This past week Google had their big event to unveil a bunch of new hardware. Slowly but surely Google has been catching up to Apple (along with Microsoft and Samsung) and producing high end hardware that highlights their software in the most ideal way possible. This is an area where Apple has had an advantage for decades. They produce hardware and software that is custom fit for one another. Android has always suffered from fragmentation, and a bit too much openness.
Google has entered the hardware market in small ways before, but with the advent of last year’s Google Pixel, it feels like they’re doubling down. This year they proved that they’re here to stay, showing off a bunch of new devices, a couple of which are very intriguing to me.
First up, the Pixel 2. This is a new iteration of their highly successful phone from last year. They’ve continued to evolve over last year’s model with better performance, and most importantly continued improvements to the camera. A bunch of reviews I’ve seen have said that they were disappointed by the lack of design innovation. However, I feel this is a red herring. Almost everyone I know puts their phone in some form of a case for protection. When you’re spending $500+ on a phone, you protect it. Many of these cases change the design aesthetic of the phone anyway, so the fact that Google didn’t bother to creating something groundbreaking with curved edges means very little to me. Overall, the Pixel 2 looks like a great phone.
Google also announced the Pixelbook. This is its entry into the high end Chromebook market, and wow, does it look amazing. It’s got top of the line specs, and all of the bells and whistles of a nice Macbook. I’m anxious to see one in person and see if the screen and keyboard are as beautiful as they make them out to be. This is also one of the few Chromebooks that has a backlit keyboard, one of my personal needs.
The home automation revolution was also on display in the Google Home Mini and Max. I’ve never really thought much about getting a product like this, except recently I’ve noticed how often I’m talking to my phone to set timers and look things up. Evolving to a home assistant seems to be a natural progression. Something like the Mini might be a good foray into this arena to see if it’s something I would want to keep using.
The new Google camera has very little interest to me, but I could see how some people might like it. Google also unveiled a pen for the Pixelbook, which might be cool, but I’m not a huge pen-on-tablet user. There was a handful of other devices, but the ones above were the ones that interested me the most. I have no idea if any of these will actually find their way into my house, but I’m getting more and more intrigued by Google’s offerings. They give me a lot to ponder on the technology side of things…