Earlier today Google announced the Pixel phones, Google Home, Google WiFi, a new VR headset, and some updates to the Chromecast. A common theme throughout all of the product updates is that the "G" logo is in, and everything is Made By Google. While Google technically isn't manufacturing the hardware, they are designing and developing new core products to help build a new ecosystem. In the past, Google leaned heavily on its hardware partners, and instead focused on it's software. Now it's taking back the reigns and it all starts with the Pixel.
The Pixel and Pixel XL are the first phones that are Made By Google and are the new flagship product for Google. Regardless of this new moniker, the hardware is truly manufactured by HTC. With that said, HTC’s name is nowhere to be found because although they built it, Google did all the design and legwork. At first glance, the Pixel phone looks like an iPhone, an HTC 10, and the Honor 8 had a baby. It looks, from a design standpoint, just like another phone but I will reserve all judgments until the phone is actually in my hand. With that said, I do have to call out that massive chin. I mean, really?!
Google claims that their new camera on the Pixel is the "best camera on a smartphone to date." Well, that's a pretty bold claim that just about EVERY smartphone manufacturer these days say about their device. To be fair, the spec sheet says that this thing delivers. The rear camera is 12.3MP with an f/2.0 Aperture. Everything I've heard so far says that this isn't a far fetched claim, but I am really curious to see how this stacks up against the iPhone 7 Plus. Expect to see that comparison once ours arrives.
Finally, the Pixel and Pixel XL will be running similar specs except for the size of the device (Pixel = 5” and XL = 5.5”) and the size of the battery.
- Snapdragon 821 (first smartphone to use this)
- 4GB RAM
- 32 or 128GB storage
For a full specs list, go to https://madeby.google.com/phone/specs/.
I am excited to try out some of the newer software features like Google Assistant and Android 7.1 Nougat. Look for more coverage on the Pixel phones once we get our hands on them.
Speaking of Google Assistant, Google spoke more about their new Alexa competitor, Google Home. Home works with the new Google Assistant to help make your life easier. It works well with just about all of your smart tech and can turn things on and off with simple voice commands. It’s Alexa with the power of Google, which has lots of room for some great home automation and assistance. Candle jokes aside, the Google Home actually looks sleek and modern and with the interchangeable base plates, you can customize your Google Home to your liking.
Google also announced two other Home products that are variations or upgrades of past products. The Chromecast Ultra upgrades the existing Chromecast to support 4K streaming content from apps like Netflix, VUDU, and YouTube. It will also be releasing 4K movies within the Google Play movies store.
Google WiFi is something that I was actually VERY excited about because I suffer from poor wifi in certain areas of my house (aka dead zones). I have a few different smart routers, including last years Google OnHub. Google WiFi is very similar to that of Eero or Luma mesh routers. You will have one base with up to 2 additional bases connected to each other and placed throughout your home. The OnHub router is great but I am excited to make it even better with the addition of Google WiFi. One base will cost you $129, which you CAN connect to your existing OnHub router; or you can get the 3-pack for $299. These prices are definitely much more reasonable than the Eero, which is $199 for one and $499 for 3.
With Made By Google, you can now establish your connection, and experience your content all using first party hardware. Google Home can connect and manage all of your devices while assisting you in your everyday life. The Pixel phone puts all of that in your pocket, and the Chromecast Ultra pushes it to the big screen. Even though we may have neglected it a bit, the Daydream View is your lens into another world. It really does stand out among other VR headsets due to it's ease of calibration and comfort (it's almost entirely made of fabric).
Most of these devices will be available in the coming months. As we receive these devices, we'll be sure to provide full reviews and impressions, so stay tuned!
Which product are you most excited about? What do you think about Google dropping the Nexus name? Do you see yourself picking up a Daydream View? Sound off in the comments below!