Google unveils Pixel 3 and Home Hub smart screen

Google is releasing an updated version of its high-end Pixel phone packed with new camera tricks, a Chrome O...

Posted: Oct 9, 2018 10:12 PM
Updated: Oct 9, 2018 10:12 PM

Google is releasing an updated version of its high-end Pixel phone packed with new camera tricks, a Chrome OS tablet and its first smart-screen device with Google Assistant.

Put another way: Google is taking on the iPhone, the Surface Pro and the Echo Show.

Alphabet Inc

Artificial intelligence

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

Companies

Computer science and information technology

Google Inc

Home automation

Internet of Things

Smart technology

Technology

Voice and virtual assistants

Computer graphics

Digital privacy

Law and legal system

Privacy rights

Arts and entertainment

Cameras

Consumer electronics

Consumer products

Electronics

Photography

Visual arts

The company announced on Tuesday the new Pixel 3, Pixel Slate and Google Home Hub. All three are additions to its "Made for Google" lineup and were announced at a press event in New York City.

The trio represent the latest update from Google's two-and-a-half-year-old hardware division, which is finally building a single, cohesive Google device brand.

"We've realized that if we wanted to push the envelope on innovation, we really needed to have a focused hardware effort," Rick Osterloh, Google's SVP of hardware, told CNN Business during an early look at the new products. "That meant combining the very best of Google's technology — our AI, our software and all of the hardware that we're building — to create a great user experience."

The launch of a device with an always-on microphone and a camera comes at a critical time for the company. On Monday, Google acknowledged a previously undisclosed vulnerability that had to potential to expose Google+ accounts, but no evidence of a breach was found. The company did not mention the issue at the event.

Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL

At the center of the Google hardware ecosystem is the new Pixel 3, a sleek Android device that comes in two sizes (regular and XL) and three colors (black, white and pale pink).

For this update, Google has kept the phones the same size but made the screens larger by pushing them closer to the edges of the phone. The Pixel 3 costs $799 and its 5.5-inch display is 5% larger than its predecessor. The Pixel 3 XL has a 6.3-inch screen that is 10% larger than the previous version and costs $899. Other than their size, the two devices share all the same features. Google has also added wireless charging to both phones.

The main draw of the Pixel 3 is its photography features. There's a new wide-angle selfie lens on the front for group shots, but unlike other phones in the price range, the Pixel has not added a second back-facing camera. Instead it focuses more on computational photography: software-based improvements for photos.

"We have the world's best imaging scientists working on our camera technology, and they've been working on similar problems for Google for 20 years," said Osterloh. "The very first image search came from this technology group."

Google honed some of that new camera technology in last year's oddball "Clips" camera, a stationary device that used AI to detect when to take photos of your family.

The Pixel 3's software automatically finds the best option in a burst of photos, like one in which the subject is smiling with their eyes open. A night mode combines multiple photos into one brighter image, and a super zoom does the same to piece together a sharper far-away scene. Photobooth, the most Clips-like feature, detects the right moment to take a photo. And the Playground feature uses image detection to recommend interactive, animated graphics to overlay on photos.

Meanwhile, Google Lens -- the company's image-recognition app -- is now built into the camera app, and Google Assistant will field calls from unknown numbers with pre-recorded replies and transcriptions of the conversation.

To show off the camera, Google has hired famed photographer Annie Leibovitz to take photos around the country of inspiring people and places. The company will unveil the series of photos sometime in the future.

Google Home Hub

The evolution of smart speakers seems to include screens.

Amazon was first with its Echo Show. Google partnered with third-party companies earlier this year on screen-festooned speakers with the Google Assistant voice interface. And on Monday, Facebook announced the Portal, its own smart screen device specifically designed for video calls.

Now Google has made its very own "smart screen," the $149 Google Home Hub. Overall the device has most of the same features as the third-party Google Assistant smart screens. Google did add a RGB sensor to measure the light in a room and adjust the screen accordingly, including dimming at night. The gadget, which comes in three colors, looks like a phablet mounted on a bluetooth speaker.

Google's business plan for the Home line is to make money not only selling the devices but also with subscription services like YouTube Music, Osterloh said. As of now, the company isn't discussing putting ads on the devices, or how it is collecting or using data.

"Where it goes in the future, who knows, but our main aim is to make sure we're giving great value to users and putting them in control," he said.

Other gadgets

Google also announced the Pixel Slate (starting at $599), a large Chrome OS tablet aimed at professionals. The Chromecast dongle is getting a slightly new look, but it will still cost $35 and perform the same streaming tasks. There's also a Mickey Mouse-shaped mount for the regular Google Home smart speaker, designed for kids who like to use the voice assistant and play voice games.

Some people might look at a smart screen device and think, why can't I just put my phone in a stand, leave on its microphone and have it do the same thing? Well, Google is here for you on that: The company is making a special stand for the Pixel 3 that basically turns it into an always-listening smart display.

Google finally put its Nest division under the Made by Google management earlier this year, but there were no new announcements from that line on Tuesday.

Privacy, security, and timing

With privacy being top of mind for consumers this year, Google's Tuesday event may have come at an inopportune time -- just one day after the reveal of the vulnerability that could have exposed Google + accounts. The company says privacy is something it takes seriously.

"Security and privacy are a huge consideration when we design these products," Osterloh told CNN Business. "We also make sure that when we're designing products, we're thinking through all privacy considerations for the end user. Our approach to this is to make sure that we give users lots of control and transparency about all of the privacy considerations in their product usage."

--CNN's Kaya Yurieff contributed to this report.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 33068

Reported Deaths: 2068
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9524558
Lake3494175
Cass15897
Allen141966
St. Joseph122134
Hendricks114268
Hamilton113292
Elkhart110128
Johnson1092106
Madison58459
Porter50522
Bartholomew49034
Clark47941
LaPorte42022
Tippecanoe3823
Howard37824
Delaware37636
Jackson3721
Shelby36822
Hancock32727
Floyd31739
Boone30535
Morgan27724
Vanderburgh2592
Montgomery23417
White2308
Decatur22431
Clinton2221
Noble20421
Grant19721
Dubois1903
Harrison18921
Henry16910
Greene16824
Monroe16512
Warrick16528
Dearborn16521
Vigo1538
Lawrence15223
Miami1401
Putnam1357
Jennings1294
Orange12422
Scott1203
Ripley1106
Franklin1098
Kosciusko1011
Carroll933
Daviess8416
Steuben812
Marshall801
Newton7610
Wayne756
Fayette747
Wabash742
LaGrange682
Jasper661
Washington511
Jay490
Fulton471
Clay461
Rush452
Randolph453
Jefferson431
Pulaski410
Whitley383
Owen351
Sullivan341
DeKalb331
Brown331
Starke323
Perry280
Wells270
Benton260
Huntington262
Knox250
Tipton241
Crawford230
Blackford222
Parke190
Spencer191
Switzerland190
Fountain182
Posey160
Gibson142
Adams131
Ohio130
Warren121
Vermillion100
Martin90
Union80
Pike60
Unassigned0161

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 115833

Reported Deaths: 5186
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook753063519
Lake7933281
DuPage7460350
Kane6083167
Will5356268
Winnebago209153
McHenry148870
St. Clair105077
Kankakee83644
Kendall75119
Rock Island63923
Champaign5957
Madison54557
Boone42416
DeKalb3704
Sangamon34328
Randolph2674
Jackson25610
McLean21613
Ogle2002
Stephenson1992
Macon19219
Peoria1918
Out of IL1831
Clinton18017
Union1519
Unassigned1490
LaSalle14113
Whiteside13412
Iroquois1314
Coles12313
Warren1130
Jefferson10116
Knox960
Grundy952
Monroe9311
McDonough847
Lee791
Tazewell704
Cass690
Henry670
Williamson602
Marion500
Jasper457
Adams441
Macoupin442
Perry410
Pulaski410
Montgomery391
Vermilion381
Morgan341
Christian334
Jo Daviess320
Livingston322
Douglas260
Fayette203
Ford201
Jersey201
Menard190
Mason180
Washington180
Woodford182
Hancock160
Mercer160
Shelby161
Bureau151
Carroll142
Bond121
Franklin120
Piatt120
Schuyler120
Clark110
Crawford110
Fulton110
Brown100
Cumberland100
Logan100
Moultrie100
Wayne91
Alexander80
Henderson80
Johnson70
Massac70
Saline70
Effingham61
Greene50
Marshall50
De Witt40
Lawrence40
Richland30
Stark30
Clay20
Edwards20
Gallatin20
Hamilton20
Wabash20
White20
Calhoun10
Hardin10
Pike10
Pope10
Putnam10
Edgar00
Terre Haute
Overcast
66° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 66°
Robinson
Overcast
64° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 64°
Indianapolis
Overcast
64° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 64°
Rockville
Overcast
62° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 62°
Casey
Scattered Clouds
64° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 64°
Brazil
Overcast
66° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 66°
Marshall
Overcast
66° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 66°
Showers Early, Cooler
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events