Google’s 2019 I/O developer conference kicked off today and the company introduced a range of new hardware and software. Headlining the keynote were announcements of the new Pixel 3a and 3a XL budget smartphones that start at $350 less than the iPhone XR, the next-gen Google Assistant that will offer 10x faster responses, the new Nest Hub Max, and Android Q news.
Budget Pixel Smartphones
Google’s I/O keynote today included two hardware announcements, with the more anticipated news being the budget focused Pixel 3a and 3a XL smartphones officially launching. The smartphones feature a similar design to the flagship Pixel 3 and 3 XL but cut costs by skipping wireless charging, including a less powerful processor, opting for one front-facing camera instead of two, and featuring a plastic build.
But at a starting price of $399, the new Pixel 3a still offers an OLED display, 64GB of storage, 4GB of RAM, Google’s highly rated rear-facing camera with features like Night Sight, and more.
The 3a has a 5.6-inch display, while the 3a XL has a 6-inch screen. Notably, the low pricing puts these new Pixel smartphones at about the same price range as the iPhone 7, while seriously undercutting Apple’s current entry-level flagship, the iPhone XR which starts at $749.
The promo video for the new smartphone even takes a shot at the iPhone XS (labeled “Phone X”) by comparing low-light photography against the Pixel 3a. On the product’s webpage, a footnote details “Images shot on iPhone XS and Pixel 3a.”
Nest Hub Max
The other major hardware announcement today was the rebranding of the Google Home Hub to Nest Home Hub along with the launch of the Nest Hub Max. As indicated by the name, the Nest Hub Max is the Nest Home Hub’s larger sibling that sports a 10-inch touch screen.
The device has a built-in Nest Cam that offers security features and video calling, and it also supports new features like waving at the camera to stop music. It packs stereo speakers as well as a subwoofer in addition to the far-field microphones.
Next-gen Google Assistant
As part of various software updates announced in the keynote, Google highlighted how powerful its next-gen Google Assistant will be. Impressively, the company’s AI will move to on-device processing and become 10x faster with its responses. Google was able to achieve this by shrinking its Assistant’s storage needs from 100GB to just 0.5GB.
The next-gen Google Assistant is set to launch with the Pixel 4 smartphones later this year. Check out the demo below:
By Michael Potuck