Google made some pretty big announcements. But this wasn’t exactly “news” as most of the products had been leaked ahead of the event. One thing that came out of the announcement, however, is that Google also wants to be a gadget company. The gadgets are pretty cool also. They have their new smart speaker – the mini. There’s a bigger one also. They announced their new Pixel phones, a new Chromebook, and a smart set of earbuds. They also announced a smart camera that takes pictures even when you don’t ask it to. That last one might not be the best idea, however. All of these gadgets use machine learning and artificial intelligence. It’s these future-forward technologies that stand to transform how all gadgets work.
The new smartphone from Google runs on Android Oreo and is supposed to have the best camera on a smartphone, ever. The Pixel 2 is designed slightly different from the original with smaller bezels, a streamlined body, and a glass panel on the back where the camera is actually found. The headphone jack is gone also. Google has been talking up the new and improved camera a lot. Which is good news for Google since the camera on the original Pixel received such great reviews. For consumers, this just means that you’re not getting an inferior camera with this phone. You get the same resolution from a 12-megapixel sensor, but you also get a portrait mode. Portrait mode looks a lot like what you can find on the iPhone 8 Plus. You can pre-order both the Pixel 2 and XL today.
A lot of people (including myself) think of Chromebooks as being “cheap”. But the Pixelbook isn’t your typical Chromebook. Google’s new laptop runs on Chrome OS and comes with an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor. In addition, you will get 16GB of RAM, as well as a 2560 x 1700 resolution display. The laptop comes with an all-glass back and a 360-degree hinge that lets you work from whatever angle you need. The laptop itself is just 10 mm thick (which is so tiny!). The Pixelbook starts at $1000. Pre-orders start today, and the laptop will be in stores on October 23.
The Google Home Mini looks really cute. That’s probably not what Google is going for, but that’s what I think of it. It works in the same way as the Google Home, but is only four inches wide. It isn’t a full-blown sound system, but it’s comparable to the Amazon Echo Dot. And you all know what I think about competition. So I’m very happy to see this. It’s also comparable to the Echo Dot in terms of price. It will cost you just $50. And it might be better looking than the Echo Dot.
This isn’t really a surprise, but Google has their own version of “earbuds”. I think this is my favourite announcement from Google today. It’s also a good move since Google killed the headphone jack on the Pixel smartphone. The downside to the Pixel Buds is that they might be a little bit bulky. What’s super cool about the Pixel Buds is the real-time Google Translate which is supposed to let you encounter a foreign language and hear the translation in your ears. The Pixel Buds will cost you a whopping $160, but that’s the same price as the AirPods. They also come with a charging case and go on sale in November.
Last, but certainly not least. Google has gone and made something really futuristic, and maybe a little bit creepy. Google has developed a “cracker-sized” camera which is supposed to know when you want to take a picture. They also know when the lighting and framing are just right to take said photo. All you have to do is set it up, and let Google’s software take the pictures. But this is going to set you back a bit. It will cost you $250, and you currently have to join a waitlist to get one of these devices. Known as Google Clips, these devices will ship in the future. I’m not convinced that this is necessary at this point, but I’m interested to see what comes of this regardless.