Google unveils new AI-powered Pixel phones and a smart home hub

Doris Richards
October 10, 2018

Alphabet Inc's Google unveiled on Tuesday the third edition of its Pixel smartphone, its first tablet computer and a new Google Home smart speaker that includes a display. Not to forget, the maximum onboard storage you get with these phones is "just" 128GB.

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3XL are available for pre-order now from Verizon, Project Fi, and the Google Store unlocked. The Pixel 3 XL, on the other hand, rocks a 6.3-inch 1440 x 2960 display with a notch. The phone will be available in three colors, including Clearly White, Just Black, and Not Pink.

It costs $149 in the USA (£13 in the UK) from Google Store. Two USB-C ports live on the left and right side, but there's no 3.5mm headphone jack.

There's also the promise of free, unlimited original-quality storage for photos and videos uploaded from the Pixel 3 to Google Photos, which lasts until 1/31/2022. While it's true we got a glimpse of majority ahead of time thanks to copious leaks (which Google themselves lightly poked fun at during the opening segment), it was still fun to see them in action.

This is where the Pixel Slate really steps into the Surface Go's territory; if you want to use this thing as a full productivity machine, you're going to need the separate keyboard and pen, and those will cost extra. That supports the Qi standard, and delivers up to 10W of power.

The camera experience is the highlight of the new Pixel 3 phones, with Google infusing plenty of artificial intelligence (AI) features inside the new camera app. Google did stick with using a single-camera on the back of the phone (12.2-megapixel dual-pixel camera) but placed two cameras on the front (8-megapixel wide-angle and normal FoV).

Although rumours are now swirling about the Google Pixel Slate, nothing has been officially confirmed by the tech company. Home Hub is the newest member of the Google Home family, joining Home, Home Mini, and Home Max. There'll be four color options: Chalk, Charcoal, Aqua, and Sand. It still combines the standard Chrome OS flavor of Linux with emulated Android applications, but the keyboard is separate and the interface is specifically created to be a tablet, not a laptop or phone pretending to be a tablet, as Google puts it. There's plenty of powerful hardware on offer here, finished off with Google's signature style. The pen is sold separately for $99.

The Pixel Slate Keyboard was also announced and connects to the tablet.

The updated Google Chromecast missed out on stage time at Google's event, but is worthy of attention all the same. Half of the features in new phones these days are enabled through software, and for all the hardware leaks we've seen so far, it's much easier to keep software details a secret. Google is adding multi-room audio support, effectively bridging the gap between the Chromecast and the Chromecast Audio.

Like the 3rd Gen Chromecast, this oddball accessory didn't even get a mention during the presentation. As part of your home network it is expected that you will monitor and control things like the Nest range of smart home devices, thermostats, security cameras, and lighting products via Home Hub.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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