Google’s October 4 gig: New phones, Alexa rival, 4K Chromecast and a lot more
Last year, Google unveiled its Nexus 6P and 5X smartphones on September 29. And two years ago, it announced the Nexus 6 smartphone and Nexus 9 tablet on October 15.tech Updated: Oct 04, 2016 11:08 IST
Google just turned 18 and it already seems ready to take the fight to rivals like Apple and Amazon -- at least in terms of devices.
The internet search giant, which is about to hold an event in San Francisco just days after Apple’s launch of the iPhone 7 series, often releases new devices at this time of the year. This time it is expected to show off new smartphones and other hardware as well as offer more information about its Internet-connected speaker, a rival to Amazon’s popular Echo device.
Last year, Google unveiled its Nexus 6P and 5X smartphones on September 29. And two years ago, it announced the Nexus 6 smartphone and Nexus 9 tablet on October 15.
The new Pixel range of smartphones
Finally, the company has started taking hardware seriously and probably that is why the change in name from Nexus to Pixel. The Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones (codenamed Sailfish and Marlin), which are expected to debut during the event, will act as Google’s weapon against major players like Apple. Google is yet to gain momentum in the smartphone hardware space.
However, it is believed that HTC is the manufacturer of both the devices. But Google has reportedly maintained tight control over the design and manufacturing process.
The Pixel is expected to come with a 12-megapixel rear camera and a 8-megapixel front camera, dual stereo speakers, a fingerprint reader on the back and minimal (if any) camera bump. There’s a good chance that both the Pixel and the Pixel XL will have an aluminum-and-glass construction, unlike the Nexus 5X phone, which had a mostly plastic body. While the Pixel phone will likely have a 5-inch screen, the Pixel XL will sport a 5.5-inch screen.
The Pixel smartphones are expected to be priced around Rs 43,000 ($649) much lower than Apple’s new iPhone. Google’s earlier set of Nexus devices, Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X, are currently priced at Rs 33,000 ($500) and Rs 23,000 ($349) respectively.
If you for a second thought that Google was not interested in entering your drawing room? Then think again! It would be too stupid to ignore the progess of Jeff Bezos-owned Amazon’s Alexa via Echo.
Google has been working on an answer to Echo and its home speaker, named Google Home, was first showcased at the I/O developer conference held in May. The device comes with a microphone and a Bluetooth speaker, and works as a smart-home device that can perform basic functions like playing music, setting your Nest thermostat or telling you the weather forecast. Home is the company’s first hardware product to include the Google Assistant, intelligent software that can answer users’ questions, keep track of their calendar, and so on.
Pixel 3 Laptop and a Huawei tablet
Well Google’s Chromebooks are nothing new and the company has spoken a lot about their success. It is riding on these success stories and consumer acceptance, the Mountain View-headquartered company is looking to merge Android and Chorme OS and put it as a separate OS in a laptop.
Named Andromeda, the OS is expected to run on a modular laptop. According to Android Police, the project is codenamed Bison and is expected t hit the market late in 2017. There are speculations that the laptop might be announced in a seperate event. Also, the OS is expected to come in Huawei Nexus tablets soon.
Why the new OS? So far, Google has maintained two separate operating systems for its devices: Chrome OS for Chromebooks and Android for Nexus phones and tablets. It’s been inching toward more unity, most notably by bringing Android apps onto select Chromeblooks earlier this month. But Andromeda would be a true hybrid of the two operating systems, unifying the OS of Google-designed phones, tablets and laptops.
A Chromecast that supports 4K
First it helped stream video and then it turned old analog speakers digital. Chromecasts are the company’s most succesful product yet with the search giant shipping 3.2 million Chromecast units during the first quarter of this year, according to a report from IHS.
However, the company is expected to unveil the next generation of Chromecasts that will feature 4K streaming capabilities. Called Chormecast Ultra, the device is expected to be priced around Rs 4,500 ($69).
A new Wi-Fi Router
Google is reportedly planning to introduce a new $129 Wi-Fi router during its October 4 event. Unlike Google’s previous router, the OnHub, this device is said to have multiple access points, allowing several units to be linked together to create one large network.
Google had showcased its progress on virtual reality projects at the I/O in May. It had said that it was working on a separate platform called Daydream which would redefine the space.
However, after that announcement, the company has not shared any update. Under the project, the company is expected to develop a separate VR headset that will not require a phone or computer to power it So far, Google has offered hardware companies a so-called “reference design” for Daydream-ready VR headsets and controllers, as well as a set of standards for smartphone makers to ensure their handsets are Daydream compatible.
First Published: Oct 03, 2016 09:21 IST