Google are trying to move away from providing services you use on other company’s hardware to making the devices you use to access their services.
With a new phone, Wi-Fi device, VR headset, voice-controlled assistant and Chromecast they are aiming to be a part of every part of your home life. Google’s voice-controlled software Google Assistant is being integrated into these devices either directly such as with Google Pixel or via another one of the devices they announced, such as activating Chromecast Ultra through Google Home.
It appears that Google have no problem showing that their targeting rival devices, with the Pixel phone clearly attacking Apple’s iPhone and the Google Home trying to get into homes to replace Amazon’s Echo. It even poked fun at the iPhone 7’s lack of headphone jack when discussing the Pixel phone. We critique of Google for the lack of originality, as nothing it has coming out is particularly mind-blowing but it is making devices with features that it feels people are missing from rival companies. We’ve had some hands-on time with some of the devices and we’re ready to let you know the essential information.
1. Google Pixel
They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but Apple may not like what they see. Google hasn’t just copied and pasted the iPhone and given it a different logo, they it has tweaked the concept and added features to target those who were put off by the iPhone 7. The Pixel has a five-inch screen (441ppi) and the XL has a 5.5-inch display (534ppi), they come with either 32GB or 128GB of memory. Inside there is 4GB RAM and a quad-core Snapdragon 821. While more android phones and even apple have included dual lens cameras, Google has stuck with a single 12MP f/2.0 lens at the rear and an 8MP at the front. The Pixel is a phone you can control entirely with a single hand. With some devices certain acts require you to hold the phone with one hand whilst making gestures with the other. With the convenient placement of the touchpad on the back, with the Pixel we could unlock the phone, scroll through websites, turn on the camera and access the assistant all without having to use a second hand.
A serious Siri competitor. Google Assistant is accessed by saying “okay Google” or by holding the home button. It works intelligently, you can ask it how to get home and then a follow up question can be asked without having to preface it. You can also ask it questions based on what is on the screen and the assistant will recognise what you are referring too.
3.Google Chromecast Ultra
For those unfamiliar with Chromecast, you plug it into your TVs HDMI input and you can then stream from video sites such as Netflix or YouTube using the companion app. If a service isn’t available then you can display what is on your devices screen through Google Chrome. The Chromecast ultra has been given better hardware to make it faster and is capable of 4K streaming with HDR support. There is an input for Ethernet, for 4K streaming this is a great to ensure the picture quality is at its best and it provides a more reliable connection. It will also work with Google home when it launches.
4. Google Home
Google’s intelligent assistant has a modern design with interchangeable base so you can change it suit your home. Access news, music or ask it questions just by using your voice. When you ask it a question the assistant will refer to Google, if it cannot find the answer directly then it will refer to a site that does have the answer. Inside the Home, there are two omnidirectional microphones to pick up voice commands and it has a high-excursion driver with dual passive radiators to give a well-rounded sound. It currently has no planned release outside of the US but with the assistant software already available on the Pixel it is a question of when it will be released outside of the US rather than if.
5. Google Wi-Fi
Made to work with your router, it provides a stronger Wi-Fi signal throughout the house. One device covers up to 1500 square feet but more devices can be added for larger homes. Using the Google Wi-Fi app you can pause the signal on devices connected to the router, great for getting kid’s attention. In the background the devices monitor signal to provide you with the best connection possible.
6. Daydream View
Google’s Headset lets you immerse yourself in virtual experiences such as tours of famous locations. You can also watch videos and the controller included allows you to play games. The Headset is compatible with any Daydream-ready phone (such as the Pixel). You can experience VR games and films easily, to start it all you have to do is put the phone into headset, the phone will know when it’s in and will go straight into Daydream mode. When your done the remote fits into the headset so you don’t loose it. Street View has over 150 virtual tours of places all around the world, YouTube lets you watch its entire library on a virtual big screen and Daydream View has 360 panoramic videos. It is available in three colours: Slate, Snow and Crimson, the headset is made with a soft fabric making it lighter than other portable VR headsets on the market and it fits well even when wearing glasses.
Google Pixel costs £600/ $650
Google Chromecast Ultra costs £70 / $70
Google Home costs $130 / UK Price TBC
Google Wi-Fi costs $130 / UK Price TBC
Daydream View costs £70 / $80
For more information visit google.com