Google last week took the wraps off its new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL phones, the sequels to the first-ever Google-designed Android handsets. Both devices look sharp, minimal, and sport what the company says is one of the best mobile cameras on the market, with original Pixel buyers able to testify the device line’s prowess in the picture-taking department.
Tech companies such as Apple and Google tend to announce their newest products this time of year, ahead of the holiday shopping season. This year’s big tech trends include smart speakers, home security, and of course, smartphones.
Here’s a look at Google’s new products:
Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL smartphones
The Pixel is Google’s flagship phone, designed to show off the best possible version of the company’s Android mobile operating system. The latest editions of the Google-made smartphones have new OLED screens, fingerprint sensors and are water resistant. They also pack a powerful rear camera — one of the Pixel’s biggest draws.
Google Pixel Buds
Pixel users will be able to use the phones with its new Pixel Buds, a pair of wireless headphones connected to each other with a string. The $159 headphones will only work with the Google Pixel phone for now, but they have one really cool trick. The headphones can translate 40 languages via Google Translate. The built in microphones help handle almost real-time translation. In an on-stage demonstration, Google translated Swedish to English.
Google Clips is a small square camera for people who don’t want to press buttons. Users place it in front of a scene such as on the floor of a room that toddlers and dogs frequent. It will detect when something is worth recording and take still photos or silent videos. It is specifically scanning for faces you have trained it to recognize, smiles, dogs and cats. The final files are 15 frame-per-second movie clips. They’re transferred to your phone over Wi-Fi, where you can save it as a GIF or movie file, or pick out a single frame to save as a photo. To counter potential privacy concerns, all the processing is one on the device or your phone, meaning nothing is saved in the cloud unless you do it yourself. The Clips’ battery should last about three hours, and the LED lights let you know when it’s recording.
Google Home Mini
There’s now a tiny-sized version of the Google Home speaker. Called the Google Home Mini — which Google said is smaller than a donut — it is a rounded disk covered in the hottest new technology material: fabric. It has the same powers as the full-sized Google Home, like voice recognition and the usual smart home and calling powers. There are four LED lights on top, and it plugs into the wall.
Google Home Max
Google is also releasing a direct competitor to Apple’s forthcoming HomePod. The Google Home Max ($399) is a higher-end speaker with the company’s built-in Google Assistant technology. The device, available in light or dark grey, includes a feature called Smart Sound, which allows you to adjust the audio based on the surrounding environment. Two Max speakers will play music in stereo.
The device will launch in December and include a free 12-month subscription to YouTube Red, the video service’s subscription option.
The Google Pixelbook is the company’s newest convertible laptop. This means you can fold the screen all the way back and pretend it’s a tablet. It has a 12.3-inch touchscreen display and the battery can last 10 hours, according to Google.
Google Assistant updates
Google noticed that kids enjoy talking to the Google Assistant, so it added a few features especially for tinier humans. Google said it’s improved how the technology understands the way kids speak, and there’s a new account option for children under 13 that parents can set up and control.