If you were disappointed about the lack of hardware introduced at Google’s I/O event in May, then the Google Pixel event was aimed at you. The San Francisco based event was kicked off with a little witty banter from two of Silicon Valley’s favourite fictional developers, before handing the mic over to Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai to discuss the company’s newest projects. It is worth noting that this event roughly coincides with Pichai’s first year at the helm of Google –meaning that these releases may be the first truly associated with his legacy. That being said, we have watched the keynote and have cut through the clutter to bring you the 5 biggest announcements from today’s event.
Google Pixel and Pixel XL
The worst kept secret before today was that Google’s flagship smartphones would be dropping the Nexus name, and take the name “Pixel” moving forward. With that came the release of two new devices, the Pixel (5-inch, 1080p display) and the Pixel XL (5.5-inch, Quad HD panel). After previously splitting their manufacturing between Huawei and HTC, Google had decided to trust both Pixel phones to HTC.
Furthermore, the team at Google spoke a lot to the importance of AI and how it would be integrated into Google Assistant. It is obviously an integral part of the vision for Google moving forward, and they see Google Assistant as a way to deliver it to the masses. Google Assistant pulls information from all over your device and Google accounts (if you allow it) to help create a more personalized experience through machine learning. It’s main feature is a voice-powered assistant with improved voice recognition, more natural speech, and enhanced photo recognition.
Both the Pixel and Pixel XL are available for preorder today.
Daydream VR Platform
With Daydream and the Daydream View, Google is making its second foray into the world of virtual reality. Unlike other VR Viewers on the market such as the Samsung Gear, HTC Vive, and Oculus Rift, the Daydream View is supposed to be “unintimidating” and accessible to everyone. Available in three colors, this soft, yet durable headset will be compatible with any Daydream-supported smartphone. It also comes with a handheld controller to help the user interact with their virtual world.
Adding to the Chromecast lineup is the new Chromecast Ultra which is the first in the family to offer 4K and HDR streaming. It also promises faster streaming regardless of TV resolution, and an Ethernet port on the power adapter in case the user’s wifi is not able to handle 4K streams.
Annoyed with the range of your router? Well Google is now looking to correct that with the introduction of Google Wifi which is a multi-point network, which can let you optimize your coverage by placing multiple routers throughout your house. The system is sold as both a single router, or in a three-pack for larger houses. It also allows you to restrict others on the network, such as children, through a connected mobile app.
Google has finally announced a price ($129USD) and release date (November 4th) for its Amazon Echo-like home assistant, Google Home. Powered by Google Assistant (or through a mobile app), the device can answer questions, control music, and interact with other connected devices from brands such as Phillips, Nest, and Samsung. Sticking with the “more-is-better” idea, Google home will also be released both separately and as a three-pack.