With Pixel Watch, Google is expanding its range of products that compete with Apple

“You know, the real world is truly fabulous! At the end of a two-hour presentation, Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, could not help but throw – without mentioning him – a small spade at the head of Meta ( ex-Facebook), Mark Zuckerberg, fascinated by the virtual worlds, in fact, it was primarily the announcement of very real products that marked the Google I / O conference that aired Wednesday from the group’s outdoor amphitheater in Mountain View (California).

This annual meeting, which has been organized since 2008, was originally intended for developers of the Google ecosystem, and in particular the Android operating system. But its opening session looks more and more like an Apple-style booth serving to present the world with the latest innovations, roadmap, and upcoming challenges for its subsidiary Alphabet.

Pixel Watch, facing Apple Watch

This year, several new products featured on Google I / O came to compete with the Apple brand. Starting with the most anticipated object before the event: the Pixel Watch-connected clock. While the Apple Watch has largely dominated this market since its launch in 2015, Google had never dared confront it directly and contented itself with delivering its Wear OS operating system to third-party manufacturers such as Samsung, Fossil, Casio or TAG Heuer.

The Pixel Watch is expected to be available this fall.

The Pixel Watch is expected to be available this fall.Google

Equipped with an all-round touch screen, the Pixel Watch will integrate sports and health-related features developed by Fitbit, a pioneer in connected fitness bracelets that Google bought two years ago for $ 2.1 billion. . Like the other watches under Wear OS, it will allow contactless payment and provide access to several group services, including Google Maps.

The Pixel Watch should be available “in the fall,” said Rick Osterloh, vice president of products and services, without specifying either the exact date or price. The watch enriches the Pixel family, which originally designated Google’s advanced smartphones, and which also comes in headphones (Pixel Buds, a new version of which has been unveiled) and soon in tablets, announced for 2023.

New wallet for Android

On the phone side, after the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro were launched last year, Google unveiled their entry-level version, the Pixel 6a. Also equipped with the Google Tensor chip, designed to accelerate artificial intelligence calculations, the Pixel 6a will be available in late July in the United States. For the fall, Google will also launch the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro, which will be shown briefly on Wednesday.

The fall will also mark the arrival of Android 13, which is already available in beta for developers. The conference provided insight into the next version of the world’s most widely used mobile operating system – more than 1 billion Android phones were activated last year, according to Google.

Main news: a contactless digital wallet, Google Wallet, which will replace Google Pay and allow you to board your smartphone with bank cards, but also tickets for shows or public transport, boarding passes and the same identity documents – features already available on digital wallets from Samsung or Apple.

Google Glass, returns

The conference also highlighted Google’s advances in artificial intelligence, especially for its original business: Internet searches. “Searching should be something you can do anywhere you want, using all your senses,” said Prabhakar Raghavan, vice president of Google Search, Assistant and Maps. The combination of voice recognition, image or text analysis and real-time translation tools should make this possible.

For Sundar Pichai, these various technologies will be at the core of new augmented reality services. “It’s important to develop it in a way that helps us in real life and does not take us away from it,” he said. Ending the video of a product still in prototype mode: paired glasses showing the simultaneous translation of a conversation as if it were the subtitles of a movie. Ten years after the first presentation of Sergey Brin from Google Glass, which never reached the general public, the “real world” that is dear to Sundar Pichai could sign their rebirth.

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