On October 4th, Google unveiled their new hardware line, as well as some exciting new software updates. The launch event in San Francisco was on the anniversary of Google’s original Pixel smartphone launch. So fittingly, amongst the slew of new products, the Pixel 2 was announced.
A number of teasers released in the run up to the Google launch had prompted great anticipation for the event. And for good reason – the second generation of the Pixel is a high-end smartphone, and the Google Home Mini is a challenger in the smart-home device field.
Let’s take a look at Google Home Mini first...
You can now have the Google Assistant present in every room of the house – for your kitchen recipe needs, as an alarm in the bedroom and as the voice activation for your Google Chromecast activated TV or speakers.
Key new features include:
- Free calls – direct Google to dial away
- ‘Broadcast’ – send messages such as “Dinner’s ready” to the family through every device in the home
- Voice-controlled Spotify streaming – play, pause and rewind, all hands free.
- Voice recognition – get personalised responses for everyone in the home
- Google Assistant - to tell you about your day, the weather forecast and your schedule
- The ability to add events to your Google calendar
With Google Home Mini’s connection to more smart-home products it gives you ultimate control. For instance, when connected to a smart-doorbell you’ll even be notified of who’s at the front door.
The Google Home Mini is officially released on October 19th but is available to pre-order now at Currys PC World.
Google saved the best to last, with the announcement of the Pixel 2.
A refinement on the original, the Pixel 2 is cleaner and slimmer with three colour options: Clearly White, Just Black and Kinda Blue.
The key selling points of the Pixel 2? Google Assistant and an awesome camera.
With a search engine second-to-none, advances in capable artificial intelligence were highlighted as well as access to other Google specific features including free cloud storage and a new augmented reality platform.
VP of Product Management at Google, Mario Queiroz, says his team has “reimagined smartphone photography.”
The main camera boasts 12.2 megapixels, but Google have emphasized the importance of great software for taking fab photos. The software updates enable:
- Portrait photography, even for selfies – with background blurring and face recognition
- Selection of the perfect shot – a few seconds of video taken when you shoot a photo allows you to eliminate any blinking
- Stabilisation of video shooting
- Recognition of objects and landscapes with Google Lens
Other features include:
- All-day battery life and swift charging capability
- Water and dust resistance
- Always-on display showing the time and notifications
- Now Playing to tell you what’s playing on the radio
- Activation of Google Assistant by squeezing the phone edges
The Pixel 2 has a five-inch OLED display, but if you’d prefer a larger screen, the Pixel 2 XL has a six-inch display that’s rounded at the edges.
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