Here’s all the new hardware Google announced today

Ruben Fields
October 10, 2018

If you press that screen button, the Pixel's AI will answer and start asking questions of the caller on your behalf. Other phone makers sometimes crowd out Google's apps with their own or take a share of ad revenue, hurting Alphabet's profits. The 7-inch screen may only offer half the real-estate that, say, a new Echo Show provides, but it's pleasingly high-resolution and crisp. It's a welcome addition.

"We consciously made a decision to not include a camera on Google Home Hub so you feel comfortable placing it in the private spaces of your home, like the bedroom", says Google Home Product Management VP Diya Jolly. The thought process makes sense.

And if you don't want to upgrade, features like Night Sight, Playground, and Screen Call are coming to the older Pixels with updates in the future.

The Slate is available in the United States, the U.K. and Canada. No tiny piece of masking tape required. For that price, you get an Apple A10X Fusion processor, 4GB of memory and a 64GB flash storage drive inside. Otherwise the two devices are very similar. Motion Auto Focus allows you to track an object in motion and focus only on it. Don't want the camera on? On the glass back, there's a fingerprint reader and one camera; on the front, there's a notch in the screen to hide its front-facing cameras.

Google spent the bulk of the phone portion of the event talking about the devices' new camera. Matt Vokoun, another Google product management director, however, contends that they are "playful", and while "there is a bit of a learning curve" when typing on the circular keys, Google's internal testing shows that people's typing rate and accuracy increased by an unspecified amount.

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However, this could all be about to change with the launch of the Sony PlayStation 5 . The PlayStation 5, to be specific.

Indeed it's the AI in the Assistant that Google is hoping will differentiate the Home Hub.

On the phone side of things, Google has also introduced a "Flip to Shh" functionality that mutes your phone and notifications when you flip it over on a table. Its field of view also expands and contracts to include everyone visible in the room. We'll let you know what we think the Pixel is up to the challenge as soon as we actually manage to get our hands on one. Of course, it's still a Facebook product. Not the best time to debut an always-listening smart home device with a wide-angle camera.

To be fair, Google is also in hot water over mismanagement of personal data. And why would celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz agree to use a mobile phone for said mag photos? According to the Wall Street Journal, Google was aware of the issue since it was fixed in March, yet neglected to disclose the bug due to concerns over increased scrutiny.

Google is pushing the AI elements of its new phones. Whether or not you're a user of Google+, the fact that the company chose to withhold the information should give you pause, and force you to consider if you can depend on Google to notify you if or when even more serious data breaches occur. A new dashboard for smart home kit offers far more easy access to things like the color of your lights or just reassuring you which locks are secured.

Google Assistant, the signature virtual helper feature on the Pixel, was available in six languages a year ago and now supports 16. AI on-device means these experiences are fast, private to you, and use up less battery.

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