Alphabet Inc.’s Google set itself up for the holidays Tuesday, announcing its new Pixel phones, a new Pixelbook, and various devices for the home.
Arming the home with Google products was a major theme during the company’s keynote presentation, as Google
showed off its revamped entry-level smart speaker, now called the Nest Mini and featuring better audio quality. The bass is twice as loud as it was on the first-generation model, according to Google, and the voice-recognition capabilities are supposed to do a better job of understanding commands even when it’s noisy.
Google said the Home Mini will also support connections to existing smart speakers and it will be able to adjust the volume of Google Assistant based on whether there’s a loud dishwasher in the background or other home noise. The Mini costs $49 and is open for preorders today before becoming officially available on Oct. 22.
The other big home announcement is the Nest Wifi router, which now has Google Assistant and a speaker built in. The company said that the router offers 25% better coverage and up to two times the speed of Google Wifi, its predecessor. The router allows for the ability to set up guest networks and share Wifi passwords using the companion app, and it will let parents pause Wifi access for their children using Google Assistant. Google’s “two-pack” option, which comes with a router that plugs into the modem and a point that extends coverage, will cost $269, while the three-pack, which includes another point, will sell for $349. Preorders begin today before the devices officially go on sale Nov. 4.
Like Apple Inc.
, Google focused on camera upgrades as it rolled out the new Pixel 4 smartphone. The device comes with a telephoto lens, and it supports the ability to use Night Mode capabilities for photos of stars and other low-light nature scenes. Other new features include a motion-sensing option, which lets users snooze their alarms or move to the next song by waving a hand across the screen. A new Voice Recorder app automatically transcribes messages in real time, and a Personal Safety app can notify the police if it detects a car crash. A custom neural engine powers the phone.
While earlier Pixel models had limited carrier availability, the new Pixel 4 will work with all major U.S. carriers. The Pixel 4 begins at $799, while the larger Pixel 4 XL starts at $899, and both models come in “clearly white,” “just black,” and “limited-edition oh-so-orange” color options. Preorders kick off today with shipments beginning on Oct. 24.
Google showed off the Pixelbook Go, a Chromebook with a 13.3-inch touchscreen and the ability to charge up quickly. The company said the device will have two hours of battery life after 20 minutes of charging it, while packing 12 hours of battery life altogether. The Pixelbook Go weighs “barely” two pounds with a 13-milimeter thickness. Preorders begin today for the $649 device. Google’s existing Pixelbook starts at $999.
The company also previewed its new Pixel Buds wireless headphones, which have a small form factor that Google says is “almost flush with the ear.” The headphones allow for five hours of continuous listening on a single charge and can last up to a day with a wireless charging case, according to Google. They’ll also stay connected via Bluetooth up to three rooms away while indoors and work even with the phone a football field away while outdoors. The Pixel Buds will launch next spring for $179.