Google's "Made by Google" event received a lot of hype and anticipation as it promised more than just a new product launch.
It was in fact Google's chance to rebrand and reposition itself a serious contender in the consumer electronics space and to show it can compete on hardware as well as software. We expected to see a couple of new Pixel smartphones to replace the outgoing Nexus brand, more information on the company's Daydream virtual reality headset, a new Chromecast streaming dongle, Google Home wireless speaker with the Google Assistant built in, and Google's answer to the Amazon Echo and Google Wi-Fi.
Suffice to say, we got all that, and there was a lot to take in. Fortunately for you, we've rounded up everything that was announced on this page, but if you want to watch the keynote speech again for yourself, you can do.
What is "Made by Google" about?
Google advertised its 4 October event under the tagline "Made by Google".
It's to show that Google is ditching the Nexus brand for its flagship smartphones and that it wants to place greater emphasis on hardware. Up until now, Google has sourced third-party manufacturers to make most of its products, for it to then install its software. What Google now wants to do is have more of an input into the hardware itself so it can fully optimise it to work with its software.
Where can I watch the Made by Google event livestream?
The livestream started at 5pm UK time and finished at around 6.30pm. If you want to watch it all again to see Google representatives show how to use all the products and software announced, you can do so on YouTube or by clicking play on the video below.
Google has also launched a new website specifically for the event.
What did Google launch at the Made by Google event?
Google Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones
Google unsurprisingly launched two new smartphones at the event: the Pixel and Pixel XL. The two phones were subject to numerous leaks in the days, weeks and months leading up to the event, so we already had a good idea of what to expect. Needless to say, both Pixel smartphones look incredible and we can't wait to get them in for review.
The Pixel is the smaller of the two smartphones, with a 5in full HD AMOLED display with 441ppi (pixels per inch), while the Pixel XL gets a 5.5in 2560x1440 Quad HD display with 534ppi. Both screens are protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 4 and both get treated to full metal bodies with a glass panel covering the top third of the rear. This glass panel is where you'll find a fingerprint scanner.
Both phones come with a 12-megapixel rear camera with f/2.0 aperture and 4K video support and an 8MP snapper on the front. They'll both be available in three colours: Quite Black, Very Silver and Really Blue. The Pixel has a starting price of £599 while the Pixel XL will be more expensive, starting at £719. Both will be released on October 20.
As well as outline its Daydream virtual reality platform in more detail than before, Google unveiled its own VR headset due for release in November.
Google Daydream View is a similar device to other mobile headsets in that it houses a phone, but will only work with Daydream-ready handsets. At present that's just the Pixel and Pixel XL.
It also differs from peers in that it is covered in material, not just plastic, for a more comfortable, less geeky feel. Whether that comes across is debateable as, from where we're standing, it looks a bit like a pair of socks, but at least it is different.
The headset and dedicated remote control will retail for £69 in the UK, $79 in the US when they are available next month.
The Daydream platform will also be adopted by other manufacturers when they introduce compatible handsets, so you will be able to find VR content more easily than before. Apps and videos will be available through a one-stop, dedicated hub.
- What is Google Daydream and when is it coming?
- Google Daydream View review: A Pixel-perfect VR experience?
4K Chromecast Ultra
With 4K video hitting the headlines it made sense for Google to jump on the bandwagon with a 4K Ultra HD-ready version of its Chromecast streaming dongle. What's more, it announced that there will be movies on its Google Play store that are in 4K to view on it.
The Chromecast Ultra, which looks like the current Chromecast 2, will also stream UHD content with HDR and even Dolby Vision picture tech if needed. And other content providers' 4K videos will be compatible too.
It'll be available from November in the States for $69. Current thinking is that it'll cost £69 in the UK, but might be a little lower.
Google announced an Amazon Echo-like device called Google Home in May, and then at its Made by Google event, it announced when you would be able to get your hands on the speaker.
Google Home is a Wi-Fi enabled, voice-activated speaker that works as a smarthome control centre and an assistant for the whole family. You can use it to play entertainment throughout your entire house, manage every-day tasks, and ask Google what you want to know. Google Home also acts as a Chromecast Audio receiver. The device itself has interchangeable bases available in various colours and finishes.
Underneath that swappable shell there is a speaker that can playback songs and allow Google Assistant to talk to you. The speaker features dual side-facing passive radiators, which deliver full range, clear highs, and rich bass. At the top of the device there is a capacitive touch display with four LEDs. You'll use this interact with Home, like trigger the Assistant, adjust volume, etc.
As for buttons, there are none at the top (just dual mics that listen for your voice). There is a single mute button on the shell. Google Home is able to filter and separate speech from noise and offers "best-in-class voice recognition", according to Google.
A big part of Google Home is going to be Google Assistant that powers it. Like Amazon's Echo, it's going to offer a full range of services all powered by your voice and connected into a range of other services and devices. At launch, Google Home works with Nest, SmartThings, Philips Hue, IFTTT, YouTube Music, Spotify, Pandora, Google Play Music, TuneIn, and iHeart Radio.
Google Home is now available for pre-order in the US for $129. It will be in stores on 4 November. It's coming soon to the UK, Google told Pocket-lint, but it's not yet available to pre-order in the country.
Google has announced a new Wi-Fi router at its Made by Google event. Last year, Google introduced the OnHub router with TP-Link and Asus, but this year, Google has made its own device called Google Wi-Fi. Each base station looks like a Scandinavian-style, double-stacked hockey puck that Google described as a "visually subtle" disk.
You can buy multiple routers to form a mesh network. You basically put several of these disks around your home to boost your network, allowing you to get Wi-Fi signal everywhere, from your bathroom to your basement. Think of Google Wi-Fi as an expandable system for better coverage. Instead of one router, multiple routers work together to deliver fast input to throughout your home, Google said. It's basically a modular system.
Google Wi-Fi has a feature called Network Assist that allows it to actively manage and optimise your network behind the scenes so you don't have to adjust settings. Google Wi-Fi handles networking automatically, picking channels, etc, and it keeps the signal strong in every corner of your house by transitioning your device to the best router for less congestion and better speed.
Google Wi-Fi will be available for pre-order in November in the US. It costs $129 for one base station or $299 for three and should ship in December. It won't be coming to the UK for now, but Google said it “hopes to make it available in the future".
The Wall Street Journal reported last year that Google is attempting to fold Chrome OS into Android. Engineers at Google have reportedly been trying to combine the two systems over the past three years, with the goal of unveiling a single, unified operating system by 2017.
For instance, more recently, Android Police claimed Google will release a Bison/Pixel 3 convertible laptop in Q3 2017, while 9to5Google said a Nexus-branded, 7-inch tablet made by Huawei will arrive by the end of 2016. Both these devices will run a new OS called Andromeda, which is thought to be the name of Google's hybrid Android/Chrome OS.
We expected to hear more about Andromeda at Google's event but sadly this wasn't the case. If rumours about devices running the new OS are true, we could see a separate event later in the year.
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