Just a few highlights that I thought to jot down.
Google Event October 4th 2016
So, takeaway from the #Google
event. New phones, the #Pixel
look generally like good stuff. A lot of focus on their cameras which are very highly rated via #DxoMark
with a score of 89! (That's slightly higher than the iPhone 7!) and a LOT of talk about #GoogleAssistant
which seems to be going to take the place of search and now on the upcoming Pixel phones. Pixel will be starting at $649, and preorders are open as of today!
Assistant it's self seems like a good merging of Now and Search, with some healthy borrowing of functions from Apple's Siri (and yeah, before anyone gets on me for that, Apple and Google both copy eachother a HUGE ammount, get over it.) If you don't intend to get a pIxel you can get a taste of Assistant with Google's new chat app Allo. The chat app it's self however has only had a lukewarm reaction from people, so you may find that all you can do with it is talk to the assistant.
Google also announced #GoogleDaydreamView
which is a VR mask looking to compete with Samsung VR. With a handy remote that stores in the headset and a focus on being more comfortable it might be a good deal. Daydream View will be $79 and comes out in November. #GoogleHome
looks to be a direct competitor with Amazon's Echo, having much the same functionality, but better integration with Google devices like Chromecast and Chomecast Audio. Where it brings "Voicecasting" which will let it work a lot like the Apple TV where you can just tell it what to play and it does it. Controlling a Chromecast seems very smooth and the system as displayed worked very well. Google Home will be $129 and starts shipping on November 4th.
Speaking of Chromecast, the #ChromecastUltra
was announced, touting 1.8X faster processor and the ability to stream 4K video! Definitely a nice upgrade if you're coming from a standard Chromecast. Google Play will be starting to stream 4K video later this year, and there are already many titles on Netflix and others. The unit will be $69 and becomes available in November.
Finally, we have #GoogleWifi
, This is basically just their entry int the home router solution arena. In general you can have one or multiple units around your home, and control them from a smartphone app. otherwise they're pretty much just a router branded google. Still, good stuff. Google Wifi will come in a single pack for $129, and a three pack for $299, preorders will start in November and shipping in December.
Other notable things were that the Pixel and Pixel XL will have #GoogleDuo
preinstalled. I wonder if that means that they won't come with #GoogleHangouts
? Goolgle has mentioned that it looks to make Hangouts more of a business oriented application, which would seem to point to them wanting the non business users to shift more to Allo, Duo, Messenger, etc.
Also, the similarity between the new Pixel phones and the iPhone is something that a lot of people have been pointing out. I'm sure some will love that while died in the wool Android fanboys will hate it with every fiber of their being. Google seems to be taking a number of plays from Apple's playbook, but that's not a bad thing. There's no disputing that controlling both the hardware and the software is a much better way to make a quality product than just making software and hoping that the OEM's will do what Google hopes they will. I'm admittedly an iOS user, but I'm very interested in these new Google phones. And maybe that's part of the point. To get people like me to come back to Android by producing something that has the quality, fit and finish of an Apple device, but the flexability and open ecosystem that Google is known for. I'm definitely tempted.