If you’ve been asleep or under a rock for the past couple of days, it might interest you to find out that the world (of technology, at least) has been fundamentally altered in that time. Google, the friendly Internet behemoth that has so long contented itself with dominating the software space has now entered the hardware market. Well, entered is an understated way of putting it. A more apt way of describing Google’s announcements is a declaration of intent: an admission that the battle now extends beyond the search box in your browser and that the company is comfortable with planting its flag in alien territory in order to compete.
The announcement that’s grabbing all the headlines are the two Pixel phones. The spiritual successors to the Nexus line of devices will come with two screen sizes – 5 and 5.5 inches – and identical specs consisting of a Snapdragon 821 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 32GB or 128GB of storage. It also boasts of other standout features such as 7-hours-in-15-minutes quickcharge capability, the highest rated smartphone camera ever according to DXOMark and unlimited cloud storage for photos and videos.
Slightly neglected amongst the excitement for the Pixel was Google’s new personal assistant appliance. With its troves of user data, near-perfect voice recognition (that can even deal with thick Indian accents) and world-beating search tech, Google is uniquely placed to execute the AI assistant that comes as close to perfect as possible. The device is cheaper than Amazon’s Echo, will integrate with Android devices and the extended Google ecosystem, and prime the company to finally bring AI to the masses.
The Daydream View headset is another sign that Google has grown tired of expecting its hardware partners to pick up on its cues and execute the final product right. Google’s Cardboard program, while a great demonstration of the capabilities of virtual reality, is not the complete article. As for the others, almost a year after the initial flurry of announcements, Samsung, HTC and Sony’s VR headsets are still inching their way towards wide adoption. Expect this new device to kick the market into gear and herald the official opening of the VR era in entertainment.
The second router offering from Google after last year’s OnHub, this new system is a multi-device modular network that’s designed to tackle one of the most fundamental unresolved challenges of the internet era: making your WiFi reach the toilet and the garden. It’ll also feature many smart software features such as Android app-integration, inbuilt Google DNS and cloud support.
Last, and probably the least important (but still useful) new device is an upgraded Chromecast. The new version of the media streaming device will support HDR, Dolby Vision, and 4K content. It also features an Ethernet port and Google Play Movies integration. Netflix, consider this an official notice that shots have been fired.