Photos: First look at the Google Pixel phone and other new hardware
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The Google Pixel
Arguably the most exciting announcement at today’s Made By Google event was the Pixel phone. It sports a number of features, including:
- A 12.3 megapixel camera, which received the highest ever DXO Mark rating of any smartphone. It comes in at an impressive 89–three more points than the iPhone 6.
- Smartburst photo technology, which will automatically use the best of a series of burst photos.
- HDR+ with zero shutter lag
- Free unlimited Google Cloud storage for full-resolution photos and videos
- Google Duo, a video calling application that will work with Android and iOS devices
- 15 minutes of charging for 7 hours of battery life
First to update
It’s Google’s flagship phone, so of course it’s going to be the first device to get the latest Android updates. They’ll also be downloaded in the background and installed automatically when your phone restarts.
Google is taking a page from the Amazon Fire Phone’s playlist and offering on-demand live support for Pixel users.
Contextual assistant suggestions
Google’s new Assistant, which will be initially exclusive to the Pixel, will take on-screen information into account when giving results. In this case, Google’s Brian Rakowski is getting directions to a music venue based on the location of a restaurant he just searched.
Pixel is Daydream ready
The Pixel is the first phone launching that’s designed for Google’s new Daydream VR product. It’s made to fit right into the headset and is calibrated for use as a VR device.
The pixel will come in a 5″ and 5.5″ screen version.
The Pixel is available for preorder starting today, with units shipping on November 4th. Bad news to anyone not on Verizon: The Pixel is exclusive to Big Red, at least for now.
The smaller of the two Pixels will cost $649, or $27/month if purchased from the Google store. These prices are only for the US, and Google didn’t state a price for the larger model.
Daydream View headset
Google’s Daydream View headset is “taking a different design approach,” according to Google’s Clay Bavor. Despite the enthusiasm, it looks pretty much the same as other mobile VR headsets.
Daydream View materials
There are some differences in the Daydream View’s construction. It’s made from fabrics and microfiber, which makes it 30% lighter than comparable models. It also connects wirelessly to any inserted phone, which Google boasted as being an “it just works” feature.
The View comes with a wireless controller that has all sorts of motion sensors in it.
Adding remote storage to the headset was a good design choice for Google: Losing it would mean the loss of its essential control element.
Street View in 3D
Google Street View is one of the apps that will be configured for Daydream right away.
YouTube Daydream videos
Google is creating a series of exclusive 3D videos on YouTube that will create interactive experiences. Museum exhibits and other learning tools will be available in a personal, dynamic form.
There are a number of educational apps that will be formatted for Daydream, including one that allows you to check out star maps in 360 degrees of immersion.
Gunjack 2 by CCP
There will be games, too. Demonstrated here is Gunjack 2 by CCP, the same studio that created Eve Online.
Google announced one of many future VR partnerships to come, and it’s an exciting one: Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them will be launching a 3D app for Daydream. It will involve using the remote to cast spells–I for one definitely want to try it.
Daydream View colors
The view will launch with three color choices. Google said they plan to make more available in the future.
Daydream View pricing
The View will only cost $79, but you’d better have a Daydream-enabled phone. The Pixel is the first to launch, but Google promised other devices will be compatible as well.
Also previewed was Google’s answer to Amazon Echo: Google Home.
It’s a voice-enabled unit just like the Echo: Just speak the familiar “Ok, Google” to start. When it’s listening a series of LEDs will light up on the angular top, which is also a touch panel where you can control volume, playback, and listening.
Google Home also has a button which will stop it from listening–handy for those concerned about privacy.
Google Home colors
The home will come in a variety of colors, giving you the option to make it match or clash with every room in the house.
Home features a three-speaker system under the hood, which they say provides amazing sound quality.
Home's intuitive listening
For those of us who actually want to have more than one Google Home unit, they’ll all play together to listen and respond with only the closest unit.
Google Home music services
Google Home answers questions, gives a summary of the coming day when you say good morning, and it plays back music from your favorite provider–that is if it’s pictured here.
Google Home IoT partners
A smart home controller is no good unless it connects to IoT devices. These are the services that Google has partnered with.
Google Home will set you back $129, and comes with a free six months of YouTube Red if that will seal the deal.
The Chromecast Ultra
A new Chromecast was also announced. The Ultra will cost $69.
Chromecast Ultra specs
The Chromecast Ultra boasts some impressive new specs, and it’s still entirely affordable.
Chromecast units will be immediately recognized by Google Home, allowing you to control your television with your voice. You can stop and start playback, find YouTube videos, watch Netflix–and do it all without having to find the remote.
Home Cast partners
Google calls it’s Home-Chromecast interface Homecast. These are the brands that will support it at launch.
Google is also rolling out an all-new WiFi router. It can be purchased individually, or in packs of three for a bit of savings.
Google WiFi coverage
The WiFi units are designed to automatically sync up and create a larger network. No more messing around trying to set up repeaters with old Linksys units!
Google WiFi control app
Google WiFi also comes with a control app that allows you to pause access for individual connections.
Actions On Google
Today’s event may have been about hardware, but it was really all about how Google hardware and Google Assistant are creating a new ecosystem. Actions On Google is Assistant’s ability to interface and call up third party apps, allowing you to do things like call an Uber ride by just talking to your Google Home unit.
Actions On Google partners
Here’s a list of just some of the Actions On Google partners that will be available at launch.