NEW YORK CITY – Google just unveiled a slew of new hardware products on Tuesday morning, including its latest smartphone, the Pixel 3.
Despite numerous leaks in the weeks and months leading up to the announcement, Google still managed to pull out a few surprises. In addition to the new Pixel 3 phones, we saw the ChromeOS-powered tablet, called the Pixel Slate, and a new Google Home with a screen called the Home Hub, among other things.
Business Insider attended Google’s big event in New York. Here’s how it all went down:
10:43 AM: A shot of the event space before it started. The chair situation was interesting. All the chairs were mismatched — some people were sitting on stools. It was very Google-y.
11:04 AM: After a cute video showing all of the Pixel 3 leaks ahead of the event, Google’s Rick Osterloh took the stage to explain how Google’s brand-new products were centered on the idea of “help.”
11:06 AM: Osterloh talked about Google’s translation feature as an example of how technology is helping remove barriers between people to make life easier, and better.
11:07 AM: Osterloh also brought up Google’s new “Smart Compose” feature for Gmail, which helps people get their ideas out quicker. He also mentioned Google’s upcoming “Duplex” technology, unveiled in May, that can call businesses on your behalf to make appointments.
11:10 AM: Osterloh said the combination of hardware, software, and artificial intelligence is the key to giving people a more personal, helpful experience.
11:13 AM: Osterloh referenced three successful Google hardware products: Google Home, the Pixelbook laptop, and the Pixel 2 smartphone. He then announced updates to all those devices.
11:15 AM: Osterloh introduced all the new devices at once: the Pixel 3 smartphone, a new tablet called Pixel Slate, and a smart display “for life at home” so you can see the information you need, called Google Home Hub.
11:16 AM: After Osterloh unveiled the three new devices, all of them suddenly surfaced from small tables around the room, giving journalists a brief opportunity to take pictures before they disappeared again into the tables.
11:17 AM: Osterloh talked about aesthetics, and how the new Google devices are meant to be fun, colourful, and playful. Google played a short video that explained how it approaches hardware design. “Our job is to find out what it feels like to hold Google in your hand.”
11:20 AM: Osterloh talked about how Nest, the company it purchased in 2014 (and reabsorbed in 2018), helped the company come up with the Google Home Hub. “The smart home of 2018 is too complex, with different smart hubs and interfaces,” Osterloh said. “With Nest, we’re pursuing our shared vision of a thoughtful home, that’s simple enough for anyone to set up and use.”
11:22 AM: Google’s Diya Jolly took the stage to talk Google Home Hub. “We’ve reimagined Google’s most helpful services, like Maps and Photos, so they’re easily controllable with your voice and provide glance-able help.”
11:25 AM: Google Home Hub is also a communal device: It can recognise which voice is speaking to it, and can provide a personalised experience for every person in your home.
11:26 AM: Google’s Mark Spates takes the stage to perform a demonstration with Google Home Hub.
11:27 AM: Spates talks about how you can use it in the kitchen, to summon YouTube videos or music hands-free. You can also set multiple timers, ask it to convert units of measurement, or get food recipes.
11:29 AM: Google’s Diya Jolly came back on stage to talk about connecting the new Google Home Hub to all your various smart-home devices. Instead of using different apps to control your smart lights, door locks, or doorbells, you can see a dashboard of all of your smart devices at once on the Hub.
11:31 AM: Google Home Hub is deeply integrated with Nest devices, so if someone rings your doorbell, your Hub can automatically show you who’s at the front door, and you can answer with your voice or let them in.
11:32 AM: Google Home Hub will be able to connect to millions of different smart-home devices at launch.
11:33 AM: Google Home Hub is also your digital photo frame, and has deep integration with Google Photos. Google automatically eliminates blurry photos and duplicate photos to ensure you’re only looking at your best pictures.
11:35 AM: You can pre-order the Google Home Hub starting today for $US149, and it will be available on October 22.
11:36 AM: Rick Osterloh came back on stage to talk about how Google Chrome isn’t optimised for most PCs, and how ChromeOS represents “the best of Google”: search, apps, services, and AI, that’s lightweight and gets better over time.
11:17 AM: Osterloh invited Trond Wuellner on stage to talk about Google’s new Pixel Slate tablet, which offers “powerful productivity in a fresh mobile form.”
11:39 AM: Google’s Pixel Slate has a “brilliant display” with 293 pixels per inch — “the highest pixel density in the category,” according to Wuellner — and dual front-facing speakers. It’s ideal for watching movies and TV: In fact, buying a new Pixel Slate comes with 3 free months of YouTube TV.
11:41 AM: The Pixel Slate features 8-megapixel cameras on the front and back, and you can even take portrait-mode photos.
11:44 AM: Google’s Pixel Slate is also secure. In addition to security software, it even has a fingerprint sensor built into the power button.
11:45 AM: Google made a new keyboard for the Pixel Slate, which has a full trackpad and backlit keys. The way it works is really cool: Just plug it into the Pixel Slate and start typing; no need to worry about recharging it, or syncing it up. It just works.
11:47 AM: The Pixel Slate also supports the Pixelbook Pen, so you can draw and annotate directly on the screen.
11:48 AM: Here’s the pricing information for the Pixel Slate, which will be available in the US and Canada “later this year.”
11:50 AM: Finally, Google’s Liza Ma and Brian Rakowski took the stage to introduce the new Pixel 3 smartphone, which features the same two-tone design of the Pixel 2, but now allows for both matte and glossy finishes on the same model. The phone comes in three colour finishes: “just black,” “clearly white,” and “not pink,” which is very clearly pink.
11:53 AM: Google has already given the Pixel 3 to some of the world’s top photographers, including Annie Liebovitz. Thanks to Google’s early partnerships for this phone, Condé Nast’s family of magazines plan on using photos shot on a Pixel 3 for their covers.
11:54 AM: Google’s Pixel 3 camera is even faster and smarter than before: A new feature called “Top Shot” helps you get the very best moment, even if you clicked the shutter at a less-than-ideal time.
11:55 AM: There’s also new feature called “Super Res Zoom,” which lets you take better photos while zoomed in. It uses the same technology used to image the surface of Mars, according to Google, so you don’t lose as much image quality when you’re using digital zoom.
11:56 AM: There’s also a crazy new feature called Night Sight, which takes incredible photos in low-light situations, Google compared a photo from a Pixel 3 to a photo taken with Apple’s new iPhone XS on stage, and the photo from the Pixel 3 was much brighter and clearer. The audience had a good laugh and started clapping.
11:57 AM: Google’s new Pixel 3 also introduces a “group selfie cam,” which lets you capture more of your selfies simply by zooming out. Google says you’ll capture 184% of your selfies on the Pixel 3.
11:58 AM PM: The new camera features just never end. Google’s Pixel 3 also lets you adjust blur, or “bokeh,” after the photo’s already taken (like the iPhone XS does), but you can also adjust the focus of the photo after it’s taken, or choose to have certain colours “pop.”
12:00 PM: Google integrated its futuristic Lens feature into the Pixel 3’s camera. So you can point your camera at a yard sale poster, and immediately get the phone number and address, or point your camera at someone wearing a cool pair of sunglasses and shop for a similar-looking pair.
Here’s more on the Pixel 3’s upgraded camera system.
12:05 PM: Here’s a feature not related to the camera: The Pixel 3 has a new trick called “Call Screen,” which automatically screens your calls for you by answering the phone, asking who’s calling, and why. The conversation is transcribed on your screen in real-time, so you never have to talk to another telemarketer again.
Here’s more on the Pixel 3’s “Call Screen.”
12:06 PM: Google also introduced a special accessory for the Pixel 3: a wireless charger called Pixel Stand, which changes the interface of your phone when it’s docked. It can be a visual alarm clock in the morning, or show you the weather at a glance. When your phone isn’t busy with other tasks, the stand can turns it into a digital photo frame, like the Google Home Hub, that displays photos from Google Photos.
12:10 PM: The new 5.5-inch Google Pixel 3 starts at $US799, the 6.3-inch Pixel 3 XL starts at $US899, and the Pixel Stand costs $US79. It will all become available through Verizon, Best Buy, Google’s Store and Project Fi in the US on October 18.
12:13 PM: That’s it for Google’s big event! Thanks for following along.
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