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Today, Google announced a series of new products at its hardware event in San Francisco. The two words of the day? Machine learning. Here is a recap of what was presented onstage.
Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL
The two new Android 8.1 Oreo smartphones are available for preorder starting today. Both the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL phones feature similar specifications. “We don’t set aside features for the larger device,” Google product chief Mario Queiroz quipped, a clear dig at Apple’s iPhone lineup.
Google put a big emphasis on its camera and promised greater high dynamic range, optical image stabilization, and lots of image processing. Accessing Google Assistant will also be easier — simply give your phone a squeeze.
The Pixel 2 will be available in Just Black, Clearly White, and Kinda Blue on October 19 for $649 (64GB) and $749 (128GB). The Pixel 2 XL will ship in Just Black and Black & White on November 15 for $849 (64GB) and $949 (128GB).
A special adapter is included, as there is no headphone jack.
Google Home Mini and Max
The Google Home Mini is a smaller version of the company’s flagship smart speaker. The device is available for preorder starting today and will go on sale in stores October 19 for $49. Home Mini will come in coral, chalk, and charcoal.
The announcement comes a week after Amazon announced six new devices for its Echo line of smart speakers. But while the Google Home Mini competes with the Echo Dot and low-cost smart speakers, the Google Home Max, also unveiled today, will compete with high-end smart speakers like the one from Sonos, the recently unveiled Echo Plus, and Apple’s HomePod.
The Home Max can be set up to work with the Home and Home Mini and comes with Google Assistant inside, which can hear your commands even when music is playing loudly.
The smart speaker will be available in December for $399 in chalk and charcoal colors.
Google’s answer to Apple’s AirPods: Pixel Buds
The Pixel Buds earbuds are the company’s first pair of wireless headphones. When paired with an Android smartphone with Google Assistant installed, Pixel Buds can deliver notifications, read text messages, and play music. When using a Pixel or Pixel 2, it can be used to carry on a conversation using real-time translation in 40 languages.
Pixel Buds comes with up to 5 hours of listening time with one charge, or up to 24 hours of charges via the included carrying case.
The earbuds will be available for purchase for $159 in November in three colors: Clearly White, Kind of Blue, and Just Black. Preorders for U.S. customers begin today, while Google Pixel Buds will come to Singapore, U.K., Germany, Canada, and Australia later this month.
Google Pixelbook laptop
The new Chromebook sports a 12.3-inch display and Intel Core i5 or i7 processors, depending on the model users choose. For storage, users will be able to buy models with 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB of storage. It’s light, too — weighing in at around 1 kilogram (2.2 lbs). Users can fold it and use it as a tablet, much like Microsoft’s Surface Pro and Surface Book.
The Pixelbook is available for preorder starting today and will start shipping October 31. The base model starts at $999, which is more expensive than many Chromebooks — they usually top out at around $600. Users can also purchase a Pixelbook Pen for an additional $99 to use the touchscreen like a pressure-sensitive tablet.
Chromecast sales top 55 million
Google hardware chief Rick Osterloh announced that the company has sold 55 million Chromecasts, the company’s cheap streaming dongles that let you send music, photos, and videos from your phone to a TV or an external speaker. Google had previously shared it had sold 30 million in July 2016.
The first-generation Chromecast was released in July 2013.
The new Daydream View VR headset
Google has a new holster to turn your smartphone into a virtual reality head-mounted display. The company showed off its refined Daydream View that will sell for $99. This is an update to last year’s $79 View, which turned the Pixel smartphone into a headset.
Google Clips: an add-on camera
Google announced a new add-on for the Pixel 2 called Clips. The camera is hands-free and has a high-performance lens, image sensor, and shutter button. Machine learning behind the lens takes photos for you and helps you get shots you couldn’t get before.
Google says it is coming soon and will cost $249.
Google + Nest = smarter home
Following Google’s acquisition of Nest in 2014, Google made a move to bring its home automation products and virtual assistant closer together. Nest has integrated its latest set of hardware with Google Assistant to provide users with additional intelligence from their home cameras, doorbells, and thermostats.
One nifty feature is the connection with Nest Cam IQ, which uses facial recognition to identify familiar people. That way, the Assistant can tell residents of a home that one of their recognized friends or family members just showed up at the front door, rather than only saying that there’s someone waiting to get in.
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