Ironically, Google Hardware revolution happened on Sept. 4, 2016, right a month after new Apple phones were released on the same date of August. Pixel phones did turn out to be a direct competitor to iPhone 7 as also shown by various specs comparison during the launch event. Our focus today will be on the ‘Made by Google’ products like the Pixel, Google Home, Google Wifi router, and Daydream VR.
Google Sept. 4 Event
The event marks the company’s official breaking into the hardware world. Nexus phones previously made by Huawei and LG before that will be discontinued. The new Pixel phones, cozy Daydream VR headset, and Google Home exclusively offered by the tech giant’s own production line. Pixel phones are promising, but the biggest takeaway is that all of the newest products are #MadebyGoogle.
DXO Mark is an industry group that rates camera quality of all the popular DSLRs and smartphones. Pixel cameras received a rating of 89, the highest of any smartphone camera available in the market. In a recent claim, the tech company reinstated the supremacy of Pixel camera by showcasing a photo gallery.
Keep in mind; we are only reviewing the new features that Nexus phones don’t have. The design has Pixel phones have been revitalized by the rear glass panel embedding the fingerprint sensor and the cameras. The camera bump, seen in nearly all the phones, has been flattened down completely while the AI-first conjecture has been manifested with the first built-in Google assistant. Here are the other bold features.
- 3-megapixel camera with smart-burst and HDR+
- Google says it has the fastest capture time than any smartphone camera
- Incredible video stabilization
- Built-in Google photos, with unlimited storage of high-quality photos and videos.
- Built-in File transfer tool to share contact, photos, videos, music, text, calendar appointments, and iMessages.
- The company claims 7 hours of battery life with just fifteen minutes of charging
- Automatic background updates
- Screen share
- Brand new range of cases and accessories
- Two screen sizes: Large 5” and larger 5.5”
You can learn more about more features of Pixel Phones here.
CEO Sundar Pichai: “When I look at where computing is headed, it’s clear to me that we heading, evolving moving from a Mobile-first to an AI-first world.” Which is true down to every later. But adding Google Assistant came very late and Siri has been assisting iPhone users all this time so what’s new? If didn’t notice, suggestions by Google Search, YouTube, and other search portals powered by company’s Tensor Flow have improved tremendously. So AI is the big idea and the new Assistant is more intelligent.
In the video demonstration of the Assistant app, the company demonstrated the AI’s smarter cognition and more relative responses to voice commands. Now you can give it commands like…
“Show my photos from last October”
“Play me a song by Lumineers”
…and the Assistant will automatically ransack photos taken on that specific month, and in the case B, it will automatically play the song by the said artist, without you have to choose where to play it. It will intuitively choose YouTube if that’s what you most use most frequently.
The neural network of the Google, the hardware power that drives Tensor Flow and the overall AI logics of the giant search engine, is expanding its capabilities into wider realms of life. So Google Assistant will not be limited to your phone, it is also coming to your home with Google Home.
What is Google Home? Well, the company will tell you otherwise, but it is really an attempt to beat the market of Amazon Echo, which has been a very popular homing device. There are many similarities, like voice commands and smart assistants (Google Assistant vs. Alexa), control home devices, listen to the music, and they can pretty much handle your everyday tasks.
So the actual question is what ‘else’ can you do with the Home that you can’t with Echo? Nothing! That’s true. If there’s really something that is going to make Google Home stand apart is its design and the fact that its AI is more intelligent and also works in phones as well. Additionally, the top surface of the cylindrical device has a touch pad to control pause, volume, or trigger the Google Assistant. It is also more customizable with three fabric bases (Mango, Marine, Violet) while metallic bases are available in Carbon, Snow, and Copper colors.
A mic mute button gives you total control so the product is only listening to the hot words. The speaker is located at the bottom, covered inside the switchable base module which comes in various varieties, including metal and fabric. It supports music services like Spotify, Pandora, YouTube Music, Google Play Music, and TuneIn while iHeartRadio will soon be integrated and Netflix will soon support voice-casting via Google Home. Currently available for pre-orders in the US (Google Store, Best Buy, Wall Mart, Target) The launching price is $129 along with a free 6-month trial of YouTube Red.
Google Cardboard was quite a hit. It sold a lot by it was not very marketable product, so the company decided to make a version that can bring something back to the table. Daydream VR is the first virtual reality Headset by the company that is aimed at racking up some share of the VR market. The wearable device is being passed alongside Pixel Phones because they are Daydream-ready and would probably bring the best of Daydream experience.
Daydream VR is light, essentially made up of light and cozy fabric, comfortable fitting, and lightweight. The latch is simply held closed by an elastic string so the smartphone could be easily inserted and taken out. The entire thing is soft stuff while a central supporting skeleton keeps it in shape and is also the home to a two-in-one smartphone and controller placeholder.
Yes, Daydream comes with a multi-sensor controller and a very efficient one. You can point, swing, aim, and even draw because it is very accurate. Pixel is the first, but Google promises many other Daydream-compatible headphones are on the way. The headphone connects with smartphone wirelessly in the background, so there’s no setting up to do.
What can you run with it? Games, TV streaming, 360 videos and more. The company is bringing entertainment libraries from Netflix, HBO, and Hulu. Moreover, StreetView-based 150 virtual tours have been curated to some of the world’s most amazing places. It is needless to say, YouTube 360 videos will also be one of the shining of the headsets.
All VR headsets have the curse of sweating your face which just accumulates into the headset foaming. But Daydream VR has a solution. The cloth that fits on your face can be easily removed and washed so you can fit it right back, ensuring your hygiene. At the launch time it will be available in “Slate”, but other colors like “Snow” and “Crimson” will also be soon available.
Google Wifi Router
Unlike a single central router, multiple Google Wifi points work together to bring unmatched quality signals to every corner of the home. You can expand the coverage of the routers to an entire building by just adding more devices. Like other devices, it will also be launched in November and will be shipped by December. Single pack wears a price tag of $129 while a three-pack offer comes at for $299.
Priced at $69, Ultra is a premium version of Google Chromecast and of course, it is Made by Google. It is 1.8 times faster, supports Ethernet, can stream up to 4k content with HDR and Dolby Vision support. Google Play Movies and TV will play the central role to boost the sales of the device, offering similar packages like Netflix.
Pixel Phones, Google Home & Wifi router, Daydream VR, and Chromecast Ultra are all just the starting phase of Google’s Hardware Revolution. Since the company has only stepped into the hardware arena, we can expect more intelligent and user-friendly products will be seen in the future.