What you need to know about Google’s hardware announcements

A.K.A everything you need to know about Google’s plans to take over your life.

Meryl D'Souza October 5, 2016

The anticipation started with the video above. The message was clear: If you want something done perfect, do it yourself.

Google’s identity was – and maybe, still is – the search bar, but all of that is about to change. By the time the California tech giant took the sheets off the new Pixel and Pixel XL, everyone already knew what to expect. Pre-event leaks by various websites gave out just about ever Pixel spec, right down to the available colours. Not that the leaks took away any of the sheen from Google’s official launch.

On October 4, Google brought to the fore a slew of hardware devices at a San Francisco event, which the company is calling the largest hardware announcement in its history. Here’s everything Google announced at the event.

Pixel and Pixel XL

At the top of the list is the first smartphone designed and engineered in-house by the company. The only factor differentiating the phones is the size of their screen and the resolution. The Pixel includes a 5-inch 1080p display while the XL features a larger 5.5-inch Quad HD panel. Its key features include:

  • A Snapdragon 821 processor with 4GB RAM
  • A 12-megapixel camera
  • Memory of 32GB or 128GB
  • Battery life is said to last a whole day but will also last up to seven hours on a 15-minute charging session
  • Thanks to Google Photos, the Pixel will have unlimited storage for photos and videos
  • Pixel will be the first phone to be compatible with Google’s VR headset, Daydream

Google Assistant

This is the link to all of Google’s hardware announcements. The voice-activated helper ties together various Google services like Search, Maps and Translate, among others. It’s available in new Google products like the Pixel phones, Home, and the Allo messaging app that launched last month.

Assistant also remembers all your information, advanced options for handling images, and useful connections between smart devices.

Google Home

You only need to say, “OK Google” and then say whatever you would have typed into Google’s search bar and this speaker assistant will find it. The speaker running Google Assistant can give you traffic updates, send directions to your phone and even give you a run down of your day using the tech from Google Now. It’ll even play nice with any household appliances made by Nest, Samsung, or Philips.

Daydream View

Yes, it’s basically Google’s equivalent of the HTC Vive or Samsung Gear VR, but Google claims it trumps the competition in terms of design and offerings. 

Google says the device is 30 per cent lighter than competitors and is “breathable”. That may not sound like much now, but we tried the Vive and know for a fact that it can leave one’s face a sweaty mess.

Daydream already has apps like Google Photos, Street View and YouTube that will play nice with its specifications. But the big news is Google has already teamed up with Warner Bros for an exclusive Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them experience, where the provided controller turns into a wand to levitate objects and cast spells. We assume this game will be more augmented reality along the lines of Pokémon Go.

Another thing to note is the price. As per the United States market, the Daydream is set at $79 (roughly AED300), that’s about $20 less than the Gear VR. It would seem like Google is not just pushing VR but trying to make it more affordable.

Chromecast Ultra

Building on the success of Chromecast, Google’s upgrade now supports streaming videos in HDR10, Dolby Vision HDR and 4K. It also comes with an Ethernet port to handle the heavier load of data.

Google Wi-Fi

Apparently, Google’s partnership with OnHub was a means to an end: making routers. Google Wi-Fi is a modular router that lets you add units to increase coverage. You can even manage usage through a companion app and pause Wi-Fi access at certain times of the day.