How Google's Pixel 8 Pro Will Change Smartphones Forever 2023

The Pixel line has undergone multiple design iterations, culminating in the current hardware derived from the Pixel 6. However, the most significant change has been Google's shift away from using various Qualcomm Snapdragon system-on-chips to developing its own design. The Tensor chipset has been specifically tailored to prioritize supporting computational routines, particularly for AI and Machine Learning, to be performed on the device rather than relying on cloud processing.

In the ecosystem, there are only a few system-on-chip companies. By introducing Tensor, Google is indicating where it believes development should be focused. With the launch of the Tensor G3 in the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, and Google's expected increased emphasis on AI and ML in software, demonstrating the benefits to consumers, other companies will be expected to offer silicon that can provide similar experiences.

In terms of software, the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro will be the first smartphones to come preloaded with Android 14. Other manufacturers will likely follow suit shortly, presumably when the Android Open Source Project's version 14 has a full release, following a series of recent delays.

Android 14 brings two key points to watch out for. Firstly, Google has decided to extend the support period to a reported seven years. This means that these devices will receive Android OS updates and security fixes for a long duration, ensuring their ongoing security. The latter factor is crucial in determining the phone's lifespan; while the hardware may continue to endure for many years, without security updates, its practicality diminishes significantly.

Consumers consider how long a phone will remain useful to them, making the Pixel's seven-year support window extremely appealing. Google hopes that other manufacturers will take note of this long-term perspective and extend their support periods as well.

The second point is more subtle but revolves around offering consistency to consumers while maintaining flexibility. Over time, Google has introduced its various "Material UI" iterations across its devices and on stock Android. Depending on the level of customization added by manufacturers to their versions of Android, this can be observed in other smartphones or completely removed.

Google aims to find more common ground in third-party apps. When apps behave consistently, they become easier to use initially, integrate better with any smartphone, and provide a more comfortable and rewarding user experience. Subtle elements, such as the sharing style sheet's options that allow developers to customize choices within a standard window, will be present throughout the Pixel phones.

The use of hardware to enhance AI and ML, a unified approach to first- and second-party apps from both Google and individual manufacturers, and an extended period of support and security updates contribute to positioning the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro as consumer-oriented devices. However, their long-term value lies in solidifying Google's vision of mobility across the entire Android ecosystem.

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