Google Product Announcement Rolls Out Pixel 3, Home Hub, and Pixel Slate
Google took the wraps off a trio of new devices during a New York reveal Tuesday, with its Pixel 3 smartphone in the spotlight.
There was of course a sense of déjà vu for some of the analysts, journalists, and tech enthusiasts in attendance, who have had a field day with the steady trickle Pixel leaks. The leaks were so plentiful, Google cut together in a video clips of tech vloggers gushing about the lack of secrecy to open the event.
But the meta introductory video was not the only way that the announcement was unusual. Rick Osterloh, the company’s SVP of hardware, started off a hardware announcement by touting the company’s advantage in software and A.I., which it says makes its smartphones and other smart devices the most helpful ones out there.
“The big breakthroughs you’re gonna see are not in hardware alone,” Osterloh said. “They come at the intersection of A.I., hardware and software working together.”
Here’s everything the company announced.
Google Product Announcement: Pixel 3
The highlight of the announcement was the new Pixel 3, which integrates some surprising new camera features and Google Assistant. It’s the first smartphone that ships with the company’s powerful Google Duplex A.I. that can book appointments and take calls on your behalf.
Touting its design, the Pixel comes with a swanky matte finish and an all glass back to avoid finger prints. It’ll come in three colors: Black, white, and third color dubbed “not pink.” It’ll start at $799, begin shipping on October 18, and comes with a 5.5-inch display with dual speakers on the front, as well as a second front camera for better selfies.
The Pixel taps Google’s A.I. to introduce some pretty fun looking camera features. Top Shot, for example, lets you take images in bursts and knows how to “spot a good photo when it sees it” by recognizing things like smiles and sneezes. A similar combination of burst shots and A.I. will allow you to take high res pictures when you’re zooming and at night without using flash. As expected, an extra front-facing camera enables something called Group Selfie Cam, which lets you take selfies that capture about 184 percent more than the iPhone XS, the company claims.
As for its other features, Google Assistant has a lot to offer you can’t get with Siri, the iPhone’s voice assistant. Unlike Siri, it doesn’t require you to bundle commands ahead of time in order to do more complex interactions, for example telling it to walk you through your morning routine. It will also introduce an envy-inducing new spam protection feature, which taps Duplex to accept calls on your behalf and make sure you’re not getting a telemarketer.
Google Product Announcement: Google Pixel Slate
Google also introduced the Pixel Slate, a powerful new tablet that can be converted into a laptop with a snap-on keyboard purchased separately.
“We designed Pixel Slate to be both thin and light,” Trond Wuellner, Director of Product Management, said, calling it “the best entertainment experience you can hold in your hands.”
To achieve the better entertainment experience, the display incorporates 293 pixels per inch, for about 6M pixels total (most of the iPads, for comparison, are 264 ppi). The Slate also uses front facing speakers to achieve a “surprisingly big sound.”
As for cameras? The Slate will come with 8MP front-facing and rear cameras, which also come with portrait mode and a wide angle lens and sensor that’s designed to help with video chats. The power button doubles as a fingerprint scanner.
Lastly, the Slate also incorporates Chrome and the Google Suite, which is where Google users unsurprisingly spend the most time. It’ll start at $499, while the keyboard will ship for $199, and the pen will ship for $99. All of them will be available later this year.
Google Product Announcement: Google Home Hub
The first product Google announced actually wasn’t its new smartphones, but its new smart home device the Google Home Hub. VP of product management Diya Jolly touted the company’s successful early foray into smart home technology, an increasingly crowded category, by announcing that the number of queries to its smart home devices has risen by more than 400 percent in the last year.
As the name implies, the Hub is meant to be kind of a one-stop-shop that lets you control all of your other smart home technology. It also uses voice recognition technology, so that each member of the household can have a personalized product. Mark Spates, the company’s head of smart speakers, emphasized how it’s the “best” display made for the kitchen, effortlessly talking through recipes and cooking demonstrations.
Google Product Announcement: Pixel Stand
Lastly, the Pixel Stand is Google’s first wireless charging station that will come retrofitted with built-in A.I. capabilities. When users place their phone down they’ll have access to a Google Assistant interface that allows them to interact with the phone even when it’s charging. It’ll start at just $79 and will be available at the same time as the Pixels.