Google Pixel 8 and Pro – Made by Google. Brains by Google.
The new Google Pixel 8 and Pro are here, offering ‘Made by Google’s’ unique take on what a smartphone should be.
That unique take is all about using AI to extract maximum functionality from Google devices. For example, a selfie camera usually only provides a somewhat insecure 2D Face ID. Google has applied AI and Machine learning to meet Face ID security levels for App sign-ins and payments.
Or set higher goals with OS and security updates for seven years from the launch – Android 21! I will be most interested to see if other brands can match that. It also has significant Feature Drops every few months that add more functionality. If you want to keep a phone that long, Google Pixel 8, Pro (and later) are it.
Google wants you to stop thinking of a smartphone with benefits and start thinking of it as a computer in your pocket that can also make phone calls. It wants you to look past the safety of comparing screen, processor, RAM specs and more (damn – that is what CyberShack does so well) and start thinking about how it and the Watch 2 (and beyond) will help you with AI via searches, still and video photography, battery life, system power, and living in general.
Let’s look at AI living in general
AI is simply the result of machine learning based on experiences. For example, an average human knows what a cat looks like; ergo, it is a cat. Show a computer millions of cat pictures and reward it when right. It soon learns not only what a cat is but the colour, variety, and needs of said cat. Apply this to cancer detection, airport traffic control (reduced one plane every 3 minutes to one every 30 seconds), more GPS navigation, and how best to get through your day (weather, calendar, travel, etc.).
Google Ai enables:
- Voice typing lets you write messages twice as fast with your voice and now enables you to type, edit and send messages in multiple languages. And there is voice and image translation, too.
- At a Glance shows more useful info on your screen, like travel updates, event tickets, etc.
- Pixel Call Assist is a set of features that help avoid spammers, including Call Screen, Hold for Me and more. With Call Screen, Google Assistant can answer unknown numbers and find out who’s calling and why – so you can decide whether to pick up. Clear Calling reduces the caller’s background noise – so you can hear them more clearly.
- Photo features include deblurring, Best Take (combines a bracket of shots into one where everyone looks their best), Audio Magic Eraser for video, and Magic Editor (coming this summer) for photos. Skin Tone means accurate colours for all. Night Sight for video uses AI to enhance dark video – it does not matter if the colours are accurate as it looks so good.
- The Google Pixel Pro 8 has an FIR thermometer that can point to and tell the temperature of objects.
Add this to the immense power of Google cloud computing, and you have a most potent computer in your pocket that others may find hard to match.
OK, some hardware for Google Pixel 8 and Pro
- Google Tensor 3 System on a Chip
- Wi-Fi 6E and firmware updatable to 7, BT 5.3, NFC, Dual GPS
- SIM and eSIM
- Primary rear camera: 50MP, F/1.9, 1.12um, PDAF/Laser A+F, OIS
- Selfie: 10.5MP F/2.2, 1.22um, Autofocus, 4K@60fps
- Android 14
Google Pixel 8
- 6.2” 2400 x 1080, Actua 60/90/120Hz AMOLED display with Gorilla Glass Victus
- 8GB and 128/256
- USB-C 2.0 (480Mbps)
- 4485mAh battery 24W capable (no charger), 12W Qi capable
- Other rear camera: Ultra-wide 12MP F/2.2, 1.25um, 4K@60fps
- $1,199 available for pre-sale from 5 October at the Google Store, Telstra, JB HI-FI, Optus, Vodafone, Officeworks and Harvey Norman.
- Colours: Hazel, Rose and Obsidian
Google Pixel 8 Pro
- 6.7” 3120 x 1440, Super Actua LPTO AMOLED variable 1-120Hz display with Gorilla Glass Victus 2
- 12GB and 128/256/512GB
- USB- C 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gbps)
- 4950mAh 27W capable, 23W Qi capable.
- Thermometer (uses ToF camera sensor
- Other rear cameras: 48MP Ultrawide + 48MP F/3.5 telephoto 5X Optical +
- Ultra-wide-band support
- $1,699 available for presale from 5 October – same suppliers. Bay, Porcelain, and Obsidian.
What is Tensor 3?
It is a System-on-a-Chip (SoC) loosely based on Samsung Exynos made by Samsung. It has nine cores – 1×3.0GHz & 4×2.45GHz & 4×2.15GHz – Big, Mid, and Little design. The SoC is purely 64-bit, so older Apps may not run.
The Immortalis-G715s MC10 GPU has AV1 encode for 4K@30/60, HVEC, and H.264. Ray tracing may be part of this design. We don’t know about the modem yet. Then there is the Google AI/TPU hardware.
Until we test, we cannot say if it is a match for the Qualcomm SD8 Gen 2.
CyberShack’s view – Google Pixel 8 and Pro are computers in your pocket
To me, at least, Google has, perhaps clearly for the first time, articulated that the future smartphone is not so much about hardware as it is about Googe Android as an edge computing platform using Google’s ever-increasingly powerful AI cloud resources. Simply put, the phone screen is merely an on-and-off ramp for the AI Cloud and all it offers.
All a phone needs is enough power to act as a phone, a screen, modem for 4/5G connectivity, Wi-Fi/BT/NFC/GPS, battery and enough on-board AI power to process photos (which can be even better later if post-processed in the Photo cloud).
It takes the focus off the hardware one-upmanship and reduces the need to upgrade phones constantly. At least, that is the message I got, and I like it. It is a clever move to offer seven years of OS upgrades and Security patches as Google rightfully expects that the device will still be as functional in seven years.
Specs-wise, the Google Pixel 8 and 8 Pro are probably overshadowed by those with Qualcomm SD8 Gen 2 processors. Function-wise, there is no competition, although Google must bring some Pixel-specific features to future Android upgrades.
If I were Samsung, Motorola, OPPO, Nokia, et al., I would seriously work with Google Android to focus on function over frippery and form.