Post by: Amit Chowdhry | Forbes | 09/08/2016


At the beginning of October, Google GOOGL -0.64% is reportedly announcing several highly anticipated devices. Specifically Google will host an event on October 4th where it will reveal new “Pixel” smartphones and a new version of the Chromecast, according to a source with Android Police. Google is also likely going to highlight its Google Home and Daydream VR viewer products at the event.

Pixel-Branded Smartphones

Rumor has it that Google will announce two new smartphones at the event. The 5-inch variant is expected to be called the Pixel and the 5.5-inch will be known as the Pixel XL. This means that Google would be dropping the Nexus brand for smartphones that are manufactured by HTC HTCCY +% in favor of the Pixel brand. Internally Google is believed to be referring to the Pixel and Pixel XL as the codenames “Sailfish” and “Marlin,” respectively.

The Google Pixel and Pixel XL will ship with Android 7.1 out of the box, according to LlabTooFeR – who is known for being reliable when it comes to HTC leaks. LlabTooFeR also learned that both of the Pixel smartphones are going to use the same cameras on the front and the back. According to LlabTooFeR’s source, the Pixel phones will have the Sony IMX179 8-megapixel sensor on the front and the Sony IMX378 12-megapixel sensor on the back. Slashgear pointed out that the Sony IMX179 is also used in the Nexus 5 and Nexus 6P.

How much will the Pixel and Pixel XL cost? The 32GB Pixel is expected to cost $449 whereas the 32GB Pixel XL is $150 more at $599.

It’s fair to assume that the Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones will look like smaller versions of the Pixel C Android tablet. Google revealed the metal-enclosed 10.2-inch Pixel C Android tablet about a year ago. Accessories like keyboards can be connected to the Pixel C Android tablet magnetically. The Pixel C has a high-resolution display of 308ppi with 500 nits of brightness. Inside of the Pixel C is a USB Type-C port, an NVIDIA NVDA +0.71% X1 quad-core processor, a Maxwell GPU and 3GB RAM. And the Pixel C does not have any clasps or kickstands like some of its rivals.

What about Google’s Project Ara? VentureBeat recently received a statement from a Google spokesperson that Ara would not be coming to market. Google started working on the Project Ara initiative about three years ago with the goal of making smartphones modular so parts can be replaced like Legos. Google could potentially license this technology to third parties though.

Google Chromecast

The new version of the Chromecast is expected to have 4K support. And Google might be calling it the “Chromecast Plus” or “Chromecast Ultra.”

Google was reportedly going to launch a 4K version of the Chromecast in the fall of 2015, but it released a new disc-shaped design of the dongle (second-generation) and the Chromecast Audio device instead.

This year, it seems likely that the upcoming Chromecast will support 4K for the benefit of consumers that have upgraded to TV sets that support 4K content. Apple AAPL -2.65% TV, one of the biggest Chromecast rivals, does not support 4K so this would put Google ahead of Apple in the digital media player market. However, the Amazon Fire TV already supports 4K Ultra HD content.

Google currently sells the current generation of Chromecast and Chromecast Audio devices for $35 each. It is unknown whether the 4K version of the Chromecast will cost more or not.

Google Home

During the event next month, Google will likely announce where and when the Google Home device will be available for purchase. Google demoed its Amazon Echo competitor at the I/O conference in May. In the Google Home presentation, Google said that the base of the voice-activated wireless speaker will be customizable in different colors and finishes like metal or fabric so that it can be reflected in the style of the room that it is placed in.

Google Home will be able to respond to commands like “play the evening playlist” and “play it in all the rooms.” And “turn the lights on in John’s bedroom.” It can supports search queries to answer questions from users like how many stars are in the galaxy, what are the traffic conditions and what is on the calendar for today.

Many engineers have moved over from the Nest Labs division to work on the Google Home project. Nest Labs is a subsidiary of Google’s parent company Alphabet and is reportedly going to continue building new hardware under the “Nest” brand in the future.

Google Daydream VR

Android Police’s source said that more details about the Daydream VR platform will be unveiled at the event next month. Google gave a sneak peek of the Daydream VR platform at I/O back in May.

Rumor has it that the Daydream virtual reality device will be called “Daydream View.” Manufacturers will also be able to utilize the Daydream software platform to develop their own VR headsets. The Pixel XL is reportedly going to be Daydream-ready too.

Some of the apps that will be available on the Daydream VR platform at launch will include YouTube, MLB and HBO Now. And Google is working with YouTube celebrities to promote Daydream.

Android Police said it doesn’t know where Google will be holding the event, but venues in New York and San Francisco have been used in the past so it seems likely that it will be somewhere in one of those locations. It’s also worth mentioning that the date of the announcement may be subject to change.


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