Google I/0 2023: Android rekindles its relationship with larger screens

Kareem Anderson

Google IO 2023 Pixel Line up

With Google I/O 2023 keynote in the rearview, we’re doing a postmortem on the biggest highlights announced yesterday, and some of the biggest highlights happened during the Pixel hardware roundup towards the end of the event.

While many who are paying attention to the tea leaves and massive leaks knew about many of the details announced during the Pixel portion of the Google I/O keynote yesterday there were still a few that came as a surprise.

Pixel 7a

Starting at $499

Similar to other A-series Pixel devices, the 7a’s design leans on the Pixel 7 before it with the familiar two-tone camera visor, fingerprint sensor, Tensor G2 chip, IP67 water resistance rating, and OLED display. Google shifts up the materials used to achieve its semi-carbon copy look by utilizing thermal-formed polycarbonate to fill in the 6.1-inch frame instead of the aluminum and metal frame of the Pixel 7.

Pixel Fold - Front

Another place Google took some liberties in crafting a feature set to match its lower mid-range price target was with the camera. The camera arraignment is a slight downgrade from the Pixel 7 but still hosts an impressive hi-res 64MP main shooter with a 13MP selfie camera in two with both being able to record in 4K resolution.

Google didn’t mention much about battery life but the company did manage to bring Qi wireless charging support to the Pixel 7a. Early reviews of the 7a say that combined with a smaller screen the 4,385 mAh battery performs as well as the Pixel 7 before it.

The Pixel 7a will ship with Android 13 but be upgraded to Android 14 when available which the company showcased a few new Material You features that include Lock screen widgets, AI generated wallpapers and new AI compose features in Messages.

Pre-orders for the Pixel 7a started right after the keynote with the phone set to ship immediately.

Pixel Tablet

Starting at $499

Once again, Google is going to try its hand at pushing Android as tablet-ready operating system with its first party Pixel Tablet. Announced yesterday during the I/O keynote, Google executives ran down the list of features and use-cases that make the Pixel Table a more unique offering among a sea of Android tablets.

Included in the $499 price tag for the Pixel Tablet is an accompanying charging speaker dock that quickly transforms the tablet into an expensive Nest display.

Pixel Tablet - In hand

Also powered by Google’s Tensor G2 chip the 11-inch Android tablet will have Chromecast built in, pair with other Pixel devices and smart home controls.

Specs include two 8MP cameras on the back and front of the device supporting captures at 1080p resolution, WiFi6, Bluetooth v5.2, Android 13 with 5 years of security updates, 8GBs of LPDD5 memory, and options for 128GB and 256GB storage.

Customers can also opt for the Pixel Tablet Case for an additional $79 which brings a ringed kickstand to the back of the Pixel Tablet or receive a discount on Pixel Buds pro as part of an early deal for the tablet.

Pixel Fold

Starting at $1,799

Perhaps the most anticipated news from Google I/O was confirmed when company executives rolled out the Pixel Fold and confirmed many of the leaked specs and pricing journalists have been mulling over for months.

What we know so far, is that Pixel Fold will ship next month being the among the thinnest foldables available in the US with the following dimensions, 139.7x79x12.1mm when folded and 139.7×158.7×5.8mm when flexed into its tablet mode. While utilizing a new hinge design to achieve its thinness the Fold will still be a relatively heavy phone at 283g which is actually a tiny bit heavier than Samsung’s Galaxy Fold 4 at 263g. The dimensions of the Pixel Fold resemble the Oppo Find N and Surface Duo 2 more than the Samsung Galaxy Fold this time around.

Other Pixel Fold specs include an OLED 5.8-inch outer display with a 7.5-inch inner display both supporting 120Hz refresh rate panels at 2092×1080 resolution. While the Pixel Fold is imploring a new hinge design for its structure, the company is following suit with Samsung and layering an Ultra-Thin Glass protective hard plastic atop the several layers of flexible plastic that make up the inner screen.

More importantly, the Pixel Fold will also be powered by Google’s Tensor G2 chip with 12GBs of memory and either 256 or 512GB of storage available.

The device will have a fingerprint reader onboard as well as an IPX8 water resistance rating allowing it to be submerged in water. Due to the design of the new hinge, the Pixel Fold folds almost completely flat and excess water is allowed to free drain down the hinge because the screen is separated into two parts.

Pixel Fold Open-Closed

Google is looking to bring a similar camera experience as the Pixel 7 to the Pixel Fold with a 48MP main camera paired with a 10.8MP wide-angle lens, and 10.8MP 5x telephoto lens that’s making use of some bending techniques. There are two selfie shooters with the inner one being an 8MP and the one on the front of the screen being a 9.5MP, all capable of 4K resolution shots.

With the phone being released next month, it will ship with Android 13 out of the box but upgraded to Android 14 when available. There are some custom software tweaks the Pixel Fold brings with its version of Android 13 that include a taskbar, drag and drop support and more.

The Pixel Fold does come in at a steep $1,799, but Google is also offering a pair of Pixel Buds Pro for free during the pre-order period.

Unfortunately, there were no updates on the Nest Home Max, Chromebooks or any other Nest displays during the event.