[RECAP] Google's 2018 Hardware Event
Google’s annual hardware launch event happened on October 9. In typically quirky fashion, the event kicked off with a video summarizing all the leaks of product info that led up to the event. Senior VP of hardware Rick Osterloh was the master of ceremony, introducing each product and tying them together with the theme of “help.” Let's see what was revealed and how helpful it will be to you...
We're From Google, and We're Here to Help
The big announcement was the Pixel 3, Google’s latest smartphone; in fact, many reporters referred to the whole shindig as “the Pixel 3 event.” It comes in regular and XL sizes, with 5.5 and 6.3 inch screens respectively. Both screens have a “notch” around the 12.2-megapixel rear-facing camera, an Apple design innovation that forced many app developers to redesign their displays.
Both Pixels are water-resistant, come with 4 GB of memory, and their speakers are 40% louder so you and the whole bus can hear the two free months of YouTube Music that comes with every Pixel. That's helpful, right?
Other helpful touches include “Top Shot” software that helps shutterbugs take better pictures. It can take shots before and after you press the shutter, so you can choose the one with the best timing. “Super Res Zoom” enhances optical zoom to bring images closer with less blurring. “NightSight” lightens dark photos without a flash. All Pixel phones will soon get these software upgrades. The Pixel 3 also has a second front-facing camera just for group selfies (or "groupies", as Google calls them). Google says it captures “184% more of the shot” than Apple’s iPhone Xs.
“Call Screen” is an AI-based feature handles suspected spam calls for you. “Flip to shush” turns off notifications when the phone is turned face-down. Both are helpful.
A new charging dock acts as an alarm, music player, voice assistant, and photo frame. It is a scaled-down version of Home Hub, the next new helpful thing. No doubt this Pixel charger is meant to whet your appetite for a Home Hub.
The Pixel 3 phone starts at $379; the charger is $79. Verizon and Google will sell Pixel phones in red, white, and pink starting October 18, 2018.
Google Home Hub is a smart speaker with a screen, like Amazon Show. The voice-controlled device has a 7-inch touchscreen. It can control smart-home devices, answer questions, display photos, and show videos streamed from the web. That’s all helpful but every smart speaker does the same things. What is most helpful about Home Hub is what it lacks that every competitor has: a camera! That helps make Home Hub $80 cheaper than its Amazon equivalent ($149), and helps allay privacy concerns.
Here's the Pixel Slate, With an Extra Helping of Chrome
The Pixel Slate tablet is a totally new genre for Google. It runs the first version of Google’s Chrome operating system designed for tablets. You can binge-watch Netflix in bed with Slate’s duo of speakers and high-resolution display. Unlike the Hub, it features a front-facing wide-angle camera, I wonder what the wide angle helps. More selfies, I'll guess.
Slate is not another Android device. It runs a full-blown version of Google’s Chrome Internet-centric operating system, of which the Chrome browser is but one component. Slate can run Chrome apps that Android can’t, and do things that the browser can’t. Still, Google expects most users to rely heavily on the browser, so it supports “as many tabs as you want,’ according to the company.
Slate’s physical design is more helpful than most. Its keyboard cover can be locked at any angle, where others tend to lock at just one. The case attaches to Slate’s back with magnets, providing full-spectrum angling there too.
The tablet costs $599, the cover $199, and a compatible stylus is $99; so about $900 if you go all-in. Taking a page from Henry Ford's playbook, you can have any color you want, as long as it's midnight blue.
The humble Chromecast streaming video dongle got a slight redesign that was not worthy of a spot at this new-product event. It still costs $35 and still streams 1080p.
I hope this update was helpful. Your thoughts on these topics are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 10 Oct 2018
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- [RECAP] Google's 2018 Hardware Event (Posted: 10 Oct 2018)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved