Google formally introduced its fall crop of hardware Wednesday, including two new Pixel phones, a new Nest smart speaker and an updated Chromecast, although details of the new products had already leaked widely online.
Why it matters: The announcements give Google some new products heading into the holiday season as it looks to compete with the latest offerings from Amazon, Roku, Apple and others.
- The new $49 Chromecast now comes with a remote and, for the first time, doesn't require a second device such as a phone or tablet. Google also rebranded Android TV as Google TV.
- The Nest Audio is a $99 smart speaker offering more bass and volume than its predecessor.
- The Pixel 4a 5G, as the name suggests, adds 5G capabilities to the lower-end Pixel introduced earlier this year and starts at $499. The Pixel 5, available Oct. 15, starts at $699 and includes wireless charging and water resistance. Both feature the same front and rear cameras, including the ability to take portraits in night sight mode. A new "hold for me" lets Google Assistant wait on hold for you and alert you when someone on the other end actually picks up.
Between the lines: Google cut out several features that were present on last year's Pixel 4, including a gesture sensor. "What the world doesn’t seem like it needs right now is another thousand dollar phone," Hardware chief Rick Osterloh told reporters. "We really wanted to focus on 5G at a great price."
Our thought bubble: The biggest problem with the products launched Wednesday wasn't that their details were already known but rather that there just wasn't much about them to get excited about — save for perhaps the addition of Google TV to Chromecast, which previously required a nearby phone or tablet to get content onto a TV.