google pixel

google duplex

After months of leaks, Google’s new products were finally confirmed at the Pixel 3 event today in New York City.  Google unveiled its newest flagship Android phone, as well as a few other devices – including the Pixel Slate and Google Home Hub.  But unlike other Google events, the company announced their new lineup at the top of the hour and then immediately made the products available for pre-order, before the event even finished.  Did you hear that Apple?  I kid, but that’s the way that it should be with any of these events.  People are going to want to get their hands on the products as soon as possible, so why make them wait?  Maybe in the olden days, it built up demand, but now people just get angry.  And then they tweet something bad.

Google Pixel 3

The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are exactly as we had anticipated.  The 3 is a 5.5-inch device, and the 3 XL is a 6.3-inch device. Unlike other smartphones on the market, the Pixel 3 and 3 XL retain only a single camera in the rear; instead, they have dual front-facing cameras for wide angle selfies.  Google is also boasting a bunch of new camera features – including high-resolution zoom, Night Sight low light mode, and a Photobooth mode that automatically snaps photos of people or pets.  We saw this feature originally on Google’s Clips camera.  Google is now branding these new features as “Pixel Visual Core” chip.

The Pixel 3 and 3 XL start at $799 and $899, respectively, at a 64GB configuration, and they come in a new “not pink” color. They’ll also be offered with six months of YouTube Music. Preorders start immediately and will begin to ship on October 18th.  Do I need to make the Apple joke again?

Google Duplex

Google’s controversial Duplex AI voice calling system that was revealed during the I/O conference now has an arrival date – November.  This will become available on a city-by-city basis.  The rollout will be available exclusively to Pixel owners, allowing them to request the Assistant to call and make reservations or appointments.  Google isn’t offering a lot of details on when it will arrive, or which cities will get it first, but start looking out for this feature soon.

What Else?

  • Google didn’t get into a lot about Android Pie features on the Pixel, but there is a new mode that will allow you to place the phone front side down on a surface to automatically silence notifications.  This is definitely a feature that I would like to see in the iPhone.
  • Google has also announced a wireless charging Pixel Stand that will prop up your phone as a standing Google Assistant.  This is going to cost you approximately $79.
  • The Pixel Slate brings Chrome OS to a tablet on a device with a 12.3-inch display and 8MP front and rear cameras. It has dual speakers on the front of the device, no headphone jack, a built-in Titan Security chip, and a fingerprint reader at the top for fast unlock.
  • A new Chromecast is also available for purchase, as well as new $30 USB-C earbuds.  The earbuds will actually come included with the Pixel 3 and 3 XL, but they should also be useful for owners of older Pixel models who aren’t loving the Bluetooth Pixel Buds.