Google has gradually turned from just a software company into hardware manufacturer. The first steps in this sphere were rather small – Google built phones, tablets, and Chromebooks in cooperation with Samsung and LG, then timidly branched out into creating its own designs. Now, the company strives to focus on hardware and dedicated a 100-minute event on Tuesday to unveil an entire line of products made by Google’s own robust in-house product teams.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai underlined Google’s desire to create an ‘individual Google’ for each user before detailing some interesting AI and machine learning projects, including image recognition, language translation, and text-to-speech.
Pixel and Pixel XL
The new mobile device called Pixel was presented by Senior Vice President Rick Osterloh. The device is actually a rebranded successor of Google’s Nexus 5X and 6P. Both phones closely follow rumors ahead of the event touting a Snapdragon 821 quad-core 2.15GHz processor, 4GB of RAM and storage options starting at 32GB or 128GB. There are two variants – the 5-inch Pixel and the 5.5-inch XL one – feature 2,770mAh and 3,450mAh batteries respectively.
According to DxOMark, The Pixel has the best camera ever made, with an 89 rating — outperforming even Apple’s highly touted iPhone 7 Plus. Both Pixel devices can boast of a 12-megapixel shooter in the rear and with an f/2.0 aperture and a large 1.55 micron pixel sensor.
The first presentation of Daydream took place at Google’s developer conference I/O in May, although the headset wasn’t really available. This time, Google unveiled the Daydream ‘View’, a soft and cozy fabric-lined VR viewer. It comes in three colors – snow, slate, and crimson – and is 30 percent lighter than typical headsets. The viewer definitely has one more remarkable advantage – it fits over eyeglasses.
The new headset comes paired with a handheld controller that is expected to eliminate the problem of attempting to navigate the VR world through the use of wonky smartphone or head tracking controls. The simplistic remote has a two-button control system and full-on motion tracking.
Due to partnership with more than 50 companies, Google offers its own products — Photos, Play Movies, YouTube, and Street View — as well as content from partners like Netflix, HBO, The New York Times and Hulu.
Daydream view and the controller come at the price of $79 and will be available in November.
The 4K-capable Chromecast Ultra offers high dynamic range (HDR) and Dolby Vision output. The device has an ethernet port integrated into the adapter for additional connectivity options. Google promises that its Chromecast Ultra is 1.8x faster than previous versions.
Google’s Home, that is so much alike Amazon’s Echo, is a small speaker that is activated with a simple command.
Home is powered by advanced Assistant that is able to answer simple queries, control music or adjust connected devices. It is contextually-aware. Google Home learns where you typically listen to music so there is no need to say that you want to use Spotify.
The system connects to other devices from Nest, Samsung Smart Things, Phillips and IFTTT with more partnerships coming in the future.
The central idea of Home is voice control. Besides, Google keeps the operation with a smartphone or tablet. Netflix supports ‘voice casting’ and will soon enable complete control of playback with only voice.
Google Home starts at $129 and it’s available for pre-order today. It’ll ship November 4.
Wifi is also a successor to Google hardware product (OnHub) but packed with smart functionality that allows users to extend its range over an entire house. Wifi connects multiple access points as a single, large network. That means that users will no longer face Wi-Fi dead zones throughout the house.