Google held a press conference on the 4th of October 2017 in San Francisco, announcing a multitude of products: smartphones, laptop, standalone camera, intelligent headphones, a series of connected speakers and a virtual reality headset.
Far from being limited to smartphones only, Google has proved to be a true manufacturer of products and is positioned as a direct competitor to Apple, Amazon, Microsoft or Samsung.
The CEO of the company, also took the opportunity to reaffirm that Google is now an “AI First company”, in brief a company that focuses primarily on technologies related to artificial intelligence . Google has understood, like its competitors, that this is the crucial area in which it must triumph to secure a dominant position over the next ten years. Artificial intelligence in its various forms plays an important role within each product that it announced.
New Smartphones announced, Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL
The star of the event was the Google Pixel 2 (and its big brother the Pixel 2 XL). They both use a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor with 4 GB of RAM. They have a 12.2-megapixel back camera with autofocus laser and optical image stabilisation. Google has as much emphasised its camera as last year, explaining that it obtained this year a score of 98 on the benchmark DxOMark (against 89 last year). Both smartphones are equipped with a USB-C-type port and are Bluetooth 5.0 compatible, but they do not have a 3.5 mm jack and no wireless charging.
They both feature a nano-SIM slot and an eSIM, which means you don’t need a physical sim card, if your network provider supports this technology. On the Oled screens, the Pixel 2 has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, while the Pixel 2 XL reaches 2880 x 1440 pixels. They are in both cases optimized for virtual reality. Both phones will be available on October 19, 2017 in the US, with 64GB versions of storage for $ 649 and $ 849 respectively, and 128GB versions for $ 749 and $ 949.
Pixel Buds, the intelligent headphones
Google has followed Apple’s footsteps by removing the 3.5mm jack from its phones and creating its own headphones to ensure that its customers are not at a disadvantage. Named Pixel Buds, they have the particularity to directly integrate Google Assistant (just touch the right earphone), and in particular to be able to translate in real time more than 40 foreign languages thanks to Google Translate. A particularly impressive feature (at least on paper). The headphones have a battery life of 5 hours, recharging by USB type-C, will cost 159 dollars and will be available in November 2017 in the United States.
Google Clips, wireless smart camera
The big surprise of the event was undoubtedly Google Clips, a connected camera capable of detecting faces, understanding situations and taking photos alone when it judges that something interesting was happening. The idea is to be able to capture the hidden secrets of your cat or the adventures of your child that can not be filmed spontaneously. To avoid accusations of domestic espionage (and laws against), the camera films without sound. A light indicator also allows those present to know that they are being filmed.
Working with a dedicated application and Google Photos, Google Clips can be fixed or set up anywhere and thanks to machine learning algorithms, will be able to film the “best moments of your life” … Did someone say Big Brother?
Clips has a 12-megapixel sensor, a 130 ° field of view, a 3-hour battery life, an 8 GB internal memory and a shooting speed of 15 frames per second. It will be sold for $ 249.
Google Home Max and Home Mini
The war continues against Amazon and its multiple Echo. Google responds with Google Home Mini, a miniature version of its connected speaker that rivals Echo Dot (and boasts the same price: 49 dollars). It will be available on October 19, 2017 in the United States. Google also unveiled Home Max, a big stereo speaker that is 20 times more powerful than the Google Home standard and comes to oppose Apple’s speaker, HomePod. It will cost $ 399 and will be available in December. To motivate its customers, Google also offers one year subscription to YouTube Red (its video-on-demand service) to each buyer.
The speakers will also benefit from new smart features, similar to what Amazon announced the week before. This includes the ability to pronounce a (customizable) phrase that triggers multiple actions. For example, saying “good night Google” will turn off the lights, turn down the heating, set the alarm clock, etc.
Pixelbook the hybrid laptop/tablet
Google intends to impose itself against its major traditional players. The new Pixelbook can be used both as a laptop, with its keyboard and mouse, but also as a tablet thanks to its rotating screen and a stylus. It boosts a 12.3 “touch screen (resolution not confirmed), weighs only one kilogram and has 10 hours of battery life. It integrates Google Assistant directly into the Chrome OS, with which the user can interact either orally or in writing.
The price of the Pixelbook starts at 999 dollars and rises up to 1649 dollars with the best options: an Intel Core i7 processor and 512 GB storage. Given the limitations of Chrome OS and despite the compatibility improvement with Android applications, this price seems rather difficult to justify.
Daydream View, The virtual reality helmet
The latest product unveiled by Google was a new version of its virtual reality headset Daydream View. This smartphone accessory. It will be sold for 99 dollars, 20 more than the previous version, but benefits from the first echoes of much better ergonomics, better lenses and a wider field of vision. It also incorporates materials that help the smartphone dissipate heat to ensure better performance. What better way to continue the fight against the Samsung Gear VR.
images © Google