Google has unveiled its much-anticipated new Pixel 4 smartphone, as well as a new laptop, wireless earbuds, and a range of other smart devices to rival Apple and other competitors.
The gadgets were revealed to a packed room at Google's annual hardware showcase in New York City on Tuesday, where the focus was on privacy, sustainability, and "ambient technology" — smart devices that seamlessly enhance daily life without being intrusive.
Here's a breakdown of Google's new products (initially only available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, the UK and US).
PIXEL 4 SMARTPHONE
The Pixel 4, with a 5.7-inch display, and the Pixel 4 XL, with a 6.3-inch display, are the first smartphones to feature Motion Sense; technology powered by a radar chip that allows you to skip songs, silence calls or lower the volume of an alarm with the wave of a hand over the screen.
Quick Gestures allows you to do a lot without touching your phone, which is intended to come in handy when cooking, eating, or driving.
Face Unlock is another exciting feature. Attendees at the Google unveiling in New York were impressed by how fast the feature worked — it was as though the Pixel didn't have a lock screen at all. The speed is due to the Motion Sense radar capability, which senses the user reaching for the phone and prepares Face Unlock in anticipation.
Making interaction with the Pixel 4 even more seamless is upgraded Google Assistant integration. Voice command possibilities have been vastly improved; as Google staff demonstrated, you can find out when a favourite band is playing near you, invite a friend to go with you and find tickets all through voice command.
Google Assistant is also a key part of privacy improvements — you can ask Google to delete data from the last day or week simply by asking it.
The Pixel 4 also features a game-changing new recording app. It can transcribe audio into text in real-time, making the time-consuming task of transcribing a university lecture or interview a thing of the past.
Pixel 4 features a 90hz OLED auto-adjusting screen called Smooth Display, which will optimise colour, scrolling and video playing.
But the upgraded camera might be the Pixel 4's most exciting feature.
Pixel 4 has a 16-MP 2x telephoto camera at the back to go with its 12-MP primary camera.
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The Pixel 4's 2x telephoto camera works with the Super Res Zoom feature Google to deliver up to a 10x hybrid zoom, a feature that caused the crowd gathered in New York to gasp when demoed with a photo of the Golden Gate Bridge taken from much further away than it appeared.
The Pixel's camera also has new and improved modes. Portrait mode has been updated, allowing for even better portraits and selfies, and Live HDR+ allows the user to tap the screen to adjust brightness and shadow while focusing to take the shot, rather than afterwards.
Night Sight is also vastly improved, and comes with an astrophotography modes specially designed for taking photos of the night sky.
The Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL come in three colours — black, white and orange — and with either 64GB or 128GB of storage. Prices starts at A$1049. It's available for pre-order now, and shipping starts October 24th.
Apple should be nervous about Pixel Buds, Google's answer to Air Pods.
The wireless bluetooth earbuds can stay connected up to three rooms away from your phone, meaning you can leave your phone in the locker while at the gym, or in the house while in your backyard.
Pixel Buds automatically adjust to the ambient volume around you — say when you move from a quiet office to a noisy street — and are smaller and lighter than Air Pods.
Pixel Buds will be available in the first quarter of 2020 and will be priced at US$179.
NEST WI-FI AND NEST HOME MINI
Google introduced Nest Mini, the smaller version of its smart speaker.
Powered by Google Assistant, Nest promises to transform home life even further, allowing for seamless control over heating and cooling, lights, alarms, locks, screens and more.
As demoed at the New York event, a user can instruct Nest to play a song or a podcast in a particular room of the home. The user can be watching a TV show in the kitchen, then instruct Google to start playing the same TV show in the loungeroom, or be listening to a podcast in the bedroom and instruct Google to move it to the car.
Google is also releasing a Nest Wi-fi router which improves internet coverage in homes, and allows for added controls, such as pausing wi-fi on kids' devices when it's time for bed.
Nest Mini comes in four colours — Chalk, Charcoal, Coral, and the new Sky. It's covered in a custom, durable fabric top made from 100% recycled plastic bottles, and the external enclosure is made from at least 35% post-consumer recycled plastic.
It's also designed to be wall-mounted.
Nest Home Mini comes out next Tuesday for US$49 (Australian price TBC).
The Wi-Fi router, Nest Wi-Fi, will be available in the coming weeks for US$269.
The Pixelbook Go is a cheaper version of previous Google laptops.
The 13.3-inch touchscreen, 1080p display Chromebook is made out of magnesium, has soft, rounded corners and is ribbed for easier grip.
The battery is 15 per cent larger — allowing for up to 12 hours of use — and has ultra-quiet Hush Keys.
Pixelbook Go comes in two shades (black and sandstone) and starts at US$649.
Google emphasised privacy enhancements in its line of products, with kept more personal data and computing functions on devices instead of sending it to datacenters in the cloud.
"Privacy is built in," Google director of product management Sabrina Ellis said while introducing Pixel 4.
"New Google Assistant can respond to day-to-day requests on-device."
Data processed on Pixel 4 handsets is "never saved or shared with other Google services," she added.
The smartphones still need to reach into the cloud for requests such as checking whether flights are delayed or commute traffic troubled.
Pixel 4 users will be able to tell their devices to delete anything said to it that day or week, according to Ellis.
A chip in the handset is also designed as a secure digital vault for personal data.
Google also said it is ramping up investments in renewable energy, aiming to offset all the power required to make its hardware with green power.
STADIA READY TO GO
The California-based internet titan also used the "Made by Google" event to announce that it will launch its Stadia streaming game service on November 19, hoping to send console-quality play soaring into the cloud.
Stadia allows video game play on any internet-connected device, eliminating the need for games consoles.
It will be priced at US$9.99 per month and compete against Apple Arcade, which is being offered at half that price.
Streaming real-time game play from the cloud promised to shake up a mushrooming market worth an estimated US$135 billion globally last year, according to analysts - with mobile platforms accounting for about half.
Google updated products across its hardware line, from Nest smart home devices to Chromebook laptops and wireless ear buds infused with artificial intelligence.
A common theme was making it more natural to use Google to tap into the internet and digital assistant capabilities naturally with voice or gestures at any time.
The notion of online services and machine smarts being all around and always ready to serve people instead of needing them to tap at smartphones or keyboards is referred to as "ambient computing." "Our vision for ambient computing is to create a single, consistent experience anywhere you go," said Rick Osterloh, head of Google's hardware division.
"It the mobile era, smartphones changed the world, but it is even more useful when computing is anywhere you need it, always available to help." Google also said it is ramping up investments in renewable energy, aiming to offset all the power require to make its hardware with green power.