Tech

Here's everything Google announced at its big product event

Key Points
  • Google unveiled the Pixel 4, new Pixel Buds, the Pixelbook Go Chromebook and a slew of new Nest devices on Tuesday.
  • The Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL feature updated cameras and displays, as well as brand new capabilities like facial recognition, powered by Google's 'Soli' radar detection technology.
  • Google said the products are meant to enable "ambient computing," where connected gadgets are always listening and helping the user.
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Google unveils new smartphones, laptops and smart-home devices at big hardware event

Google unveiled its newest smartphone, the Pixel 4, alongside a revamped pair of Pixel Buds and several new Nest smart home devices at its annual hardware event in New York on Tuesday.

Google's event follows a flurry of hardware announcements from competitors like Microsoft, Apple and Amazon ahead of the holiday shopping season. Compared to its rivals, hardware represents a small segment of Google's overall business, which is dominated by advertising. Additionally, Pixel sales continue to lag behind models from Samsung, Apple and others.

But with its latest range of devices, Google is demonstrating that it still takes hardware seriously, from smartphones to smart home devices. It's also an example of Google's goal to bring "ambient computing" to its customers, where connected devices are always listening and helping the user.

Here's a rundown of everything that was announced:

The Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL

Todd Haselton | CNBC

The company announced the Pixel 4, which features a 5.7-inch display, and the larger 6.3-inch Pixel 4 XL at the event in New York. The Pixel 4 starts at $799, is available for pre-order today and ships on Oct. 4. For the first time, Google said the Pixel 4 is available for purchase from every major U.S. carrier, which should help boost sales compared to previous Pixel models. (Earlier Pixel phones were only available through Verizon or unlocked from Google and other vendors.)

The Pixel 4 includes big improvements to the night sight camera, to the point where Google is confident you can use it to capture pictures of stars in the night sky, even the Milky Way galaxy. Most phones can't do that.

The Pixel 4 also has a new 90hz display, the second such device after the OnePlus 7 Pro to offer it. This makes scrolling much smoother than on traditional displays, but at the cost of battery life. Google will let you turn it on and off manually.

Todd Haselton | CNBC

One unique feature Google introduced with the Pixel 4 is car crash detection, which can recognize if you've been in an auto accident and automatically call 911 for you.

It also has new radar detection for gestures, including the "fastest secure face unlock" on any phone, Google said. That means you can use the radar, known as Soli, to unlock the device, as well as swipe in the air across your screen to move through music, photos and more. Google says new capabilities will come later.

Google's AirPods competitor

Rick Osterloh, SVP of devices and services at Google, discusses the new Google Pixel Buds ear pods during a Google launch event on October 15, 2019 in New York City.
Drew Angerer | Getty Images

Google unveiled a new pair of Pixel Buds, which start at $179 and launch in Spring 2020.

Unlike their predecessor, the new Pixel Buds feature a truly wireless design, as well as "adaptive sound" technology, which automatically adjusts the volume depending on the environment that you're in. (The first version of Pixel Buds were tethered together with a wire.)

The Pixel Buds also include a long-range Bluetooth connection, so that the headphones can continue to play music even when your smartphone is far away. Google said the Pixel Buds have updated speakers and sensors, while still remaining lightweight and comfortable, thanks to a new spatial vent design that reduces the "clogged ear feeling" experienced with other headphones.

A new Pixelbook and a slew of new Nest products

Todd Haselton | CNBC

Google's new Pixelbook, called the Pixelbook Go, starts at $649 and is a lightweight version of the original laptop. It features a 13.3-inch display and 12 hours of battery life, as well as a new magnesium casing and a "rippled wave bottom" that makes it easier to hold.

The company rolled out a slew of new updates to its Nest smart home unit, including Nest Aware, a subscription program that allows users to receive support across all their Nest devices for a flat monthly rate. Nest Aware starts at $6 per month and Nest Aware Plus, which has expanded coverage, costs $12 per month. Both programs will be available starting in early 2020.

Google unveiled the new Nest Mini, which starts at $49 and includes improved speakers, as well as new Nest WiFi routers that are faster and feature 25% better coverage compared to their predecessor. The routers come in a 2-pack for $269 or a 3-pack for $349 and go on sale Nov. 4.

Launch date for Google's gaming service

Google also announced its new video game streaming service, Stadia, will launch on Nov. 19. Google first debuted Stadia in March as a cloud-based alternative to other gaming consoles from rivals like Microsoft and Sony. It lets you stream video games to devices like Chromecasts or Chromebooks and includes a special controller designed by Google. It'll cost $9.99 per month.

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