Missed Google’s big keynote? We got you covered.
Google officially commenced its annual developer conference yesterday and saw a plethora of announcements ranging from its new services to hardware. We finally get a glimpse of what Android Q will be like when the final version releases in a few months and even confirmed the new Pixel 3a smartphones that were circulating the interwebs in the past few weeks.
If you missed the keynote last night (you can watch a replay above), here’s a rundown of everything that Google has announced:
Google Apps – A bunch of Google’s apps and services are getting new beefed-up features that should be able to offer more convenience to you as a user. First up is Google Assistant, where the upcoming new version can run 10 times faster, immediately answer questions in real-time, and even includes a new driving mode. This is all done thanks to the machine learning technology that Google has invested in, and will be arriving in future Pixel phones later this year – we’re assuming that’s the Pixel 4.
Google Lens now offers faster translations while Google Duplex for the web can now help complete tasks when using Chrome on your Android device. Along with that, Google Maps now has an Incognito Mode for privacy when searching for places and roaming around and it’s also been updated to include AR walking directions, which is currently exclusive to Pixel smartphones.
Another highlight is Project Euphoria, which is an initiative that will let Google Assistant understand voice recognition from users with speech impairments.
Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL – After weeks of leaks, Google has now officially announced the budget Pixel range with the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL. Both smartphones boast a familiar design aspect similar to its more expensive big brother. The Pixel 3a and the Pixel 3a XL will have a 5.6-inch and a 6-inch display respectively – both are OLED panels with a resolution of 2220-by-1080 pixels.
The lower price (it starts at $399) also means that a few sacrifices have to be made, in this case, the outer material is now made from plastic instead of glass, wireless charging has been removed and both now use a midrange Snapdragon 670 SoC.
The good thing is that these midrange Pixels still have the same camera as the more expensive Pixel 3, meaning that you’ll still get the same excellent photos we’ve come to know from the brand.
Unfortunately, just like previous Google Pixels, the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL are only available in select countries, so you may have to import a unit if you want to use one here in the UAE.
Android Q – Unfortunately the name for Android Q wasn’t revealed yet, but Google showcased some of the new features that are coming on the next Android flavor. Some of these new features include a system-wide dark mode that can be turned from the quick settings panel, new gesture-based navigation similar to iOS and 5G support for future devices.
Also introduced is Project Mainline, where it streamlines Android updates in a way that would only update required modules instead of updating the entire OS. This means that updates will be faster and can be delivered in the background without the need to restart. One thing to note though that this support will only come to smartphones that comes pre-loaded with Android Q, so don’t expect older smartphones to support the feature.
Google also seeded a new developer build of Android Q and has now expanded the beta to other non-Pixel smartphones. Some smartphones where you can try out Android Q include the following:
- Asus Zenfone 5z
- Essential PH-1
- Huawei Mate 20 Pro
- LG G8
- Nokia 8.1
- OnePlus 6T
- Oppo Reno
- Realme 3 Pro
- Sony Xperia XZ3
- Tecno Spark 3 Pro
- Vivo X27
- Vivo NEX S
- Vivo NEX A
- Xiaomi Mi 9
- Xiaomi Mi MIX 3 5G
Nest Hub Max – Google is also rebranding the entire Google Home brand with a new name called Google Nest, with the Google Nest Hub as the first device to feature it. It’s basically a larger Home Hub with a 10-inch and utilizes Google Assistant to deliver information.