Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

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

Updated 22 mins ago - Science

Huge wildfire reaches edge of Sequoia National Park

A plume of smoke and flames rise into the air as the fire burns towards Moro Rock during the KNP Complex fire in the Sequoia National Park near Three Rivers, California, on Saturday. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Firefighters in Sequoia National Park were working into the night after two wildfires merged to reach the Giant Forest Saturday.

Why it matters: This forest contains over 2,000 giant sequoias, including the General Sherman Tree — considered the world's largest by volume. Park officials wrapped the redwoods in foil last week as the Paradise and Colony Fires, now known as the KNP Complex Fire, neared. And officials said early Sunday protection efforts appeared to be working.

59 mins ago - World

Hong Kong holds first "patriots only" elections

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam during a news conference last Monday. Photo: Lui Siu Wai/Xinhua via Getty Images

Hong Kong's elections to choose the city's Election Committee members opened to a select group of voters on Sunday, under a new "patriots only" system imposed by China's government.

Why it matters: All candidates running to be members of the electoral college have been "vetted" by Beijing, per Reuters. They will go on to choose the Asian financial hub's next leader, approved by China's government, and some of its legislature.

3 hours ago - World

Israeli forces capture final 2 escaped Palestinian prisoners

An Israeli security forces member on Saturday stands guard at the Gilboa prison in northern Israel, from where the six inmates escaped. Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP via Getty Images

Israeli forces captured the two remaining Palestinian prisoners who tunneled their way out of an Israeli maximum-security prison with four others in a "Shawshank Redemption"-style escape, authorities announced Sunday.

Why it matters: The escape sparked a massive manhunt and turned the prisoners into heroes in the West Bank and Gaza, with Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza threatening an escalation if they were harmed, per Axios' Barak Ravid.