Alphabet-owned internet giant Google has become the latest technology company to introduce a foldable smartphone, unveiling its Pixel Fold.
The new smartphone forms part of the company’s latest line-up of devices in the Pixel portfolio, which were announced yesterday at the Google I/O developer conference.
Other devices unveiled at the annual conference include the Pixel Tablet and Pixel 7a, which is the latest A-series phone.
In a statement, the tech company said all the devices are powered by Google Tensor G2.
The Pixel Fold opens to a 7.6-inch screen and folds to a familiar smartphone silhouette. It is currently available for pre-orders, starting at $1 799 (R34 137).
As part of the A-series line-up, the Pixel 7a features face unlock, 8GB RAM, up to 90Hz display and wireless charging for the first time. It is available for purchase from $499 (about R9 400).
Google said its Pixel Tablet, which is equipped with an 11-inch display, is designed for entertainment and gaming. In addition, it is paired with a charging speaker dock and becomes a smart home device that can be used hands-free. Pre-orders for the tablet device start at $499.
“For years, Pixel has brought together AI breakthroughs from across Google and put them into a device you can hold in your hand. Combining the on-device intelligence of Google Tensor with Google’s AI in the cloud, and Android’s latest innovations, allows us to deliver truly personal AI,” says Rick Osterloh, Google senior VP for devices and services, in a blog post.
“Your Pixel adapts to your needs and preferences, and anticipates how it can help you save time and get more done. This personal AI powers all those helpful features and experiences that Pixel is known for, like Pixel camera, Pixel speech and Pixel call assist.”
Also at the same event, Google announced its newly-developed AI-powered chatbot, Bard, is available in English in over 180 countries and territories, with the addition of Japanese and Korean languages, and plans to support the world’s top 40 languages.
Bard is Google’s chatbot that has the ability to interact in conversational dialogue form, and is expected to rival AI start-up OpenAI’s ChatGPT.
As the platform expands, Google says it will focus on “maintaining high standards for quality, local nuances and adherence to AI principles”.
Bard will also be integrated with various Google apps and services, like Docs, Drive, Gmail and Maps, while maintaining user control over privacy settings, according to Google.
“The platform will also connect with external services and partners, such as Adobe Firefly for image creation, Kayak for travel, Instacart for groceries, Wolfram for computational knowledge and Khan Academy for education, offering a wide range of possibilities for users.”
Furthermore, the search engine giant unveiled PaLM 2, its next-generation language model designed to improve language translation, reasoning and coding capabilities.
According to Google, the model is more heavily trained on multilingual text, demonstrating advanced proficiency in logic, common sense reasoning and mathematics.
Additionally, PaLM 2 was pre-trained on publicly-available source code datasets, making it more efficient and faster than previous models.
“PaLM 2 will be available in four sizes, from smallest to largest: Gecko, Otter, Bison and Unicorn, making it versatile for a range of use cases. The model is set to power 25 new Google products and features, including Bard and Med-PaLM 2, a medical competency model that can answer questions and summarise insights from dense medical texts,” stated Google.
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