A Foldable Phone, New Tablet, Heaps of AI, and All the Other Launches at Google’s Showcase

Google Pixel

Google has unveiled its first foldable phone, an updated tablet, and new features in Android 14, among other launches, at the keynote of its annual developer conference, Google I/O, on Wednesday, 10 May.

The highlight of the keynote was easily the search giant’s long-awaited foldable phone, called the Pixel Fold. While the keynote announcement didn’t specify the phone’s specs, it’s being reported that the Pixel Folder is shorter than Samsung’s Galaxy X Fold 4, making it easier to hold like a book.

“I feel like the Pixel Fold’s more expansive display feels like it’ll be more comfortable to use one- and two-handed,” writes tech publication Gizmodo.

The foldable will have a camera system comprised of a 50MP lens, 48MP sensor with OIS and f/1.7 aperture, joined by dual 10.8MP cameras, one ultrawide and the other telephoto.

“Pixel Fold has many of the camera experiences you’ve come to expect from a Pixel — from Super Res Zoom with 5x optical zoom, Real Tone, Night Sight and Portrait photography along with pro-level modes from Pixel 7 Pro, such as 10-bit HDR video,” Google’s blog says. “Plus, you can use Magic Eraser and Photo Unblur in Google Photos to help get your pictures looking just right.

Google Pixel
Image: Google

Now is the right time to launch a foldable, Google’s vice president of product management, Brian Rakowski, said via CNET.

“[…] the major problems that have plagued early foldables have largely been resolved, such as software optimisation and getting the design right,” he said. “It’s inherently a more expensive device,” Rakowski said. “So we felt like if people were going to buy a top-of-the-line device, we wanted everything to work well.”

The foldable doesn’t have a launch date in Australia as of yet but will be available in June in the UK, US, Germany and Japan, though pre-orders are now open. It’ll set you back USD $1,700 (AUD $2,507).

Also in the keynote, Google announced Pixel 7a, a more affordable version of its flagship phone. It’ll set you back $749 and is available now in Charcoal, Sea and Snow. The Google Pixel Tablet, its first Android tablet in seven years, will be launched on 20 June in Australia, retailing for $899 (12GB) and $999 (256GB).

Google Pixel
Image: Google

As for the AI developments announced, Google announced more ways to collaborate with its ChatGPT rival, Bard, more immersive Maps and better Search with the help of its generative AI tech.

PaLM 2, which Google calls a “next-generation language model”, is cutting-edge AI that’ll be built into 24 new products and features. It’s a general-purpose AI model, but can also translate between languages, write computer code or even analyse and respond to images, reports The Guardian.

“Combining these capabilities, a user could ask a question in English about a restaurant in Bulgaria, and the system would be able to search the web for Bulgarian responses, find an answer, translate the answer into English, add a picture of the location – and then follow up with a code snippet to create a database entry for the place.”

To read all of Google’s announcements at its I/O keynote, read its blog post here.

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