At I/O we shared our upcoming hardware including Pixel 6a and Pixel Buds Pro. As of today both devices are available for pre-order on the Google Store. Pixel 6a starts at $449 and Pixel Buds Pro are available for $199.
There’s a lot to be excited about with our latest phone and earbuds, so we sat down with two team members who worked on these products to hear about their favorite features, technology and more. Here’s what Soniya Jobanputra and Nidhi Rathi had to say.
Pixel 6a has Google Tensor, but what does that mean?
Soniya: When we set out to make A-series phones, we envisioned the ability to deliver a premium phone at a more affordable price. By including Google Tensor in Pixel 6a we’ve been able to achieve that vision because we now have the same brain powering our full generation of Pixel 6 phones.
A great example of this is also one of my favorite features: Live Translate. My family and I were on a vacation recently in French Polynesia, and our French is a bit…rusty. Reception wasn’t always reliable in some of the rural areas. With Live Translate on Pixel 6a, we were able to break down the language barrier and make the most of our vacation — and since all the processing happens on-device, cell reception was a non-issue. What a mind blowing experience!
What exactly is Active Noise Cancellation and how does it work on the Pixel Buds Pro?
Nidhi: Active Noise Cancellation works by creating an additional opposite sound to cancel out the noise around you. The faster your earbuds can hear outside sound and calculate the inverse sound, the better the noise cancellation becomes. Our in-house team of experts used custom speakers and a custom 6-core audio chip running Google-developed algorithms to speed up that process. It’s been incredible to see how quiet your space becomes and how you can simply immerse yourself in your music.
Once we had those smarts down, we needed to make sure we created the perfect seal. Everyone’s ears are different, so it’s not always possible for the eartips to give a perfect snug seal and sound leaking in from the outside affects the listening experience. With Silent Seal™ — which adapts to your unique ear shape — and the multiple eartip sizes that come with the Pixel Buds Pro, we’re able to ensure that unwanted sound stays out.
So whether you’re trying to listen to music, catch up on a podcast or place a call, you’ll get a premium experience with Pixel Buds Pro. Sometimes that experience is so good I don’t even realize my partner is trying to get my attention!
So what about those times when I want to hear what’s going on around me?
Nidhi: We know there are times when you want to stay aware of your surroundings — like when you’re crossing the street. That’s where Transparency mode comes in handy. Using the same low latency engine as our Active Noise Cancellation, we quickly process and naturally pass through all the sounds that the earbuds hear from your environment. It will even help you avoid that plugged ear feeling so you can almost forget your buds are even in!
What’s your favorite experience on Pixel 6a? We know, it’s hard to pick only one!
Soniya: My favorite feature is Magic Eraser. I love it for both its practical and creative uses. It’s rare to find a beach with no people on it, but thanks to Magic Eraser all my beach vacation photos look like I had them to myself. And I use it to make quirky, memorable photos — like one photo where my kids were sitting on a swing, but I was able to make the swing disappear so it looks like they’re flying. 😂
Pixel has always been known for its excellence in computational photography and Pixel 6a takes full advantage of the Image Signal Processor we share with Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, all thanks to Google Tensor. Pixel 6a shares the same post processing algorithms as our flagship phones allowing it to support incredible camera experiences like Magic Eraser and Real Tone.
Anything else you’d like to share before we go pre-order Pixel 6a and Pixel Buds Pro?
Soniya: We know protection is really important. I’m proud that Pixel 6a shares the same security architecture as our flagship phones, including the Titan M2 and multiple layers of hardware protection. And thanks to our common hardware platform, Pixel 6a will also receive five years of security updates from when the device first becomes available on GoogleStore.com, just like Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro.
Nidhi: I love the Pixel Buds Pro case – it’s so smooth, the texture feels like a pebble in my hand. The way it clicks closed is super satisfying, and it’s small enough to fit in the pocket of my skinny jeans!
I’m also looking forward to Bluetooth multipoint and our audio switching technology. It automatically switches between your connected Bluetooth-enabled devices like phones, laptops, tablets and TVs – much easier than navigating Bluetooth menus.