It's no secret to anyone that Google is about to introduce some new hardware — expectations are high for the Pixel 6 and the Pixel 6 Pro. Well, not only does Google have those new Pixels incoming, but we often see it announce all kinds of other hardware and software at its Made by Google events. We're now getting a little peek at what could be coming up next, as we get word about a possible hardware event on October 5th, a little under two weeks from now.
It's hard to overstate just how popular TikTok is right now. Not only has it become the world's most popular app — beating out Facebook, of all companies — but its entire practice has been copied endlessly by the likes of Instagram and YouTube. Google is well aware of just how massive TikTok and Instagram have become, and it wants to make sure people are using its search capabilities to find and discover endless videos to show their friends.
The Google Pixel 6 is due to be the biggest smartphone release from Google since the original Pixel smartphones in 2016. For the first time, the company is launching a smartphone with its own custom SoC, but that's not the only significant change that's on the way. If the leaks are to be believed, Google is going all-in on the Pixel 6's camera — not only with software but also new hardware.
LineageOS not only helps older and lower-end phones get a taste of the latest Android, but it also provides even more capable devices with an alternative firmware option. In the case of phones that arrive with their own skins, like models from Samsung and Xiaomi, LineageOS offers an opportunity to enjoy some stock-looking Android. If you just bought an all-new Pixel 5a and want to install LineageOS on it, now you can do so, as builds are becoming available.
Mobile payments are the way of the future (or so I've been told), and it seems Google's well aware of that. The company has spent the last year completely renovating its Pay app to be far more advanced than anything that's come before. Spending habits, sending and requesting money from friends, and rewards programs are all part of the relaunched effort, and with its latest installs milestone, it seems to be paying off for Google (no pun intended).
In 2019, Google brought the Nest Hub to a dozen new countries, just as it received a fresh rebranding. Spain was among the twelve regions chosen for official support, but Spanish-language options have been lacking in the US ever since. After two years, Google is finally bringing broader support for how the device functions with one of the most popular spoken languages in the world.
For years, a certain type of smartphone enthusiast has cried, "Why are camera bumps a thing? Just make the phones thicker and use the extra space for a bigger battery!" With the Pixel 5a, Google invites every single one of you to put your money where your mouth is. The Pixel 5a is a great phone at a great value, but the utterly insane battery life is the big highlight.
Google has been ramping up its efforts to get people to stop driving with a wheel in one hand and a smartphone in the other. Many of the things in Google's driving experience are getting an upgrade, if not an entirely new interface, including the classic Android Auto, the phone-oriented Assistant driving mode, and even the upcoming Android Automotive.
Accessibility is a subject that will affect us all eventually — some of us sooner than others. It's honestly pretty hard to make the topic attractive or marketable compared to Android's bigger, flashier features, But when you're limited from doing something in the "normal" way, accessibility matters a whole lot, and it's also a point of frustration when the very promise of technology is its flexibility and extensibility. To help with that, Google's adding two new features that help those with motor impairments use Android.
Today, Google has announced the rollout of a whole pile of "new" features for Android and Android Auto — 16 changes, by Google's count. Of course, this is Google, so "new" in many of these cases means they've been spotted in testing for months, and you may have been using many of them already. The tweaks cover a wide range, including accessibility improvements and Android Auto (which we'll cover separately to help streamline things just a little bit), but highlights include a new remote control for Android TV built right into your phone, an Assistant reminders hub, several time-saving Gboard improvements, and the trickle-down of a few Pixel-exclusive features.