The seriousness of Google’s hardware ambition was brought to light at the Hardware announcement event on the 4th of October. They announced a change in direction in terms of the even plane of processor performance that is offered by most brands these day. The idea that their offerings are aligned under the integration of hardware and software now takes a step further to add machine learning or AI as the answer to making great products.
As CEO Sundar Pichai puts it “In an AI first world, computers should adapt to help people live their lives,” before unveiling a range of devices that do just that! With the idea that form follows function, these Made by Google devices are meant to be as beautiful as they are useful. Here’s a list of everything from the google event.
Let’s talk Mini and Max
After the very quiet albeit, really cool announcement of the new Echo devices from Amazon last week, we’re being given the gift of a better system in terms of AI and hardware, so here’s the different kinds of Google Home devices at different price points.
The Google Home Mini is just a smaller, more compact, and cheaper Google Home set up to compete with Echo Dot. It comes in a minimalist design that looks very closely like a cloth pebble in three colours: Chalk, Charcoal, and Coral that will retail at $49 in the US.
While the Google Home Max is a power-packed performer that goes the other way from the Mini, a speaker that automatically tunes to the space in your home. The machine learning involved adjusts to create the best sound for the room and the position that you’re in. Adding Voice Match to the Home system brings the ability to recognise multiple distinct voices automatically… Shows just how far machine learning has come and Google has had the advantage of having invested in it for the longest time, to now see exceptional results.
On the 4th, Google announced the second generation of the Daydream View offering a lot more in terms of content. Still called View, not View 2, it gives a better overall experience with a device that feels more secure, with a wider field of view to fit your face, and comes in co-ordinated colours to the remote, including a very lively Coral, Charcoal and Fog!
Meet the Pixelbook
Finally, the Chromebook gets an upgrade with a thoroughly modern and competent laptop. Google introduced the Pixelbook a two-in-one high-end device with a 12.3” inch screen that rotates a full 360degrees to become both a laptop and when flipped over a tablet. The Pixelbook supports Google Play so all your favourite apps are available at your leisure. It’s also the first device to have the Assistant built-in to wake at the usual ‘Ok Google’ summons or you can use the dedicated key. Adding one more piece of cool machine learning based hardware, Google debuted the Pixel Pen. A pressure sensitive stylus that along with writing and drawing also triggers and then works to communicate with the Assistant on the Pixelbook. A great addition to the Pixel Family indeed!
2017’s most awaited Pixel
After debuting one of the hottest phones of 2016, with a camera that got a DxOMark score of 89, the Pixel was Googles best smartphone yet. So they went and outdid themselves this year with the Pixel 2. Taking machine learning to new highs, with the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2XL, Google has improved on the original Pixel and Pixel XL with intuitive tech additions like squeeze to turn on Assistant, added waterproofing (finally) taken out the headphone jack (oh one more has joined the Apple hosts) and added a host of lil surprises. The 5” Pixel 2 comes in Kinda Blue, Just Black and Clearly White, while the 6” Pixel 2XL comes in Just Black and Black & White (most accurate colour names for phones yet). But this phone is taking it to the next level with the camera again. Identical in theory, they’re also designed to enable AR and VR into a real-time experience. There’s only one camera at the back though. This is to showcase the brilliance of Machine learning, as it takes Portrait Mode shots with a special sensor that adds depth to the picture. This set is also inbuilt into the front camera giving you portrait style selfies! The camera comes in with a staggering DxOMark score of 98 making it the best in 2017.
You’ll want these Buds
Wanting the Assistant to be everywhere, but also taking out the Headphone jack, Google added one more distinct member to the Pixel family, the wireless Pixel Buds (but still connected to each other so you don’t lose them). Control your music experience with taps and swipes or long press to talk to Assistant, the buds also have Google Translate built-in with the ability to translate in real-time.
Clip and Go
This fascinating digital camera is meant to take the pictures you miss. A 2” square that you can turn on and forget is there that uses machine learning to capture the candid moments scattered throughout a day. It has a 12 MP sensor with a 130 degree field of vision. Unfortunately, it’s so tiny they couldn’t fit a mic in there… I guess they had to leave something for the next version after all!
That’s all folks
Innovation that meshes Hardware and Software with AI is what Google is looking to as the future, that means bringing a lot of new things forward, and all this new definitely demands our attention.