Google Unveils Pixel Phone, Smart Home Hub, and More at AI-Focused Event

At its media event today in San Francisco, Google announced a few new pieces of hardware, mainly centering around the company's artificial intelligence initiatives and the confirmation of a new pair of smartphones called the Pixel and Pixel XL.

Additionally, the company revealed the new Chromecast Ultra streaming dongle, a VR headset called Google Daydream, and gave more details about its connected smart home hub device, Google Home. Bits and pieces of information on the Pixel smartphones and Google Home have surfaced online over the past few weeks, correctly predicting most of today's announcements.

google-event
Google Assistant

The company started off by providing details on its artificial intelligence platform, called Google Assistant, which the company says is like "your own personal Google." The assistant can perform normal tasks like playing music, performing search queries, and providing navigation directions, as well as carrying on a normal conversation with the user. The company showed this by providing an example of a user asking for directions, then inquiring about restaurants at the destination's end, and finally setting a reservation at one.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai also discussed a few intelligent updates coming to the company's search system, including improvements to image descriptions, better translation fueled by machine learning technology, and more human-like text-to-speech abilities. Pichai said that the assistant will "constantly get better" as the company introduces it to more and more users, which it's started doing with the recent launch of Google Allo.

Pixel and Pixel XL

pixel-2
Senior vice president of hardware at Google, Rick Osterloh, mentioned the company's goal to introduce Google Assistant within each of its new hardware announcements, beginning first with the confirmation of its new smartphone: Pixel. The company's new handset is the first official device with its machine learning AI built directly into it.

The company said that Pixel was built to be "simple and smart," with Google Assistant fueling a few streamlined interface features throughout the user interface. In the demo, vice president of product management at Google, Brian Rakowski, gave examples of using the assistant to show photos from a few months ago, playing music through YouTube, and texting his wife.

Rakowski also mentioned that Pixel has received the highest DxO Mark camera rating (89) of any smartphone on the market. The 12.3 megapixel camera has a f/2.0 aperture and includes features like "Smartburst," which intelligently selects the best image from a burst of images, while HDR+ lets the smartphone shoot images in bright and low light situations. Unlike other smartphones, Pixel keeps HDR+ on by default, with "zero shutter lag" according to the company.

Google also confirmed that the smartphone comes in two versions: a 5-inch 'Pixel' and 5.5-inch 'Pixel XL.' They each feature Snapdragon 821 processors and 4GB RAM, a 2770mAh battery for the Pixel and a 3450mAh battery for the Pixel XL, and screen resolutions of 1080x1920 and 1440x2560, respectively. There's also a fingerprint sensor, hi-definition AMOLED Display, and all of the smartphone's components are covered by a combination aluminum unibody and polished glass encasement. Referencing Apple, Google mentioned during its presentation that the Pixel has "no unsightly camera bump" and includes a 3.5mm headphone jack.

In regards to battery life, the company said that Pixel includes "quick charging" that can get users up to 7 hours of battery life in only 15 minutes. A transfer tool will make it easy to transfer from iOS, as well. For those interested, Pixel will be available in 32GB and 128GB options as a Verizon exclusive in the United States, but will also be available unlocked for $649 on the Google Store. Each phone comes in "Very Silver," "Quite Black," and "Really Blue" colorways.

Google Daydream

google-vr
Google unveiled a few details about its new virtual reality headset, Daydream, which it has crafted with a focus on comfortability and affordability thanks to its support of Pixel. Over fifty companies have partenered with Google and will bring VR experiences by the end of the year, including video games, video streaming apps like Hulu and Netflix, and even journalism publications.

The company's first-party apps like YouTube and Google Streetview will also introduce Daydream support soon. The headset itself will launch for $79 in November.

Google Home

google-home
Lastly, vice president of product management, Rishi Chandra, formally introduced the company's hands-free smart home speaker, the Google Home, which continues the company's focus on Google Assistant in its hardware categories. The assistant will be able to infer the context of a user's speech patterns when using Google Home, like asking the device to "play that Shakira song from Zootopia." The AI then leverages Google's search index knowledge to play the correct song from a user's preferred music service, including Spotify, Google Play Music, iHeartRadio, YouTube Music, and more.

Chandra also demoed basic search queries (how to get a wine stain out of carpet), asked about traffic before leaving the house, and went through a language translation feature. The VP said that eventually the company plans to introduce Handoff-like support for picking up search inquiries from Home onto Pixel, like asking for directions with Google Home and following the directions on Google Maps on Pixel.

At launch, Google Home can "voice cast" YouTube videos from the device and onto a Chromecast dongle, so users can speak to Home to play videos on a TV. Netflix and other services are expected to come soon. Google Home will cost $129 and comes with a free six month trial of YouTube Red. Users can pre-order the device starting today, with an expected launch date of November 4.

Miscellaneous

The company also revealed a few other smart home devices, including Google Wi-Fi, which will bring support for the expansion of network throughput in a home with a modular system that users can place in each room that needs a signal boost. Google Wi-Fi is coming in December with a single pack for $129 and 3-pack for $299.

On the entertainment side of the home, the company also officially announced the Chromecast Ultra, which supports streaming of up to 4K video content. The streaming device is also 1.8 times faster than the previous Chromecast, includes Ethernet support, and will be available in November for $69.

The company closed out the press conference by revisiting Google Assistant and announcing an SDK for the AI will be coming for developers sometime in 2017, which will further allow the voice assistant to grow and learn on the company's ecosystem of products. For more information on all of the devices announced today, Google has accumulated information on its Made by Google website.

Top Rated Comments

JaySoul Avatar
63 months ago
At that price....

No OIS
No waterproofing
No stereo speakers
No wireless charging
No dual lens cameras
No Iris scanner
No 3DT

No chance.
Score: 108 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JayIsAwesome Avatar
63 months ago
Just here for the comments

Attachment Image
Score: 71 Votes (Like | Disagree)
LordQ Avatar
63 months ago
And people complain about the iPhone 7 bezels? :eek:
Score: 59 Votes (Like | Disagree)
shk718 Avatar
63 months ago
Google xeroxes the iPhone 6 - innovative!
Score: 49 Votes (Like | Disagree)
inhalexhale1 Avatar
63 months ago
It has a freakin' headphone port! I'm sold!
Google lacked courage.
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Paradoxally Avatar
63 months ago
An incredibly boring presentation with lackluster announcements.

Google's highlight was when they announced the colors for their "made by Google" device named the Pixel: "Quite Black", "Very Blue", and "Really Silver". I'm glad doge has done well for himself, landing a job at Google naming flagship products.
Score: 39 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

General Apps Messages

All Three Major U.S. Carriers and Google Adopt Rich Communication Services, But No Sign of Apple Interest

Tuesday July 20, 2021 1:15 pm PDT by
For the last several years, Google has been pushing a new communications protocol called Rich Communication Services, or RCS. RCS is designed to replace SMS, the current text message standard, and it offers support for higher resolution photos and videos, audio messages, bigger file sizes, better encryption, improved group chat, and more. Verizon today announced that it is planning to adopt...
AirPods Pro Beta Firmware

AirPods Pro Beta Firmware Now Available

Wednesday July 21, 2021 6:50 am PDT by
Upcoming AirPods Pro firmware updates are now available to Apple Developer Program members as beta versions. AirPods Pro firmware beta one features FaceTime Spatial Audio and Ambient Noise Reduction. Custom Transparency mode, including Conversation Boost, was initially expected to be included in the beta but appears to have been delayed for a later version. Apple made the announcement...
maxresdefault

Apple Music to Livestream Premiere of Kanye West's New Album 'Donda' on Thursday

Wednesday July 21, 2021 1:49 am PDT by
Apple Music on Thursday will host a global livestream for the premiere of Kanye West's tenth studio album, titled "Donda." The sold-out event will take place at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, and Apple Music's livestream will start at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The livestream was revealed in a Beats Studio Buds ad that aired during the NBA Finals. The ad features U.S. track...
ios wifi settings

Apple Confirms iOS 14.7 Fixes WiFi Bug and Many Other Vulnerabilities

Wednesday July 21, 2021 11:38 am PDT by
Following the release of iPadOS 14.7 this morning, Apple has shared details on the security updates that are included in iOS 14.7, iPadOS 14.7, macOS Big Sur 11.5, watchOS 7.6, and tvOS 14.7, all of which came out this week. Notably, Apple's documentation confirms that the iOS 14.7 and iPadOS 14.7 updates address a WiFi-related vulnerability that could impact iOS devices when joining a...
16 inch macbook pro m2 render

Gurman: Redesigned MacBook Pros to Launch Between September and November

Sunday July 18, 2021 7:39 am PDT by
Apple can be expected to release its redesigned 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros sometime between September and November, as part of another packed fall season for new product launches, according to Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman. In the latest edition of his Power On newsletter, Gurman says that the new MacBook Pros will go into production in the third quarter and can be expected to be...
macOS Malware Feature

Common Windows Malware Can Now Infect Macs

Wednesday July 21, 2021 8:13 am PDT by
A common form of malware on Windows systems has been modified into a new strain called "XLoader" that can also target macOS (via Bleeping Computer). Derived from the Formbook info-stealer for Windows, XLoader is a form of cross-platform malware advertised as a botnet with no dependencies. It is used to steal login credentials, capture screenshots, log keystrokes, and execute malicious files. ...
magsafe battery pack solo

Hands-On With Apple's MagSafe Battery Pack

Tuesday July 20, 2021 11:14 am PDT by
The new MagSafe Battery Pack that Apple debuted this week is arriving to customers starting today and it's also now available for in-store pickup in many Apple retail locations around the world. We snagged one this morning and thought we'd take a look at it to let MacRumors readers know if it's worth the $99 asking price. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. As the name ...
macOS Big Sur Feature Orange

Apple Releases macOS Big Sur 11.5 With Podcast App Updates and Bug Fixes

Wednesday July 21, 2021 10:15 am PDT by
Apple today released macOS Big Sur 11.5, the fifth major update to the macOS Big Sur operating system that launched in November 2020. macOS Big Sur 11.5 comes two months after the release of macOS Big Sur 11.4. The new ‌‌‌‌‌macOS Big Sur‌‌‌‌ 11.5 update can be downloaded for free on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System Preferences. macOS Big Sur...
apple tv 4k design green

Apple Releases tvOS 14.7 for Apple TV HD and Apple TV 4K

Monday July 19, 2021 10:04 am PDT by
Apple today released tvOS 14.7, the seventh update to the tvOS 14 operating system that initially debuted in September 2020. tvOS 14.7 comes two months after the launch of the tvOS 14.6 update. tvOS 14.7, which is a free update, can be downloaded over the air through the Settings app on the Apple TV by going to System > Software Update. ‌‌Apple TV‌‌ owners who have automatic software ...
ipad pro m1 feature

Apple Releases iPadOS 14.7 With Apple Card Merging Option, Fix for 3.5mm Headphone Jack to USB-C Adapter Bug

Wednesday July 21, 2021 10:18 am PDT by
Apple today released iPadOS 14.7, marking the seventh major update to the iPadOS operating system that came out in September 2020. Apple already released iOS 14.7 on July 19, but for some reason, delayed the iPadOS 14.7 debut until today. The iPadOS 14.7 update can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the new ...