Talk about a busy day at the Made By Google event. Not only did the company release two new phones, there were a couple of surprises along the way. From a camera that automatically captures moments hands-free and a Sonos/HomePod competitor, to wireless earbuds, Google fans will be treated to several new devices hitting the market and each of them are infused with the power of Google's artificial intelligence.
While the real highlight of the show was the power of Google Assistant, and other software behind the devices, Google is clearly going head-to-head with the likes of Amazon and Apple, as well as some other entertainment device manufacturers.
As many of us were expecting, Google announced the new Pixelbook which is a two-in-one computer that uses Chrome OS. Very similar in design to the Lenovo Yoga and more so a direct competitor to the Microsoft Surface, the Google Pixelbook builds upon their initial 2013 launch of the Chromebook Pixel, which actually cost more at launch than the current version. The Pixelbook has a built-in keyboard that can't be removed; however, it can be positioned in several different ways and also folded to be turned into a tablet.
The Pixelbook features a 12.3 inch Quad HD LCD touch display, is built on Chrome OS, comes with either the Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, and can have up to 16GB of RAM. With beefed up specs, there are several unique features that will set the Pixelbook apart from current Chromebooks, with the first being Google Assistant. Windows has the Windows key, Mac has whatever that leaf thing is, and now Google has the Google Assistant button.
With the press of said button you’ll be able to activate the Assistant. The second new feature is that it will support the brand new Pixelbook Pen. Like the Apple Pen, this is designed to be a stylus, but also interacts with Google Assistant.
If you circle or highlight text, images, or most things on screen, Google Assistant can provide more information around the object. The technology is powered by Wacom, which has a long track record of success when it comes to tablets and stylus tech.
In addition to the Pixelbook Pen and Google Assistant deep integration, there will now be fuller support of Android apps. During the press event, Google highlighted both the native Instagram and Snapchat apps, and discussed working in particular with Snap to develop a better experience for the larger screen.
The Pixelbook starts at $999 with preorders now open, and it will begin shipping October 31. The Pixelbook Pen is $99, and sold separately.
- Display: 12.3”
- Resolution: Q HD LCD
- Processors: i5 or i7
- RAM: Up to 16GB
- Google Assistant built in
- Battery: 10 hours of use
- Quick Charge: 2 hours in 15 minutes
- Material: Aluminum body
- Camera: 720p at 60 FPS
- Ports: USB-C, headphone jack
- Quick connect tethering between Android hotspot
- Deeper support for all Android apps
Google Home Max
Watch out Apple and Sonos, Google is about to drop the bass with the surprise announcement of the Google Home Max. While we were expecting the mini version of Home, thanks to leaks all over the place, including an early product page on Walmart the day before, the Home Max is a powerful sound system in a tidy package.
It’s said to be 20 times more powerful (loud) than the initial Google Home. It features two 4.5 inch woofers, SmartSound that auto-adjusts to its surroundings, taps into YouTube Music and services like Spotify, and of course has Google Assistant built in. Google also went as far as developing their own yarn for the fabric casing that makes up the majority of the speaker.
For those that fork out the $400 for the speaker they will also get a year free of YouTube Red. It’s available for preorder now, but will begin shipping in December.
Google Home Mini
The sleek, little pebble of a device now known as Google Home Mini is Google’s answer to the Amazon Echo Dot. It’s small, portable, but designed to fit in with most modern surroundings in your home. It too has Google Assistant built in, and has easy support for Chromecast.
It will come in three colors: coral, chalk, charcoal, is available for preorder now, and will ship on October 19 for $50. For early buyers of the Pixel 2, Google will also include one of these as a little bonus.
Google Pixel Buds
Google’s answer to the AirPods were also a bit of a surprise, especially with its design and a particular built in feature. Why yes, the Pixel Buds too have easy access to Google Assistant, but what got the most reaction was the built in real-time translation. Though certainly not the first set of earbuds to include the technology, most others that have been announced in the past became vaporware. During the demo Google showed that the technology was able to translate in a conversational tone versus a blocky word for word approach.
In addition to the translation feature the Pixel Buds will also include gesture controls built into the right earbud.
Priced competitively with the AirPods, the Pixel Buds cost $160 and will come in three colors. However, they are already entirely sold out.
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