Google has a new hardware division and Rick Osterloh, the former Motorola chief, is in charge. This hardware division merges Google’s disparate hardware projects to bring more cohesive products that work well together.
Google announced a lot of products today and all of them are made by Google. Nexus phones have been replaced by Pixel phones, Daydream View is a comfortable VR headset that works with Pixel phones, Google Home brings Google Assistant to a smart speaker, Google WiFi is a new router that promises better range and Chromecast Ultra supports 4K and has an Ethernet port. That’s quite a lot.
Pixel phones are actually made by HTC, but there’s no HTC branding. Pixel and Pixel XL are designed by Google and HTC is only the OEM. The two phones share the same premium hardware (aluminum/glass unibody, Snapdragon 821, 4GB RAM, 32/128GB of storage, AMOLED screens, 12MP camera with OIS), but have different screen sizes (5 inch vs 5.5 inch), resolutions (1920 x 1080 vs 2560 x 1440) and batteries (2770 mAh vs 3450 mAh). They have an impressive camera that scores 89 in the DxOMark Mobile test, which is the highest score for a mobile phone. The camera has a fast f/2.0 lens, hybrid autofocus powered by laser detection and phase detection, zero lag HDR+, powerful stabilization.
Pixel and Pixel XL ship with Android Nougat and they’re the first phones that come with Google Assistant, the upgraded voice assistant with a more natural voice, more comprehensive answers and better integration with other services.
“Pixel is available for pre-order today starting at $649 in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Germany and Australia,” mentions Google. Pixel XL costs $120 more, while the 128GB options adds $100 to the price, exactly like the iPhone. Google partnered with a few carriers: Verizon, Roger/Telus/Bell in Canada, EE in the UK, Deutsche Telekom in Germany, Telstra in Australia, as well as a few stores like Best Buy and Flipkart.
Daydream View brings virtual reality to everyone (who has a Daydream compatible phone). “Powered by Android 7.0 Nougat, Daydream-ready phones are built with high-resolution displays, powerful mobile processors and high-fidelity sensors—all tuned to support great VR experiences. Google’s newest Pixel and Pixel XL are the first Daydream-ready phones, and there are a lot more on the way from leading Android smartphone makers,” informs Google. Daydream View is a VR headset and controller that costs $79 and it’s comfortable and easy to use. For now, it’s mainly a Google Pixel accessory and it will be available in November in the US, Canada, Germany, UK and Australia from the Google Store and all the other carriers and stores that sell Google’s phones.
Google Home is a smart wireless speaker with integrated Google Assistant, powerful microphones and noise cancelling technology. It’s always listening to “OK Google” (you can quickly disable this feature from the mute button), it has touch controls, far-field voice recognition, Hi-Fi speakers, multi-room support if you buy multiple devices. It also has customizable bases you can buy from the Google Store. Google Home is a clever voice interface for Google, but also for your other smart devices like Chromecast, Nest, Philips Hue and more. IFTTT will make Google Home automation even more powerful.
After launching OnHub routers manufactured by TP-Link and Asus, Google came up with its own simplified WiFi router. It’s designed to cover a small house or an apartment and you can use multiple Google routers for a larger house. “Network Assist is intelligent software built into Google Wifi to provide you with the fastest possible speed. Behind the scenes, Network Assist automatically helps you avoid Wi-Fi congestion, and transitions you to the closest Wi-Fi point for the best signal.” Google’s new router has a mobile app that lets you quickly change settings and check stats. For example, you can pause Wi-Fi on a device or prioritize a device.
“Google Wifi will be available for pre-order in the U.S. in November. It will retail for $129 for a single pack, and $299 for a three-pack at the Google Store, Amazon, Best Buy and Walmart.”
Chromecast Ultra brings 4K and HDR support, a more powerful hardware and a different charger with Ethernet port. “Chromecast Ultra supports 4K, HDR and Dolby Vision, so you’ll get a crisper picture with higher resolution and more vibrant colors. At first, you’ll be able to stream 4K content from Netflix, YouTube and Vudu, and we’re working to bring more 4K and HDR content on board. Later this year, Google Play Movies & TV will be rolling out 4K content. Chromecast Ultra loads videos 1.8 times faster than other Chromecast devices and includes major Wi-Fi improvements to support streams from full HD to Ultra HD without a hitch,” explains Google. “Chromecast Ultra will be available in November for $69 from Best Buy, the Google Store, Target, and Walmart in the U.S., as well as from international retailers in 15 more countries.”
Here’s the full Google announcement, just in case you missed it: