News Weekly: Google's big change, live Pixel 9 Pro images, a wooden Motorola phone, and more

The Google logo at Google's Pier 57 building in New York City
(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)
AC News Weekly

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(Image credit: Android Central)

News Weekly is our column, where we highlight and summarize some of the week's top stories so you can catch up on the latest tech news.

This is Android Central's News Weekly, your go-to source for a concise roundup of the week's most significant tech stories. This is where we delve into the top headlines that provide the latest developments and innovations contributing to the digital landscape. 

This week, Google announced a major reorganization for its hardware and software teams, Nothing launched its latest wireless earbuds, Motorola has a trio of attractive new phones, we've got another Pixel 9 leak, and TikTok is taking on Instagram with a new app that's available for select countries.

Things are coming together at Google

The Google logo on a building

(Image credit: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

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In a surprise announcement on April 18, Google announced that it is going through a major internal reorganization. As part of this shift, the company is bringing its hardware and software teams together under a new Platforms and Devices team that oversees Android, Chrome and ChromeOS, Google Photos, Pixel devices, and more.

The new team will be lead by Rick Osterloh, and Sameer Samat will oversee the Android ecosystem. Meanwhile, Hiroshi Lockheimer, who has head Android up until now, will be involved with other projects across Alphabet (via The Verge).

According to a blog post by Google CEO Sundar Pichai, the crux of the reorganization is to strengthen the synergy between the company's hardware and software efforts so it can move faster to bring better products to market. Pichai points to the Circle to Search feature, which first arrived on the Galaxy S24 at launch before then coming to the Pixel series.

But beyond that, this also means the teams can better integrate Google's AI efforts into its products. Pichai notes that research teams "focused on computational photography and on-device intelligence will also be moving over to join the new org to bring deep AI expertise across platforms and devices."

This is a huge move for Google and possibly the biggest announcement the company has made in recent years. Hopefully, we won't have to wait long to see the fruits of Google's labor as a result of the restructuring.

Motorola's new flagship is made from wood

The camera on the Motorola Edge 50 Ultra.

(Image credit: Android Central / Motorola)

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It feels like the Moto X days of old because Motorola just launched a trio of new phones that don't come with traditional glass backs. The Motorola Edge 50 Ultra, which sits at the top of the new phones, is available in wood or vegan leather finishes and the Pantone color of the year, Peach Fuzz. The phone sports a triple camera setup with a 50MP primary sensor, 50MP ultrawide, and 64MP 3x telephoto lens. At the front is a 6.7-inch "Super HD" OLED display, and the phone comes equipped with the new Hello UX and new Moto AI features, powered by the latest Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 chipset.

The three phones in the Motorola Edge 50 series.

(Image credit: Android Central / Motorola)

The Motorola Edge 50 Pro is a step-down, powered by the Snapdragon 7 Gen 3, but you still get a triple camera setup that consists of a 50MP main sensor, 13MP ultrawide, and 10MP 3x telephoto camera. It also has up to 12GB of RAM, access to "key" Moto AI features, and comes in a special edition pearl finish, handcrafted in Italy.

Lastly, the Motorola Edge 50 Fusion comes with a 50MP dual-camera system, supports Hi-Res audio, and is available in vegan leather finishes.

These phones are being launched globally, although not all of them are launched at the same time. There's also no word of U.S. availability, but Motorola says it's committed to bringing more Edge phones to the region.

Pixel 9 Pro, is that you?

A leaked rendering of the Pixel 9 Pro.

(Image credit: MySmartPrice)

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We're still several months away from the launch of the Pixel 9 series, but that's not stopping the leaks from pouring in. The latest may have just given us our first look at a live image of the Pixel 9 Pro, as evidenced by the unique new camera visor and the triple camera system.

The device appears to have a flat display and flat back, which is a bit of a departure from the current design, which is a bit more curved. The back also appears to be matte, but we're likely looking at a prototype of some sort, so the finished product may differ.

From what we can see on the display, the phone may have up to 16GB of RAM, although it also shows 128GB of storage. We also get a close-up of the cameras and a comparison shot with the phone next to the iPhone 14 Pro Max, revealing how much smaller the Pixel 9 Pro might be when it launches later this year.

According to rumors, we may receive three Pixel 9 devices, including the standard Pixel 9, the Pixel 9 Pro (which is likely what we're seeing here), and a larger Pixel 9 Pro XL. Additionally, it's rumored that the Pixel Fold successor may switch up names and instead be called the Pixel 9 Pro Fold, it's unclear if Google will stick to that moniker.

A new Ear-a of affordable earbuds from Nothing

Nothing ear (a) yellow buds plus case

(Image credit: Nothing)

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Nothing is back with not just one but two pairs of wireless earbuds, the Nothing Ear and Nothing Ear (a). The higher-end earbuds support LHDC 5.0, bringing low latency and high-definition audio. Both earbuds come with a transparent design and Hi-Res audio support. There are also 11mm drivers, and the batteries last more than 5 hours with ANC on or more than 8 hours with it off.

The main difference between the two is that there are fewer customization options on the more affordable Nothing Ear (a). There's also no wireless charging with the case, which Android Central's Tshaka Armstrong noted in his Nothing Ear (a) review as a major downside. He also notes that ANC isn't as strong as it could be, but for a pair of $99 earbuds, they're still well worth the money.

TikTok takes on Instagram

TikTok Notes screenshot mockups.

(Image credit: TikTok)

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In the fight over popularity, Instagram has "borrowed" a feature or two from TikTok over the years. However, now it's TikTok's turn to borrow from Instagram, as the new TikTok Notes app has begun rolling out in select countries. Unlike regular TikTok, this app is focused on still images rather than videos. Users can add one photo or a carousel, text, and even a caption to highlight what your images are about.

To make signing up easy, users can link their TikTok accounts to log in.

The only downside of this app launch is that it's not available to everyone at the start. Right now, TikTok Notes is available "for download and limited testing in Australia and Canada," so if you're in those countries, you're free to give it a try.

Given the popularity of TikTok, this could bring a true Instagram competitor to the table, even as Meta shifts its focus to video content.

Those are some of the biggest stories from this week. Meanwhile, here are some other stories that are worth catching up on:

Derrek Lee
News Editor

Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.