Google has been working towards a improved AI for the past few years. Recently the AI beat a champion Go player 4-1. Today the keynote opened with details on the AI and the improvements Google has been making. Machine Translation is near human level and photo recognition is at 93.9%. These new improvements have been incorporated into the new hardware announced today.
Pixel and Pixel XL both include Google Assistant built in, which sounds like it is pre-installed. Not to knock it, I think it is great from trying Allo, but hopefully this is a feature that will be rolled out to other Android devices with 7.1. Between black, white, and limited edition blue colors, everyone should be happy. Google Fi and Verizon are both offering the phone for pre-order. Google Pixel is a 5″ display starting at $649, while Google Pixel XL is a 5.5″ display starting at $769. Both versions are 32GB, but a 128GB version is available for an additional $100.
The camera is 12.3MP, f/2.0 Aperture, 1.55μm pixels beast! It received an 89 DxOMark Mobile score, which is the best-ever. The photos showed were extremely crisp. While I do think camera upgrades are a standard for every new phone, and I expect them to be better for every new release, I still pre-ordered this phone. All Pixel phones also include an unlimited cloud storage for pictures and videos. This was a rumor for Nexus phones back in late may.
“I promise it is not an iPhone,” will be a statement I’m sure that I will be making. It really does look like an iPhone. The body is glass-aluminum with curved edges. Located on the back is a fingerprint scanner. Pixel and Pixel XL both feature an AMOLED screen. USB-C is still he cable of choice, that boasts a 7 hour battery charge in only 15 minutes.
iPhone users that are hooked by the software and the familiar hardware look can transfer easier than ever. Through a Quick Switch Adapter that looks to be included with the phone, iPhone users can transfer “contacts, calendar, photos, videos, music, SMS messages, iMessages and more.” I was surprised by the inclusion of iMessages.
These phones are also Daydream Ready. Which if you pre-order from Google Fi, a promotion code for a free Daydream VR will be sent out in a few weeks.
Daydream VR is built with lightweight, breathable fabric. Which is fantastic, because as much as I love the nostalgia of my View-Master VR headset, it gets a little uncomfortable after using it for a bit. In addition to the headset, a remote is included for gaming and normal controls. No longer is rubbing the side of your Google Cardboard required.When the headset is not in use, the remote stores in the front flap. Daydream VR will be available in light gray, dark gray, and red for $79.
What I thought was going to be cool but not super useful compared to Amazon Alexa turned out to be one of my favorite products released. Google Home can play from Google Play Music, Spotify, YouTube Music, Pandora, and TuneIn. Using more of that new AI, it can return real-time answers and even do translations. Using Google Home more and more will allow it to learn more about your personal life and interact accordingly. This includes alarms, work traffic, upcoming travel, etc.
If you happen to have Phillips Hue, Nest, or a Chromecast, Google Home can control these devices. What sold me was that hooking you can tell Google Home to play something on Netflix, then it will work with the Chromecast you have setup to play the video on your TV without having a phone or computer setting up the cast. This feature was announced as I was saying that I wished that it could play Netflix. It was like my Nexus 6P was actively listening to me… On a side-note, my phone went nuts during the keynote from hearing all the “OK Google” commands.
Google Home ships in 4-5 weeks for $129.
Since I work in the IT field, I am not super excited about these. For most people, this seems like a pretty solid home Wi-Fi solution. Simple access points that you can place around you house and will move clients to the most appropriate Google Wi-Fi point for best performance. The devices will suggest optimizations, including where to move access points for better coverage or speeds and data regarding your ISP. This is communicated through a new app, which includes a pause feature for dinner or bedtime. Google Wi-Fi will be available for $129 each or $299 for a three pack.
At this point, most people are familiar with Chromecast. Chromecast Ultra adds 4K and HDR and some improvements to Wi-Fi. $69 gets you 4K to pair with your Google Home. What else is there to say?