What is the Next Google Phone?
A slew of new features are coming to the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, thanks to a revamped in-house Google (GOOG) G3 Tensor processor. You can expect AI to be behind everything from call screening and dictation, to Photo Boost, Magic Editor and other enhancements.
Google is also introducing brighter displays and 7 years of OS, security and feature updates — an industry-leading commitment.
Google says its Pixel 8 and Pro phones will have the power of “never-before-seen AI” to help make your phone smarter. You’ll be able to use your voice and the camera to get help with everyday tasks, including translation, shopping, navigation, calendar management, and more.
The Pixel phones will also have a feature called Magic Editor, which uses AI to edit photos and video. One example is a feature that automatically replaces someone in a group photo with the best version of them from other shots you’ve taken. Another is a tool that lets you cut out your face from a picture and swap in another.
The phones are expected to have a new generation of the Google Tensor G3 chip, which will add performance improvements and support for some new AI features like context-aware Call Screening responses and the ability to summarize and translate bodies of text. The displays on the phones are also getting brighter this year and the cameras have been improved.
The Pixel series’ cameras have always been a major focus of the phones, and Google is making some significant improvements this year. Both Pixel 8 and the Pro version get a new Macro mode, while the Pro has a more significant camera upgrade with 48MP ultra-wide hardware (compared to last year’s 12MP sensor).
Other notable features include an improved Top Shot feature that selects the best image from a burst, and a feature called Video Boost that can reduce noise and other visual artifacts on captured videos. It uses a process called Staggered HDR to capture multiple frames at different exposures, then combines them in software for a better result without requiring additional processing power on the device itself.
Both Pixel phones also get a Magic Eraser audio feature that can remove distracting noise like the rumble of skateboard wheels. And, in a move that rivals Apple’s seven years of OS upgrades promise, both the Pixel 8 and the Pro will receive free updates through 2030.
With its big 6.7-inch display, massive 5,000mAh battery and top-tier cameras, the Pixel 8 Pro is a powerhouse. Its day-to-day performance is excellent, and it can do interesting things with machine learning and even some LLM generative AI locally on the device.
Previous Pixel phones taught us that Google’s custom Tensor CPUs like to get hot, leading to thermal throttling and poor cellular performance. But this year’s new G3 chip aims to avoid such problems with a more efficient 4nm design and 1+4+4 core layout.
It also promises a better experience with the phone’s speech-to-text functionality, which should serve students, habitual note-takers and writers very well. And while it doesn’t reinvent the wheel compared to last year’s Pixel 7, the improvements make this a solid flagship device, and they could justify the $100 price hike. Plus, it gets seven years of software updates, which is far longer than most other manufacturers’ promises. That alone could help the Pixel 8 Pro win over upgraders.
The Pixel series has a reputation for battery life, and the Pixel 8 might be its best yet. However, there are still areas where it could improve, especially when compared to rivals.
Lithium-ion batteries degrade over time, but it’s not the only reason Pixel phones tend to shut down more quickly than other Android flagships. It’s also possible that Google hasn’t optimized its software for the latest processors, leading to overheating and battery drain issues.
The Pixel 7 and 7 Pro both benefit from the new Tensor G3 chip, which aims to avoid thermal throttling by reducing power consumption when needed. That should lead to better battery performance on both phones, which should be able to last at least 24 hours under moderate usage and up to 72 hours with Extreme Battery Saver mode. It’s a small improvement, but an important one.