Nexus Launcher

Five things to expect from today’s big Google hardware event

Image: Google

4 October 2016

We know that Google is set to release a slew of hardware today at an event in San Francisco, including smartphones, smart home devices and even a new Wi-Fi router. Here are the main rumours floating around.

Bye, bye, Nexus
Google is set to release the already-widely-leaked Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones, which will boast flagship specs and run totally stock Android. It’s the same idea as the Nexus line of phones – top-end smartphones designed to showcase the possibilities of the operating system free from the modifications that OEMs impose on their own devices.

It’ll have a fingerprint scanner on the back, pack 4Gb of RAM, and boast a 1440p screen. That’s a lot of, well, pixels. While Nexus devices used to be sold for comparatively low prices, rumour has it that the Pixels will set you back just as much as other flagships. That’s not yet known for sure, however.

Google Home
Amazon’s Alexa and Echo making as big a dent in the smart home/voice assistant market as they have must have Google a little puzzled, but they’re coming back at this space in a big way, having already announced Google Home this spring at I/O 2016. The company’s expected to release the device, or at least give up a definitive date for it to go on sale, at the event tomorrow.

Google’s already in the home Wi-Fi space with OnHub, a premium router designed to be as simple as possible to set up and use. Android Police reported last month, however, that the company’s going to expand its presence and add a new product called, simply, Google Wifi. It’ll sell for about $130 and have mesh-networking capabilities, which means that Google has designed it with an eye towards the Internet of Things.

Daydream VR
Another thing Google teased at I/O 2016, Daydream is the company’s entry into the burgeoning consumer VR space. It works on the same principal as Google Cardboard – basically, you stick your phone into a specialised headset, and a clever app changes the view on your screen based on movements. Daydream adds a simple hand control for navigation and interface.

It’s not the same thing as sophisticated all-in-one systems like the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift, but it does have one big advantage over those devices – the cost could be as low as $80, compared to $600 for the Rift and $800 for the Vive.

Chromecast Ultra
Chromecast, Google’s handy little HDMI dongle that lets you stream stuff from your computer or your phone to your TV, is changing its form a little bit. Where it started off as a cheap gizmo with relatively limited functionality, the forthcoming Chromecast Ultra will jack up the price to $70 and add some new features, the biggest of which is probably rumoured support for 4K video.

IDG News Service

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