Screenshot: Axios

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.

Details:

  • 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.

Go deeper

Oct 21, 2020 - Podcasts

House antitrust chair talks USA vs. Google

The Justice Department filed a 63-page antitrust lawsuit against Google related to the tech giant's search and advertising business. This comes just weeks after the House subcommittee on antitrust issued its own scathing report on Google and other Big Tech companies, arguing they've become digital monopolies.

Axios Re:Cap talks with Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), chair of the subcommittee on antitrust, about Google, the DOJ's lawsuit and Congress' next move.

Post-debate poll finds Biden strong on every major issue

Joe Biden speaks Friday about "The Biden Plan to Beat COVID-19," at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

This is one of the bigger signs of trouble for President Trump that we've seen in a poll: Of the final debate's seven topics, Joe Biden won or tied on all seven when viewers in a massive Axios-SurveyMonkey sample were asked who they trusted more to handle the issue.

Why it matters: In a time of unprecedented colliding crises for the nation, the polling considered Biden to be vastly more competent.