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Pixel phones and smart machines: Google announcements

US internet giant Google on Tuesday challenged heavyweight rivals including Apple and Amazon with an array of new gadgets aimed at digital lifestyles. Coming products to watch for:
– Smartphone ‘Made by Google’ –
Pixel is the first smartphone designed by Google, with the Silicon Valley powerhouse dictating the hardware, software and services the way Apple does with its iPhones.

The Google-branded smartphone takes aim at flagship models by Apple, Samsung and others in the fiercely competitive market.

Pixel is the first smartphone designed by Google, with the Silicon Valley powerhouse dictating the hardware,
 software and services the way Apple does with its iPhones. The Google-branded smartphone
 takes aim at flagship models by 
Apple, Samsung and others in the fiercely competitive market.

Pixel, which comes in five and 5.5-inch (12.7 and 14-centimeter) screen sizes, boasts a fingerprint reader,
 a camera billed as the best in any smartphone, unlimited online storage for photos and videos, and quick 
charging combined with long battery life.
Pixel is powered by the latest version of the Android mobile operating system, Nougat, and Google 
promised to keep the software automatically updated.
Pixel also features Virtual Assistant artificial intelligence to enable users to manage tasks and
 get information in natural conversation format.
Pixel’s starting price of $649 in the United States is the same as that of Apple’s newest iPhone.
Preorders for Pixel began Tuesday in Australia, Britain, Canada, Germany and the United States.
 Pixel will be available for order in India on October 13.
– Cyber concierge –
Google Home is a flower vase-sized speaker infused with machine smarts and voice controls to act as 
a cyber concierge for getting information and managing tasks about the house or flat.

Home listens for commands or queries even while playing music, and can control other smart devices
 in range. Google Home will be available in shops in November, but could be pre-ordered 
beginning Tuesday.
The device’s price in the United States is $129. That’s $50 less than Amazon Echo, 
a rival that has been 
popular with consumers here since it was launched by the online retail titan.
– Spreading machine smarts –
Google Assistant is an improved version of virtual helper software the internet company previously
 called Google Now.

It competes with Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Microsoft’s Cortana, tapping into the vast trove 
of knowledge amassed by the world’s leading online search engine.
Google outlined plans to infuse a growing array of devices and services with Assistant smarts,
 letting people get answers or manage matters in conversational styles, as though speaking 
with a human aide.
Google laid out a vision of becoming a leading player in artificial intelligence, with Assistant being
 infused into many devices and services allowing opportunities to have them work together.
Google already built Assistant smarts into a new Allo smartphone messaging app released last month, 
and put the software at the heart of Pixel and Google Home.
– Cardboard grows up –
Daydream View virtual reality headgear came as an answer to Facebook-owned Oculus, and a direct
 challenge to Samsung Gear VR.

Smartphones compatible with Google’s Daydream software platform can be slipped into play in 
View headgear to act as screens for virtual reality experiences.
View is made of cloth, a step up from the actual cardboard from which its predecessor at Google was 
playfully constructed.
Purportedly inspired by casual clothing, View material makes it lighter and potentially more 
comfortable than devices already on the market.
View comes with a controller and was billed as making virtual reality “accessible” at a price of $79 
in the United States, where it will arrive in November. View will also be available in Australia, Britain,
 Canada and Germany.

In comparison, Samsung Gear VR headgear is priced at $100. Oculus Rift virtual reality head 
gear has a $599 price tag and must be connected to high-performance computers.
– Streaming 4K video –
Chromecast Ultra is an improved version of medallion-sized Chromecast devices that plug into
 TV monitors for viewing online streaming videos.

Google said it has sold more than 30 million Chromecast devices since they debuted three years ago.
The new generation Chromecast promised more reliable viewing and image quality ramped 
all the way up to ultra-high definition 4K video.
Chromecast Ultra was priced at $69 and will be available in November in the United States and 
15 other countries.
– Wifi all over –
Wifi promises to make sure people can connect to the internet from anywhere in a home. 
Disk-sized Wifi modules can be placed in various spots in homes, acting as an internet-linked mesh 
of sorts so getting online is uniformly easy.
Wifi software lets people easily manage congestion on home networks, or even selectively cut off 
children’s gadgets from the internet when they should be at a meal or in bed.
Google will begin taking pre-orders for Wifi in November, advertising the price as $129 for a single 
unit or $299 for a pack of three modules
Source:  The guardian

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