Google has just taken a massive step into the ring for tech dominance, adding impressive hardware–the last remaining foothold it needs for a takeover in consumers’ homes.
The Apple fanatics out there can attest: Google Maps is better, their suite of cloud apps works better and Google is the best way to access the unknown. With today’s announcement of hardware, plus their commitment to AI and machine learning, the ecosystem is rounding out in a way that could make Google the top choice, not only for the next phone but a whole lot more.
Speculation aside, Google’s new products confirm many poorly-kept secrets and have been raising eyebrows, even those watching on an iPhone 7.
Google Pixel Smartphone
Available in 5 and 5.5 inch models in 3 colours, the Pixel boasts a fingerprint scanner, impressive battery statistics and a 4K / 12.3m Megapixel camera; the camera is actually ranked as the best mobile phone camera ever. Both phones offer 32GB and 128GB options, though storage will technically never be a problem for Pixel users as Google is offering unlimited cloud storage for full resolution images and 4k videos. Operating system updates happen behind the scenes as the download takes place in the background and installation is automatic on the phone’s next restart. Pre-orders have begun with the base model selling at $649.
Google Daydream VR Headset
Thirty percent lighter and definitely comfier, the glasses-compatible Daydream View headset automatically connects wirelessly to “Daydream-ready” phones. A carry-on remote controls street-views, immersive 360 video games and traditional content like Netflix and Youtube. The headset cost $79 US and is available in 3 colours: Slate, Snow and Crimson.
This is Google’s white cylindrical wifi router which sells in either 1 or 3-packs depending on the size of your home. The device intelligently switches the user to the closest / best signal as they move through the home. A companion app allows you to see which devices are connected and allows you to boot suspicious devices from the network (including your bing-watching teen, or wife, or father). Google Wifi sells for $129 for one or $299 for a three-pack.
As expected, Chromecast got a small update with 4K support, HDR image and Dolby vision. The devices also include an ethernet port built-into its power brick, so you can actually hard-wire in your signal–which makes a lot of sense when supporting 4K video.This one is selling for $69.
At last, the real trojan horse of the family. Google Home was teased back in May 2016 but without any real specs or a price point. As Googles answer to Amazon’s successful Echo, The device can do many of the same tasks such as reciting recipes, choosing and playing music and so on. Google Assistant is integrated here as well, so this device should technically be much smarter than any any competitor, drawing on AI and machine learning engines. The device does include a ‘mute’ button – meant to prevent the device from listening to the room. It also connects and controls your home’s smart devices, assuming there are either Nest, Samsung SmartThings or Philips Hue. It also works with Chromecast and Chromecast audio, allowing you to control your stereo, television and other media and sells for $129.
The real win for Google, however, is the fulfillment of a technology ecosystem that can not only complete with Apple, but also makes its already winning applications that much more powerful. That does however depend on how the reviews go for these products.