Google Unveils New Phone, Smart Speaker and an Answer to Apple’s AirPods

Google unveiled a brand new Pixel smartphone, an up to date sensible speaker and an reply to Apple’s wi-fi earbuds on Tuesday, all aimed toward getting folks much more depending on its artificial-intelligence companies.

The Pixel four cellphone guarantees to reply to AI queries even sooner than earlier than, whereas a house Wi-Fi system is getting the AI options for the primary time. The firm additionally unveiled a brand new sensible speaker and wi-fi earbuds, each invoking the AI-powered Google Assistant.

The firm additionally unveiled true wi-fi earbuds, known as Pixel Buds, Google’s response to Apple’s AirPods. The new mannequin, which can go on sale early subsequent yr for $179, does away with the wire that connects the 2 buds. Google additionally launched Nest Mini, the smaller model of its sensible speaker. It comes out subsequent Tuesday for $49. Google’s refreshed Wi-Fi router, Nest Wifi, might be accessible within the coming weeks for $269. A new Pixelbook Go laptop computer goes on sale in January gazing $649.

The Google Assistant, akin to Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa , is now accessible on greater than 1 billion gadgets, together with ones made by different producers. With Google’s personal merchandise, although, the corporate can steer customers to Assistant options much more.

That in flip, might encourage Google customers to work together with different Google companies similar to search and maps extra continuously, feeding into Google’s multi-billion greenback promoting enterprise. More use of the Assistant additionally signifies that Google will get extra information on person preferences and actions to construct its promoting profiles.

Amazon and Google are each pushing their voice assistants onto extra gadgets, although they’ve totally different final objectives, mentioned Victoria Petrock, precept analyst at eMarketer. Amazon is getting a purchasing assistant into each gadget it might probably, she mentioned, whereas Google is amassing extra details about person preferences.

“I think their end game is trying to collect all this data and target you with advertising,” she mentioned.

The “helpful” options Assistant proclaims might make folks much more possible to use it.

“The voice is a whole new way to capture people’s behaviors,” she mentioned.

Assistant has confronted scrutiny this yr after experiences revealed that Google contractors had been transcribing some buyer’s spoken communication with the AI to assist enhance the system. Google has since clarified its insurance policies and mentioned it’ll make it extra specific that folks should give specific permission, or decide in.

Still, many are skeptical of the proliferation of digital assistants in properties and pockets.

With the brand new Pixel, the Google Assistant will full some duties solely on the gadget — so it would not have to watch for solutions from the cloud — permitting customers to make instructions and dictate textual content messages extra shortly.

The Pixel four can have higher facial recognition for unlocking the cellphone with a look. Unlike the prevailing “trusted face” function on Android telephones, the brand new Face Unlock is meant to be safer and simpler to use, matching what Apple and Samsung already supply.

The new cellphone will get a second digicam lens, for higher zooming, at the same time as some Apple and Samsung gadgets are getting a 3rd lens, for wider-angle pictures. True to Google’s deal with AI, the Pixel’s new digicam will acknowledge folks you’ve gotten taken many photographs of earlier than and routinely deal with them in new pictures.

And the brand new cellphone comes with motion-sensing know-how that enables folks to do easy hand-waving gestures to skip songs or change apps with out touching the cellphone.

The Pixel four will carry a beginning price ticket of $799 — $100 greater than the entry-level iPhone 11 — and will go on sale Oct. 24. The bigger XL model will price $899.

Google’s telephones have been nicely reviewed, however have but to make a lot of a splash out there dominated by Apple, Huawei and Samsung. In truth, Google’s {hardware} merchandise have by no means been massive moneymakers. Rather, they provide a method for Google to showcase its money-making companies.

Google launched a inexpensive model of its cellphone, the Pixel 3a, to constructive critiques in May, a pattern that’s sweeping throughout the smartphone market as customers maintain on to telephones longer relatively than purchase new, costly fashions. Google hinted the pattern might proceed, however supplied no particulars.

“We see that being a really great long-term opportunity, both for our users and for us,” mentioned Rick Osterloh, senior vice chairman of {hardware} at Google.

Google {hardware} crew, together with many former Google Glass engineers, work from a light-filled, architecturally spectacular constructing close to the corporate’s important campus in Mountain View, California. The constructing is full with a “color lab” for locating the right gadget hues, a supplies library for all types of elemental inspiration and a small mannequin store to construct gadget prototypes on web site.

“We started by defining what it feels like to hold Google in your hands,” {hardware} design govt Ivy Ross mentioned. “The good thing about coming a little bit late to the hardware arena is you get to stand back and look at everyone else.”

One of the challenges this time round was discovering a method to make the merchandise extra sustainable, a feat particularly notable on the Nest Mini, which has a “fabric” casing fabricated from yarn created from plastic water bottles.


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