Yesterday’s event went quite smoothly, in my opinion. Google’s message is still clear: Just doing software and hardware doesn’t cut it, in that they also want to bring AI/machine learning to the masses and fuse it with their hardware products running their software. They’ve also toned down the specs-game and instead relied on examples out of the lives of ordinary people. I think these examples are mostly clishé and listening to them repeatedly gets annoying pretty fast, but I’d be worried if Google still advertised its products solely to tech-savvy people.
The Pixelbook is quite a statement. It’s extremely thin without sacrificing battery life. As the Chromebook Pixels did before, it comes with a touchscreen. As I expected, it’s not being sold in Germany.
The Pixel 2 was the star of the event, of course. It comes in two sizes, though this time they’re manufactured by different companies. The smaller Pixel 2 comes from HTC, the 6” Pixel XL 2 is made by LG. Both feature OLED-panels, front-facing stereo speakers, the weird edge-squeeze and most importantly the same cameras.
I wish they would’ve stayed with one manufacturer for both devices and that they looked more a like. The smaller Pixel 2 looks ugly and extremely dated with its horribly big bezels. At least they’re made of the same materials.
The Home Mini is Google’s answer to the Echo Dot. It’s a smaller Google Home that’s supposed to extend your Google Home throughout your house. You’ll get one for free for a limited time if you purchase a Pixel 2 phone right now.
The Pixel Buds are the first headphones produced by Google. They come with the Google Assistant built in. I don’t know if that’ll be useful for me, but the instant-translation was quite impressive. In their live demo it looked like we’re on our way to the Universal Translator from Star Trek. I’m looking to buy a decent pair of Bluetooth headphones anyways. Let’s see what the reviews say about their audio quality.
I’m not that much into the VR thing, but Daydream View seems like a nice upgrade if you’re interested in VR but don’t want to buy an expensive Windows gaming computer and one of many VR devices with different ecosystems.
Apple is going after Sonos with their HomePad and Google is trying to do the same. Both are quite expensive and it looks like they’re evenly priced with Sonos. Sonos still has quite a headstart, but they seem to feel the pressure. Because Sonos didn’t ship microphones in their speakers, they can’t do what Apple and Google are doing: Constanly listen to the surroundings and the playback of the speakers to adjust them accordingly to the room were they are placed. Sonos’ TruePlay still requires and iOS-device and an akward setup-ceremony where you have to walk through each room to tune it. Move some furniture and you have to start all over.
I’ve pre-ordered the Pixel 2 XL in All Black in the 64GB configuration. I never managed to fill up the storage of my trusted 32GB Nexus 6P and everything is stored on Google servers anyways. As soon as the Pixel 2 ships, I’ll also get a coupon to order a Home Mini to compliment my Google Home.