A look at Google's upcoming products including new Pixel smartphones, smart speakers and even headphones that offer real time translation.
Google unveiled a bunch of new products at a recent event in San Francisco. The company is doubling down on its use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to infuse smarts into everything it's making. Here's a look at what they unveiled.
Google Pixel 2
This is the follow up to Google's critically acclaimed smartphone of 2016. Pixel had the best camera on any smartphone I've ever tested, and many reviewers agreed. Google says they've improved the camera and made the phone waterproof. You can also squeeze the sides to activate Google Assistant. I'll have a more in-depth review of this device in a future report.
Google Home Mini, Max
Google is expanding its lineup of smart speakers with two new sizes. Google Home Mini is a small $50 device that you can put anywhere in your home. It can answer questions, control smart devices and more. It sounds great for such a small size. Google Home Max is a giant version of their smart home speaker which accomplishes the same tasks, but has better sounding audio. There's also a feature that lets the Max automatically adjust its sound to the room and its surroundings.
This is a convertible laptop that runs the Chrome operating system. It will not run your typical Windows or Mac apps, but it will run Android apps like what you find on an Android phone or tablet. For this reason, it's appeal is very limited, especially since the price tag comes in at $1,000. The neat thing is that you can fold back the screen or tent it so you can use it as a tablet or easily watch a movie on an airplane tray.
Google Pixel Buds
These are $160 wireless Bluetooth headphones that incorporate Google Assistant. This means you have fast access to answers and phone controls. Google also showed off a feature that does real-time language translation. You can talk to someone in one language and the buds will translate what you say in real time to them and vice versa. Although I have yet to try Google's Buds, I really like Apple's Airpods, and they work with Android devices too.
This is sort of like a GoPro but with intelligence built inside. This tiny camera has no screen or microphone - you just clip it to something and let it go to work. It learns who your family members and pets are and decides on its own when to shoot short little bursts of video. The idea behind the camera is that parents can capture more candid special moments with their kids (and be in the shots) or see the funny things your pet does while you're not home. Sounds fun, but not at $250 - I'm thinking this should be closer to a $50 stocking stuffer.
Want to hear more thoughts on Google's new gadgets? Listen to my Rich on Tech Live podcast.
Rich on Tech Live is available for download on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play Music, or through this RSS feed for Overcast (great iOS podcast app) and other podcast players. Be sure to subscribe so you never miss an episode!