Google ramps up fight against Apple, Amazon
INTERNET giant Google on Tuesday challenged heavyweight rivals, including Apple and Amazon, with an array of new gadgets aimed at digital lifestyles.
Here is a round-up.
1. PIXEL PHONE
This is the first smartphone designed by Google, with the Silicon Valley powerhouse dictating the hardware, software and services.
Pixel, which comes in 5-inch and 5.5-inch (12.7cm and 14cm) screen sizes, boasts a fingerprint reader, a camera billed as the best in any smartphone, unlimited online storage for photos and videos and quick charging combined with long battery life.
Pixel is powered by the latest version of the Android mobile operating system, Nougat.
Pixel also features Virtual Assistant artificial intelligence to enable users to manage tasks and get information in natural conversation format.
Pixel's starting price of US$649 (S$890) in the United States is the same as that of Apple's newest iPhone.
2. GOOGLE HOME
This flower vase-sized speaker infused with machine smarts and voice controls acts as a cyber concierge for getting information and managing tasks in the house or flat.
Home listens for commands or queries even while playing music, and can control other smart devices in range.
Google Home will be available in shops next month but can be pre-ordered earlier.
The device's price in the US is US$129.
3. DAYDREAM VIEW
This new virtual reality headgear comes up against Facebook-owned Oculus and Samsung Gear VR.
Smartphones compatible with Google's Daydream software platform can be slipped into play in View headgear to act as screens for virtual reality experiences.
View's cloth-based material makes it lighter and potentially more comfortable than devices already on the market.
It is priced at US$79 in the US where it will arrive next month.
In comparison, Samsung Gear VR costs US$100 while the Oculus Rift headgear has a US$599 price tag.
4. CHROMECAST ULTRA
This is an improved version of medallion-sized Chromecast devices that plug into TV monitors for viewing online streaming videos.
The new generation Chromecast promised more reliable viewing and image quality ramped all the way up to ultra-high definition 4K video.
Chromecast Ultra is priced at US$69 and will be available next month in the US and 15 other countries.
5. GOOGLE WI-FI
This system promises to make sure people can connect to the Internet from anywhere in a home.
Disk-sized Wi-Fi modules can be placed in various spots in homes so getting online is uniformly easy.
The Wi-Fi software even allows users to cut off children's gadgets from the Internet when they should be in bed.
Pre-orders for Wi-Fi start next month at US$129 for a single unit or US$299 for a pack of three modules.