Google's announcement-filled event on Tuesday marked a pivotal juncture for the tech titan. Many of the products and services unveiled at the event present a shift in Google's larger strategy and direction, and highlight a newfound focus on hardware.
Here's a roundup of the most important announcements that were made at the event:
The Pixel Phones
Google's never been a serious hardware player, but that's all set to change. Google's new Pixel smartphones may be the company's first true push into smartphone hardware. Although the company has previously made Google-branded smartphones with the Nexus line, this is its first foray into the Google-made premium device space.
There are two Pixel phones, both in the phablet range, with the Pixel coming in at 5 inches and starting at $649, and the Pixel XL coming in at 5.5 inches and starting at $769. They come in three color options: black, silver, or blue. Here's what makes them distinctive:
- Project Fi compatibility: Project Fi is Google's ultra-affordable mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) network that offers Wi-Fi-first smartphone network connection. The Pixel line is only the second model to be offered with Project Fi, the first being Google's Nexus line.
- Daydream compatibility: The devices pack a lot under the hood and come running Android Nougat, Google's newest OS. The device hardware components adhere to the standards set by Google for its Daydream platform. Daydream is Google's open-source VR platform that enables third-party manufacturers and content creators to make smartphones, headsets, and content for Daydream.
- Google Assistant: The Pixel phones will be the first to come equipped with Google Assistant, Google's new AI.
- The other stuff: The Pixel has a 12.3-megapixel camera, which received an 89 rating for camera quality — the highest ever awarded to a smartphone — from DxOMark. The phone offers more storage, on-device and in-cloud, than most similar smartphones. It also has full-HD resolution and a battery that can charge up to seven hours of power within 15 minutes.
It's unlikely Google cares about being a hardware powerhouse. So what [...]