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Google takes aim at Apple, Microsoft and Amazon as it unveils $49 Home Mini smart speaker and $399 'Max' music speaker alongside Pixel 2 handset and Pixelbook 'convertible laptop'

October 4, 2017 3:48 PM
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Google is unveiling a host of new hardware at it's San Francisco office today in a bid to take on everyone from Amazon to Apple and Microsoft.

Among the expected new releases are the Pixel 2 smartphone, the latest Chromebook Pixel, an updated Daydream VR headset, and the $49 Home Mini speaker and $399 Max music speaker.

Sundar Pichai began the presentation by saying it has been 'hard to see the suffering' of the past few weeks, and in particular the Las Vegas shootings, saying our 'hearts and prayers' and with the victims.

Sundar Pichai began the presentation by saying it has been 'hard to see the suffering' of the past few weeks, and in particular the Las Vegas shootings, saying our 'hearts and prayers' and with the victims.

He said the firm was working with disaster relief agencies to help where it could.

Pichai said the firm was 'continuing on its mission to be become AI first'.

'We're bringing on 2,000 very talented engineers from HTC,' Google's hardware boss Rick Osterloh said, before admitting that most smartphones were extremely similar.

'We're taking a very different approach. smartphones are reaching parity on their specs, but AI and machine learning have helped us reimagine our hardware.

'Today we'll show you a family of products that are there when you need them'.

Rishi Chandra of Google's Home team revealed the firm's smart speaker is now able to work out family members from their voice using a Voice Match feature.

The speakers will also be able to use their mobile number for caller ID if they make voice calls using the speaker, and bringing the calling feature to the UK.

The firm also unveiled a new 'broadcast' feature, allowing parents to broadcast a message on all Google devices - to tell kids its time for school, for example.

Chandra unveiled the firm's new 'Max' speaker designed to take on Sonos and other hi-fi firms.

Two speakers can be used together as a stereo pair, and it also has a Google Assistant built in the firm says can hear voices over loud music.

It also introduced a new 'Let's learn' feature to allow children to play games, and is working with Disney, Warner Bros and others.

The speaker is made out of fabric which Google says it developed itself.

It has four hidden LED lights used to communicate, and users can also tap it to pause music.

It has a 360 degree speaker, and will come in three colours - coral, grey and charcoal.

The firm also unveiled a new Pixelbook which it say is the 'thinnest, lightest laptop we've ever made.

Its keyboard can be folded underneath to convert into a tablet, and has a Pixelbook pen.

It also has Google's smart assistant built in, with a special key that triggers the AI, and works with the pen, allowing users to simply circle something on screen to find out more about it.

The main attractions are widely expected to be the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL Android handsets.

Manufactured by HTC and LG, respectively, the handset are codenamed Walleye and Taimen, according to renowned leaker Evan Blass.

The speaker is made out of fabric which Google says it developed itself.

It has four hidden LED lights used to communicate, and users can also tap it to pause music.

It has a 360 degree speaker, and will come in three colours - coral, grey and charcoal.

However the firm is likely to play down these connections, having confirmed in September it will buy HTC's Pixel smartphone division in a $1.1 billion (£0.8 billion) deal to boost its hardware capabilities.

On Monday, Mr Blass claimed a person familiar with Google’s release plans reported they will be released on October 19 for Pixel 2 and November 15 for Pixel 2 XL, with both available for preorder.

He also posted images to his Twitter account the same day, ahead of the official unveiling.

They revealed a new homescreen Google has developed for Android phones.

Google's latest attempt to take on the iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy images suggest that the upcoming device will have a curved screen and a glass back.

However, one thing was notably missing, suggesting Google is planning to follow Apple and dump the headphone jack for the new device.

While last year's XL was essentially a larger version of its smaller relative, Google is believed to be beefing up the internal specifications of the more expensive model this time around.

Its design will feature slimmer bezels while the screen itself, which will be protected by tougher Gorilla Glass 5, is rumoured to be QHD.

It will also feature front and rear cameras with optical image stabilisation.

It may also have 'squeezable' sides like the HTC U11, TechCrunch has reported.

This lets users to press in while holding the device to trigger actions, like launching Google Assistant.

The Pixel 2 is expected to have a lot of the same internal specs, but the screen will have larger bezels and will be FHD, rather than QHD.

The smaller Pixel 2 will be available in Kinda Blue, Just Black, and Clearly White, and will be sold with 64GB and 128GB of storage and in the US will be priced at $649 and $749, respectively, according to DroidLife.

The larger LG-made Pixel 2 XL will come in a Black & White and Just Black and will be available with 64GB or 128GB storage.

The 64GB model will cost $849, while the 128GB model will jump to $949.

UK prices are currently unknown, but they are likely to remain in the same ball park as the first generation Pixel and XL, which cost £599 and £719 respectively upon their release last year for the 32 GB models.

Rumours have been swirling for months about Google's next Pixel smartphones and the tech firm uploaded a short 35 second teaser to YouTube earlier this month, offering eager fans the chance to sign up to receive more information.

The minimalist video, while scant on images, makes some bold promises about some of the features fans can expect.

The cryptic clip shows a user searching for various failings of their own smartphone.

These range from 'what's wrong with my phone's battery?' and 'why is my phone always out of storage?' to 'why does my phone take so many blurry photos?' and even 'why doesn't my phone understand me'.

The marketing ploy suggests that all of these problems will be answered when the new Pixel handsets are finally revealed.

Rumours have been swirling that the event will also see the return of Google's top end Chromebook Pixel line, dubbed the Pixelbook.

Leaked images show a flip around screen, along the lines of Microsoft's Surface tablet, which will allow it to fill the functionality gap between tablet and laptop.

The price is projected at around $1,199 (£900) to $1,749 (£1,300) - cheaper than an entry level Macbook Pro which retails for around $1,499 (£1,150).

A pressure sensitive stylus input device with tilt support and no lag is believed to be available as a separate accessory, retailing for around $100 (£75).

The latest Google laptop is said to come with more storage than any they have previously released.

It will be available with 128GB, 256GB or 512GB of flash storage inside, which would give the base model twice as storage as the previous Chromebook Pixel.

Virtual Reality was built into the last generation of Pixel devices and the Android OS they came with pre-installed.

Google is believed to be updating its Daydream VR headset with some improvements and a slightly bigger price tag.

Daydream is designed as an open platform, so that companies can build their own headsets to run content.

This plugged into a 'view' headset, that allows users to remote control their experience.

This lets the wearer play immersive apps and games in the Daydream app as well as footage from concerts, sports and more in full 360 degree panoramic view.

Source: dailymail.co.uk

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