Google today held its annual hardware event in New York City, and this year’s keynote saw the launch of its next generation Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL smartphones. At the event, the search giant also announced the Pixel Slate, with runs on Chrome OS, Home Hub – a smart speaker with a built-in video screen, and the Pixel Stand – a wireless charger that turns the Pixel 3 into a Google Assistant-enabled smart speaker as well as a photo frame. Here’s a quick recap of everything that was announced:
Google hardware event 2018: Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL
As expected, Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL have been made official. Called the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, the most visible difference between the two, apart from size, is that the Pixel 3 XL has a notched display. Both sport the same Snapdragon 845 processor, 4GB RAM, 64GB or 128GB storage, OLED displays, wireless charging, a single rear camera, dual 8MP front cameras, Android 9.0 Pie, water resistance, and dual front-facing stereo speakers. The Pixel 3 series succeeds the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL.
During the event, Google spent a lot of time on the phone’s camera software. For instance, the Pixel’s “Top Shot” feature helps users to get the best versions of their shots. Then there is something called “Super Res Zoom”, which essentially combines the cameras on the device and software to take higher quality zoomed-in photos. There’s another software mode introduced, called Night Sight that basically brightens nighttime photos without the need for flash. Google said the Night Sight model will be coming to all Pixel phones soon. Group Selfie feature has also been introduced.
In addition, Google demoed a feature called “Call Screen”, a software trick that will use AI and machine learning to answer calls that the phone things are spam.
The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL will be made available in India from November 1. The Pixel 3 starts at Rs 71,000 for the base variant, while the Pixel 3 XL costs Rs 83,000 for the 64GB storage model.
Google hardware event 2018: Pixel Slate
Google is once again making a tablet, but this time the company has taken a slightly different route. Dubbed the Pixel Slate, Chrome OS-powered tablet comes with a detachable keyboard. Think the Pixel Slate as an alternative to Microsoft’s Surface Pro and Apple’s iPad Pro.
The tablet has a high-resolution display, and features front-facing and rear-facing camera with a Portrait mode, two front-facing cameras, a fingerprint scanner, and a new keyboard cover with a kickstand.
It runs Chrome OS, which the company claims is optimized for this machine. The user experience is close to a full-blown desktop machine, with the base variant powered by an Intel Celeron processor; meanwhile, the top-end model is powered by an Intel 8th generation Core processor with 16GB RAM.
The Pixel Slate will go on sale in November in a handful of markets starting at $599, while the Slate keyboard will cost $199, and a stylus that will cost $99. All this makes the Pixel Slate an expensive machine at the end of the day.
Google hardware event 2018: Google Home Hub
Google unveiled a new type of smart speaker in the form of Home Hub. It’s similar to Amazon’s Echo Show and the recently announced Facebook Portal. So essentially, Google Hub has a 7-inch touchscreen display mounted on a speaker base. It’s powered by Google Assistant, which means users can control lights in the home, ask recipes, play videos, display photos and a lot more. However, unlike similar devices, Google Home Hub does not feature a camera. It’s available in the US at a price of $149.
Google hardware event 2018: Pixel Stand
Last but not least, Google announced a wireless charging stand that appears to be the most innovative device the company has ever created. It is a wireless charger, but, it turns the Pixel 3 into a photo frame or Google Assistant-powered smart speaker. Moreover, it can even switch the phone into Do Not Disturb mode when it’s docked at night.
Google says the Pixel Stand also works fine with the Assistant, meaning you can still use “Hey Google” commands when the phone is docked. The Pixel Stand is coming to India on November 1 at a price of Rs 6,900.
Disclaimer: The writer is in New York on the invite of Google India
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