The Pixel Pro smartphone from Google has been my phone of choice since it debuted 7 years ago. With each new release, I’ve become increasingly invested in the Google ecosystem and enjoy the development of each new device. What keeps me coming back is the clean Google interface and the stellar camera experience that I can’t seem to find anywhere else. Admittedly, the experience isn’t perfect by any stretch, but for me, the Pixel brand just seems to fit exactly what I’m looking for almost every time. With the official unveiling of the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro just a few short months away, there are a few upgrades I’d love to see on the next Pixel phones. Here’s my short list of what I need on the Pixel 8 Pro.
Upgrades To The Front-facing Camera
The camera system on Pixel devices is generally the biggest selling point for buying one. This is largely true for the main rear camera, however, as the front-facing camera always leaves me wanting more. Honestly, I think the last great selfie camera that was on a Pixel was way back on the Pixel 5. A simple point-and-shoot selfie camera that somehow always captured the right amount of light despite the scenery. The system on both the Pixel 6 Pro and currently on the 7 Pro somehow seems to miss the mark fairly consistently.
This is especially true when the lighting is less than ideal. Photos turn out weirdly noisy and sometimes outright blurry in the native camera app, and if you’re using a third-party camera like Instagram or Snapchat, the quality can at times be outright frightful. I would love to see an improvement in the selfie camera, although if the rumors of an in-display camera sensor turn out to be true, things could get worse before they actually get better.
A Revamped Google Assistant
While there has certainly been progress with Google Assistant over the years, I would love to see a complete overhaul of the interface and its capabilities on the next Pixel. As Google is leaning more into AI and its advanced capabilities, now would be the perfect time to showcase a new and improved Google Assistant that once again widens the gap between it and other voice assistants (looking at you Siri). With the recent enhancements adding speed and accuracy to voice typing, I would like to see Google double down on that front and introduce a full-blown assistant to help with everyday tasks.
Maybe I’m thinking too far ahead here, but I would love to see an interface similar to that on the Joaquin Phoenix lead film ‘Her.’ Maybe less on the sexual aspect of things (although that too, will eventually be a thing), and more on how the AI ‘Samantha’ was able to literally integrate into every aspect of the main character’s device. Being able to read and reply to emails and texts flawlessly, calendar and event reminders, hell, even reminders about anniversaries, and suggesting gift ideas would be enough to launch Google devices into the next stratosphere.
Imagine having access to a tool as powerful as ChatGPT on demand at all times, powered by a simple voice command. Even with the concerns about AI systems becoming sentient and all that, I for one, am looking forward to AI that can enhance my life that much further.
Improve The Biometrics
This one should go without saying, but the fingerprint scanner has been easily the worst part of the last few Pixels. It’s slow, it’s clunky, and it’s mostly inaccurate. Considering that all the way up to the Pixel 5 (yeah, two mentions in one article) the fingerprint reader was insanely good, this is one feature that I highly expect to see upgraded in the next Pixel. Samsung’s ultrasonic fingerprint scanner can be considered the gold standard for in-display readers, and if the next Pixel can get anywhere NEAR that type of experience, I’d be happy.
In fact, I wouldn’t be mad if they had to ditch their face unlock option just to bring us a better fingerprint scanner, as the face unlock can also be shoddy at times. I’m still not even sure of the exact tech used to make the face unlock option happen, but it has been, for the most part, trash. My phone struggles to see my face when too much sunlight is present, and the moment I throw some shades on, it flat-out refuses to work. combine that with the inaccuracies of the fingerprint scanner and I’m thankful I can still use my pin code or otherwise, I’d never get into my phone.
I’d probably say that above everything else on this list, improvements to biometrics are the biggest non-negotiable. It has to happen. Otherwise, we’d be in for another really good phone that could’ve been great. It’s time for Google to make that jump, and with these few improvements, I think they’d be well on their way.