I attended Google’s launch event earlier today in Toronto where I got some hands-on time with the latest Made By Google Products.

Google showcased its focus on hardware, software, and machine learning earlier today at satellite events in the US and Canada. Focusing on new hardware and technologies, Google demoed its vision for a Google Assistant powered smartphones, notebooks, smart speakers and peripherals.

The company took the wraps off its highly anticipated Pixel 2 smartphone. The devices come in two sizes, a 5-inch Pixel and a 6-inch Pixel XL.

Both devices have identical specs like water resistant unibody construction, quick charge capability (7 hours of use on 15 minutes of charge), 12-megapixel rear-facing camera with a f/1.8 aperture. Users can now invoke Google Assistant by ‘squeezing’ the sides of the Pixel devices.

Last year’s Pixel was already the highest rated smartphone camera so the new Pixels will certainly improve photo quality now that they have active HDR mode as well as an improved colour gamut.

The Pixels will also feature Google Lens, which puts the search power of Google in the camera. Simply take a photo of a flyer or an artwork and Google’s machine learning will find information pertinent to the image.

Google also showed off its new Daydream View VR headsets designed to work with the new Pixels. These are available in new fabric colours and provide an even better fit.

The new Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones from Google have the highest rating of any smartphone camera according to DXOmark

and also added to its Google Home smart assistant family with Google Home mini. Google Home is the only smart speaker that’s designed to work in Canada in both English and French and it will be getting more capabilities in the coming months.

Google Home Mini is a smaller speaker but which has the same features as the larger Google Home devices. It is a great entertainment hub and an accomplished nerve centre for smart home and home automation setups. It will sell in Canada for an SRT of $79.

Attendees were each given a Google Home Mini to test and so far, sound is surprisingly clear and loud given the device’s small size. It sounds just as good as the larger model but less bass response. I predict this is going to be a popular item during the holiday season.

By offering a smaller size and bringing down the pricing, Google hopes to put the Google Home technology into more Canadians’ hands and is even adding features specifically for children to learn, play and interact with Google’s search. A larger Google Home Max, which is a premium smart speaker along the vein of Sonos products was also introduced but will not yet be available in Canada and was not on demo after the show.

Google also revealed an all-new Pixelbook, a premium 4-in-1 notebook that also works as a tablet and even has its own pen. Clearly aimed at popular 2-in-1 devices, Microsoft’s Surface line and even Apple’s 12-inch MacBook, the Pixelbook makes Google a player in the premium notebook game.

Clearly aimed at popular 2-in-1 devices, Microsoft’s Surface line and even Apple’s 12-inch MacBook, the Pixelbook makes Google a player in the premium notebook game. Starting at $1,299, the Pixelbook is clearly aimed at the premium segment.

The device is aluminum and glass and feels substantially sturdy for a convertible device. Pixelbook will also be able to run Android applications natively and some will work even without an Internet connection. The Pixel Pen is co-designed by Wacom and is said to be lag-free and ideal for inking naturally like a pen on paper.

Other surprise announcements included smart Pixel Buds, which are Bluetooth earbuds which also feature the Google Assistant and can even translate 40 languages in real-time thanks to Google’s Translate technology.

Demoed on stage, Pixel Buds facilitated a conversation between a Swedish speaker and someone speaking English. Much like Babelfish from Douglas Adam’s The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Pixel Buds seemed to translate accurately in real-time and without a hitch

Google also revealed a Google Clip, which is a small camera that uses machine learning to take photos and videos of people and things.

Google also revealed a Google Clip, which is a small camera that uses machine learning to take photos and videos of people and things.

Google is clearly reinventing itself as a designer and builder of consumer electronic products and devices that can best package all the technology and innovation they have to offer.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here