Google I/O 2023, and we'll be there live in Mountain View, Calif. to cover them all live when the developer conference gets underway today (May 10). But having covered several of these events I'd like to make a prediction.
Everyone will be talking about the Google Pixel Fold. Yes, the Pixel 7a — which is likely to debut this week — sounds like it will be a good value. I also like that Google is thinking outside the box with the Pixel Tablet, which doubles as a smart display thanks to its magnetic speaker dock. And, yes, I'm aware that Google is about to give its search product a major upgrade with AI via Magi and Google Bard.
But it's the Pixel Fold, already confirmed by Google, that has me the most excited about a foldable phones category that has gotten stale. Here's why the Pixel Fold will steal the Google I/O show.
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The Galaxy Z Fold 5 gets real competition
I'm intrigued by the upcoming Motorola Razr 40 Ultra and its larger cover display, but that's a flip design that doesn't excite me. The Google Pixel Fold promises to be a direct challenger to the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5.
It's hard to believe that Samsung hasn't had any real competition in the best foldable phones category when it comes to book-like designs now that the company is nearly five generations in. But I'm still glad Google is making a big push now.
There are other foldables on the way later this year, such as the OnePlus V Fold, but I think Google has a much better shot at taking on the champ.
The world's thinnest foldable
Based on the rumors and leaks up until now, the Pixel Fold is tipped to be the thinnest foldable phone yet. The Pixel Fold reportedly measures 6.2 x 5.5 x 0.22 inches when open, compared to 6.09 x 5.1 x 0.24 inches for the Galaxy Z Fold 5. Having a slimmer design should make the Pixel Fold more comfy to hold over longer sessions, given that both handsets unfurl to reveal large 7.6-inch displays.
Google AI search feels like playing catchup
Since Google is behind Bing with ChatGPT when it comes integrating AI with search, it makes perfect sense that the company is going to unveil a new look for Google Search at Google I/O 2023. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Google is moving away from the wall of blue links and will make AI part of the search experience instead of a separate tool like Google Bard.
The report says we'll see a makeover that's "visual, snackable, personal, and human.” This new format will display AI chatbot conversations, short videos and social-media posts. That all sounds interesting and will likely impact billions, but at this point it just feels inevitable.
Pixel 7a and Pixel Tablet have been leaked to death
I'm all for more hardware at shows like this, but with all the Google Pixel 7a and Pixel Tablet leaks and rumors up until now, I feel like these devices have been on the market for a while already.
Seriously, the Pixel 7a already has a hands-on video that's out there, the Pixel Tablet already popped up on Amazon Japan for a short time. What's left to show or tell about these gadgets? Of the two I'm more excited for the Pixel Tablet because at least Google is trying something different with tablets.
The Pixel 7a is aiming to be one of the best cheap phones under $500 with upgrades that reportedly include a 90Hz display, wireless charging and a better camera system.
Android 14 sounds kind of meh
To be fair, we could learn some exciting new Android 14 features that are consumer-facing during Google I/O, but what we've heard thus far doesn't sound that thrilling. The biggest Android 14 upgrades we've seen so far are a replacement for the password in Passkeys, split ringtone and notification volume sliders and a predictive back gesture. You'll also be able to have app clones so you have two instances of the same app.
But I'm personally interested to see how Android 14 pushes the envelope for bigger screen devices like — you guessed it — the Pixel Fold. Even if it takes months for the new OS to show up on Google's shiny new foldable.