Google wrapped up it's #madebygoogle event, but not before unveiling a handful of unexpected items like it's new 'Clips' camera and the rumored earbuds. The long-awaited buds are connected by a cord that wraps around the user's neck and will retail at $159 starting in November.
The controls will be built into the right earbud and can be used with Google Assistant.
Not everyone was impressed by Google's new earbuds, though.
Oh look, Google removed the headphone jack and introduced a pair of proprietary headphones. WHAT A SURPRISE— nilay patel (@reckless) October 4, 2017
Clips is a teeny, hands-free camera that, with an AI engine at its core, " captures the moment so you can be in the moment." The miniature device can be attached onto numerous surfaces and automatically set to snap photos and videos of your life. Anticipating that privacy will be a concern to would-be users, Google's product engineers have ensured that no footage actually leaves the camera without the user downloading it, saving it or sharing it themselves – similar to how traditional point-and-shoot cameras work.
Clips will be available starting at $249.
Meanwhile, the Pixel 2 smartphone will retail starting at $649 and the Pixel 2XL at $849, but still only via Verizon.
As expected, Google unveiled a new version of its Pixel smartphone – the Pixel 2. But now it's official. The phone will come in two sizes: a five inch (Pixel 2) and a six inch (Pixel 2XL).
The phones will bring a handful of sleek updates, including upgraded camera and Assistant features, but "feel free to get whatever size you prefer," Google’s Mario Queiroz said in a playful jab at Apple, "We don't set aside the best features for the bigger device."
The Pixel 2 will come in three colors: kinda blue, just black and clearly white. The Pixel 2XL will come in black, and black and white.
A new improvement to the Google Assistant is the "Active Edge," which lets users squeeze the phone to activate the function. Squeezing it also lets photo takers snap selfies easily.
Another fresh update? Google Lens. Just say "Lens it" to the phone and the new tool lets you find information about anything you can think of like literature, art, music and even more mundane (read: useful) things like emails.
Remember the selfie feature we mentioned? Well, if you're an avid photographer, Google says the new Pixel 2 received the highest DxO score of any smartphone ever with a 98, better than both the Note 8 and iPhone 8. It will also come with a portrait mode function.
Google earlier also announced the new PixelBook, which is Assistant-powered as well, has an “instant tethering” function that lets you connect to the internet via the Pixel phone. It has a 12.3-inch touch screen, is 10mm thick, and weighs one kilogram.
If one Google Home addition wasn't enough, the company also introduced a super-sized Home device called Google Home Max. Retailing at $399, the Home Max is a direct competitor to Apple's HomePod. Max is a powerful Assistant-powered home speaker for music playing that comes with a free subscription to YouTube Red – and it supports third-party services like Spotify.
It will feature a new function called Smart Sound designed to maximize audio quality that lets the speaker adapt to the size and shape of the user's home. It will be available in December in two colors: chalk and charcoal.
According to Rishi Chandar, head of Google's Home team, just as Google used the Pixel to "reimagine the camera," the Home Max will reinvent sound.
Rick Osterloh, Google's SVP of hardware, admits they weren’t first with many of their successful products – such as Gmail and Chrome – but they re-imagined them in a way that made them necessary for people to use.
Speaking of the Pixel phones, which debuted last year, Osterloh said, “I just wish we had a few more to go around.”
It’s worth noting that Google has been pushing to make a dent in the smartphone market for some time with the goal of building “compelling hardware products.” The tech giant has plans to hire 2,000 engineers from HTC – a Taiwanese phone maker – to reach that goal.
However, as Recode’s Peter Kafka tweeted, Google has a ways to go. While Android use has gone up in the U.S., with 53 percent of American smartphone owners using Androids, a scan 0.7 percent have used the Pixel, Recode reports per comScore data.
He said Google is working hard to build out a “family” of products that function at the intersection of AI, software and hardware – echoing Pichai’s words – before introducing Google’s Home team to the stage.
Moments later, they unveiled Google's new smart speaker, Google Home Mini, which the team says first and foremost makes "Google Home more accessible to more people in more rooms of their home." It has all the power of the Google Home, but it is more portable and will retails for just $49, as previously reported.
Here's a screenshot of the Google Home Mini:
The Home Mini, by the way, will come in three colors.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai just took the stage at Google's press event, which is now underway. He opened by expressing sympathy for all those affected by the horrific Las Vegas shooting earlier this week.
The tech company is live-streaming it on YouTube here.
To start, Pichai explained that while the tech world focuses on a mobile-first reality, Google is zoomed in on an AI-first world. Before welcoming Rick Osterloh (Google's SVP of hardware) to the stage, he explained that as a culture we are living in "a unique moment" where combining AI, software and hardware can be leveraged to solve the problems we face.
Google will be holding a press event on Wednesday to unveil a slew of new products and we know what you're thinking – just in time for holiday shopping.
Anyway, some of the more hotly-anticipated items, like the new Pixel phone and the updated Google Home, have already leaked. Not to be outshined by Apple, which also recently held a snazzy press event, Google will be unveiling a new smartphone, the Pixel 2 XL, which will retail starting at $849.
Droid Life reports that the Pixel 2XL will come in black and white and come in 64GB and 128GB storage options. If you opt for the 128GB model, the cost goes up to $949. Google is also expected to unveil a smaller Google Pixel 2.
According to Gizmodo, Walmart (accidentally) posted a product page for the new Google Home Mini, revealing details about what the new smart speaker would look like and how much it would cost.
Here's a screenshot Gizmodo was able to snap before Walmart took the product page down.
The leaked product page shows the new Home Mini will have the same capabilities as the Home, but cost just under $50. Droid Life tweeted a closer up shot of the Home Mini as well.
According to Droid Life, "Pre-orders will cost you $49 and Walmart expects the device to arrive by October 19, which is more than likely the planned in-store day for Google Home Mini." They also snagged a good amount of detailed product shots before Walmart took down the page.
Google is also widely expected to unveil a new set of headphones, but it's unclear whether they will be wireless or connected to a cable. Good news is Google's event is fast approaching, so eager Google devotees will find out soon enough.