Google, the search engine giant, unveiled new smartphones, smart speakers and other gadgets at the Google Hardware Event held yesterday at the SFJazz Center in San Francisco, California. After the back to back events from Amazon and Apple, Google finally unveiled its flagship device, the Pixel 2, along with a number additions to its hardware offerings.
At the hardware launch, Google demonstrated its commitment to making new devices along with new and improved software developments. Marking its second year of manufacturing hardware, Google announced two new Pixel smartphones along with Google Home speakers, a new laptop, a virtual reality headset and wireless headphones. However, this year the focus was not on just the hardware but on a combination of software and artificial intelligence along with a major focus on the hardware side of things. Chief Executive Officer of Google, Sundar Pichai, spent the first 10 minutes explaining the use of artificial intelligence, as well as the transformation of Google into an AI first company. “It’s(AI) radically rethinking how computing should work,” he added.
The two smartphones launched yesterday, Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 Xl, will both use the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processors. Packed with a 4 GB RAM, the latest phones come with a 12.2 megapixel rear camera and an 8 megapixel front camera with a fixed focus. Google also introduced a pretty impressive portrait mode with its single camera. Following Apple’s footsteps, the new Pixel phones have also said goodbye to the headphone jack. While most of the hardware remains the same, the software for the phone is a combination of machine learning, artificial intelligence and contextual data meshing, which makes it a much more connected device. Pixel Buds, Google’s own wireless headphones, are the Android version of the Apple AirPods. Both the phone and the earphones can be charged using a USB-C charging cable. The new phones are available with 64 GB and 124 GB storage.
The technology giant has also come out with a new camera that uses artificial intelligence to capture soundless videos of faces and pets that it recognizes and deems “interesting.” Google Clips is a palm sized device that can capture stills, videos, or GIFs, which can be exported to phones and other devices over Wifi.
The Google Home devices were also launched in two different sizes, the Google Home Mini and the Google Home Max. Both the devices can do everything the original Google Home could, including set timers and reminders, check the weather and convert tablespoons to cups using the inbuilt Google Assistant. The main difference in the new devices is the size. While the Mini occupies the space of a candle, the Max boasts a stereo speaker with two 4.5 inch woofers. Both the devices will add more actions that surround daily routines.
Google’s laptop, Pixelbook, is a 12.3 inch device which does a complete 360 degree rotation and weighs just two pounds. This device supports Google Play and comes equipped with the Google Assistant along with a Core i5 or Core i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM and up to 512 GB of memory.
Google hyped up its hardware products this year making an impressive statement about turning hardware into a real business on a massive scale. According to Sundar Pichai, however, the future for Google is AI.