The holiday season is just around the corner, and all the biggest tech companies are lining up to be at the top of everyone’s wish list. Google is the last of the bunch, and boy did they make a big effort Wednesday, with a huge slew of new devices.
The most notable newcomers are the Pixel 2 and the larger Pixel 2 XL, follow-ups to Google’s first generation Pixel smartphone.
The phones face tough competition from the new slate of Samsung smartphones announced in August and the new line of iPhones announced just a few weeks ago. We take a look at all the new devices and where they stack up on this episode of Geared Up.
Like the new phones from Samsung and Apple, the Pixel offers an edge-to-edge display, an advanced camera and a slick design.
But, as Geared Up co-host Andru Edwards points out, what will really set the phones apart from one another is the software, and Google is going all-in with machine learning and artificial intelligence to drive some cool features.
The Pixel 2 starts at $649, $50 less than the comparable iPhone 8 and $75 less than the Samsung S8. The Pixel XL, though, retails for $849, a bit more than the S8 Plus and iPhone 8 Plus models, but without the add-on features those phones come with.
But the star of the show for GeekWire’s Todd Bishop was a smaller announcement: Google Clips, an AI-fueled hands-free camera that uses machine learning to automatically recognize what’s going on and take pictures of — theoretically — what you want to see.
This announcement is unlike anything else on the market and could prove to be a popular gadget come gift-giving season. But Andru points out that the camera’s high price — $249 — and its small size could avert potential customers.
The smart home was also on Google’s mind over the past year. The company announced two new smart speakers at the event, one larger and one smaller than its original Google Home. Both are powered by Google’s smart assistant.
The Google Home Mini is comparable to Amazon’s Echo Dot, and runs at the same price: $45. The Google Home Max, on the other hand, is billed as a high-end audio device, larger than the home and with more sound capabilities. It’s comparable to Apple’s upcoming HomePod, but will run about $50 more at $399.
Google also took a bit of a strange angle with its new Pixelbook notebook, a device with a premium cost — $999 to $1,600. Todd and Andru agreed the price is ridiculous for a notebook that runs Chrome OS, essentially a web browser.
While the laptop can be loaded up with Linux, they still don’t see this one being particularly popular.
In other news, Sonos announced a big new partnership with Alexa. The company launched a new speaker with Alexa built in, which will retail for $199. Google Assistant will be coming to the device next year.
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