Oct 4, 2017

Google unveils new Pixel phones, Home speakers, laptop

Some of the new hardware announced by Google in San Francisco. Photo: Ina Fried / Axios

Google introduced a parade of new hardware products Wednesday, including second-generation Pixel phones and Pixelbook, a high-end Chromebook with built-in Google Assistant and support for Android apps.

It also introduced Google Home Mini, a smaller version of its Amazon Echo rival, and Google Home Max, a high-end model that is poised to rival Apple's forthcoming HomePod.

Why it matters: Google just doubled down on its hardware effort, spending $1.1 billion to acquire a significant chunk of HTC's phone operations and know-how. Now it needs to make the bet pay off.

While much of what Google is due to introduce leaked out, including new Pixel phones, Google hardware chief Rick Osterloh promised there would still be "a few surprises." Google delivered with new wireless earphones that can do on-the-fly language translation and Google Clips, a new accessory camera for automatically capturing photos.

Here are details on the new products as they are being unveiled:

  • Google Home Mini, $49, pre-orders now, in stores Oct. 19.
  • Google Home Max, $399, coming in December, includes 12 months of its YouTube Red subscription music service.

Google also announced new kid-friendly features for Google Home, including a partnership with Disney, to bring voice-powered stories and games to the Google Home family.

  • Google Pixelbook, a high-end Chromebook, with support for Google Assistant and Android apps. Can fold up to tablet and supports up to 512GB of storage. It will start at $999, with pre-orders now and devices in store Oct. 31. An optional $99 Pixelbook Pen stylus can be used to draw or highlight a photo or word and pull up Google Assistant.
  • Google's Pixel 2 will come in both a 5-inch and 6-inch XL model. It's got a bunch of new features, but as rumored, it also ditches the headphone jack found on last year's model. Though it has only a single rear camera, Google has its own take on portrait mode, using machine learning to create a blurred background. The phones will also get a preview version of Google Lens, a visual search tool Google previewed at its I/O conference earlier this year. As was the case last year, Verizon will be the only carrier selling the Pixels in store, though it's expected to work with others when bought unlocked from Google.Pixel 2 will start at $649 and Pixel 2 XL at $849. For a limited time, both will come with a Google Home Mini.
  • Pixel Buds, a new pair of wireless headphones. with built-in Google Assistant support, including real-time language translation. Unlike AirPods, though there is still a cord connecting the two earpieces. They will come in three colors and be available in November for $159.
  • Google Clips, an accessory camera for capturing spontaneous moments, especially of kids and pets, using artificial intelligence. It will sell for $249 and is "coming soon," Google said.

Go deeper

Blue Cross Blue Shield insurers sue CVS, alleging drug pricing fraud

Photo: John Lamparski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Six Blue Cross Blue Shield insurers have sued CVS Health, alleging the pharmacy chain overcharged them based on "artificially inflated prices" for generic drugs and concealed the true cash prices of those drugs.

The big picture: CVS has faced legal scrutiny over its cash discount programs since 2015, and this lawsuit adds big names to a mounting problem.

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand has only eight active novel coronavirus cases and no COVID-19 patients in hospital after another day of zero new infections. However, the death toll rose to 22.

Zoom in: A top health official told a briefing a 96-year-old woman "was regarded to having recovered from COVID-19 at the time of her death, and COVID-19 is not recorded as the primary cause of her death on her death certificate." But it was decided to include her in the overall tally of deaths related to the virus.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 5,690,951 — Total deaths: 355,575 — Total recoveries — 2,350,071Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,699,073 — Total deaths: 100,396 — Total recoveries: 391,508 — Total tested: 15,192,481Map.
  3. Public health: CDC issues guidelines for reopening officesFauci says data is "really quite evident" against hydroxychloroquine.
  4. States: California hospitals strained by patients in MexicoTexas Supreme Court blocks mail-in expansion to state voters.
  5. Business: MGM plans to reopen major Las Vegas resorts in June — African American business owners have seen less relief from PPP, Goldman Sachs says.
  6. Tech: AI will help in the pandemic — but it might not be in time for this one.
  7. World: EU proposes a massive pandemic rescue package.
  8. 1 🎶 thing: Local music venues get rocked by coronavirus.
  9. 🎧 Podcast: Trump vs. Twitter ... vs. Trump.
  10. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  11. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy