Google just announced the Pixel 8 series phones — here are the key new features and how to preorder


Alphabet's Google (GOOGL.O) on Wednesday launched Pixel 8 smartphones and a new smartwatch that integrates its artificial intelligence (AI) technology more deeply into the company's consumer gadgets.

Google's flagship Pixel smartphone has a fraction of Apple's (AAPL.O) iPhone sales, but it is designed to show how Android products push the limits of available technology. Pixels are popular with photography enthusiasts and consumers who prefer Android gadgets without modifications by other phone makers.

Google beefed up the Pixel lineup with its latest mobile processor, Tensor G3. The new Google custom chip has more AI and machine learning capabilities, enabling users to crunch more data on the device itself and in the cloud.

The AI features can help with photography, summarizing web pages, and blocking out spam calls, executives said at a Made by Google event in New York on Wednesday.

The higher-end Pixel 8 Pro features a Thermometer app to measure body temperature, subject to approval by the Food and Drug Administration.

Starting prices are $699 for the Pixel 8 and $999 for the Pixel Pro 8, $100 more than the previous generation models. They will be available from Oct. 12.

"Google was clearly focused on driving the mobile AI message in today's event and having AI on the device/client will be a big topic for the industry going forward," said IDC analyst Ryan Reith.

"If supported by strong marketing, Google could drive higher market share with this lineup, specifically in the U.S."

Last month, Apple launched a new series of iPhones that included a new titanium shell, a faster chip, and improved video game-playing abilities.

The biggest surprise with the iPhone 15 was that Apple did not raise prices, reflecting the global smartphone slump.

Google Pixel globally ranks 12th in terms of shipments, with a 0.9% share, according to IDC.

Reuters Graphics
Reuters Graphics

The latest updates could make Pixel phones more attractive to holiday-season shoppers.

The United States is the largest market, accounting for roughly 39% of Pixel's worldwide shipments, followed by Japan at 29% and the UK at 9%, according to IDC.

Google also announced plans to add generative AI capabilities to its virtual assistant, allowing it to do things like help people plan a trip or catch up on emails and then ask follow-up questions.

The company launched Google Watch 2, an upgrade over the first smartwatch launched in October 2022, starting at $349. It gets a digital crown and advanced health-tracking features powered by AI.

Google launched its new flagship Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro phones at the company's Made by Google event on Wednesday.

The Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro are available to preorder now ahead of their October 12 release date.

Both phones include Google's new Tensor G3 processor, enhanced cameras, and new features backed by Google AI, among other upgrades.  

Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro: price

  • The Google Pixel 8 starts at $699 with 128GB of storage.

A 256GB model of the Pixel 8 is available for $759. 

  • The Google Pixel 8 Pro starts at $999 with 128GB of storage.

The Pixel 8 Pro is also available with 256GB ($1,059) and 512GB ($1,179) in its Porcelain, Bay, and Obsidian colors, and a 1TB model ($1,399) is exclusive to the Obsidian color in the Google Store. 

Google Pixel 8
Google Pixel 8 Pro

The Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro are available to preorder now from Amazon, Best Buy, and the Google Store website. You can also preorder the phones from carriers like Verizon and AT&T.

Google will release the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro in stores and online on October 12.

Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro: new features

Both the Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro run on Google's new Tensor G3 processor, which enables a slate of new features through the company's latest AI machine learning capabilities.

Both phones are slated to get seven years of Android operating system and security updates — a stark improvement from recent Pixel models, which have offered at most three years of software updates and five years of security updates. It's a support window that surpasses any of the best Android phones currently available. 

Pixel 8 phones in their three available colors, obsidian (black), rose (pink), and hazel.
The Pixel 8 comes in Obsidian (black), Rose (pink), and Hazel. 
John Lynch/Insider

The Pixel 8 has a 6.2-inch display with a 120Hz refresh rate, which you should find noticeably smoother than the 90Hz display of the 6.3-inch Pixel 7. 

While the Pixel 8 retains the 50MP main and 12MP ultrawide rear camera specs of the Pixel 7, the Pixel 8's camera system is enhanced by the addition of a Macro Focus mode that was previously exclusive to the Pixel 7 Pro. It allows you to take extreme close-up photos with sharp clarity and detail.

Pixel 8 phone Macro Focus camera mode photo of a flower.
The Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro cameras feature a Macro Focus mode for close-up shots. 
John Lynch/Insider

Both phones add to the Pixel line's set of transformative photo-editing options with a Best Take feature that allows you to take several group photos and swap in the optimal shots of each person's face to create one "best take." There's also a new Audio Magic Eraser that lets you separate and edit distinct elements of audio in video recordings. 

The Google Assistant on both models has a range of new features including the ability to read aloud and translate webpages, improved voice typing, and the option to summarize any article or text on your screen into key bullet points using Google AI. 

Pixel 8 summarizes a webpage with Google AI.
Both phones have an improved, AI-backed Google Assistant, which can summarize text into key points, among other new features. 
John Lynch/Insider

Both models also have an improved Call Screen feature for fielding unknown callers. It can answer a call on your behalf and reply to a caller through a virtual assistant without having you speak to the caller directly.

Pixel 8 Pro colors
The Pixel 8 Pro comes in Porcelain (grey), Bay (blue), and Obsidian (black). 
John Lynch/Insider

On the other hand, the Pixel 8 Pro has a new matte glass back, and its standard 6.7-inch display has a new 1-120Hz refresh rate, which dynamically adjusts the screen's resolution for improved performance and efficiency. 

In terms of rear camera specs, the triple-camera system of the Pixel 8 Pro has the same 50MP main and 48MP telephoto (5x optical zoom) lenses as the Pixel 7 Pro, but its ultrawide lens has been upgraded to 48MP from the Pixel 7 Pro's 12MP. Google also improved the Pro model's low-light photography and video and its software-backed Super Res 30x zoom. 

Pixel 8 Pro zoom camera
The Pixel 8 Pro has an improved Super Res zoom for up to 30x magnification. 
John Lynch/Insider

Finally, a brand-new addition to the Pixel lineup is the inclusion of a built-in thermometer on the Pixel 8 Pro, which uses a sensor beside the camera system to scan objects and read their temperature.

The Pixel 8 Pro built-in thermometer.
The Pixel 8 Pro's built-in thermometer takes the temperature of tea. 
John Lynch/Insider
Google Pixel 8
Google Pixel 8 Pro

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