Published: Wed, October 10, 2018
Technology | By Lionel Gonzales

Google Home Hub: a display-toting, Amazon Echo Show-rivalling smart speaker

Google Home Hub: a display-toting, Amazon Echo Show-rivalling smart speaker

The idea is to create a Google ecosystem, where photos taken by your Android phone are automatically uploaded to the Hub so it can act as a digital photo frame, where you play music through YouTube, grab recipes through its search function, check out your daily schedule, and interact with your security cameras, video doorbell, thermostat, and smart lighting.

When it comes to Aussie telcos, the Google Pixel has lived exclusively on Telstra for the past two years.

Limited adoption has reflected Google's hesitancy to go as wide and big in distributing and marketing the Pixel as Apple, which launched its last two iPhone line-ups in about 50 countries. By comparison, Apple sold about 217 million iPhones previous year.

At the time, the software was only meant to run on partner devices, but at today's "Made By Google" event, the company unveiled its first in-house smart display, aptly named the "Google Home Hub". The new Pixel phones are also expected to follow the trend of expanding the phone screen almost to the edges of the device.

The Google Home Hub is the prime competitor of Amazon's Echo Show.

"This Chrome OS device is both a powerful workstation at the office, and a home theatre you can hold in your hands", a blog post from Google introducing the new device says.

Since the device is made by Google, it's running Google's operating system: Chrome OS. There's also a new "Home View" UI that gives a quick overview of your smart home hardware. The device, priced at US$149, won't be a video-chatting hub like Amazon's product and Facebook's new Portal speaker, unveiled Monday.

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Plenty of details about the new smartphones have appeared online, although Google has sought to poke fun at the rumours. The phones are launching in the weeks following the debuts of Samsung's Galaxy Note 9 and Apple's iPhone XS and XS Max, and ahead of the iPhone XR.

The Pixel Slate will be available later this year through Google. It has Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and back, with a pixel density of 443ppi. They'll come in three colors: black, white and pink.

Google spent the bulk of the phone portion of the event talking about the devices' new camera.

Like the new iPhone XS and XS Max, the new Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3XL allow you to adjust the blurriness of the background after shooting Portrait Mode photos. Now is your chance to join over 300 industry professionals as we gather in Dallas for the second annual event. Users can now screen spam calls and get a real time transcription of the call so they can decide whether to answer, hang up, or block the number and report it as spam. When placed into the wireless charging stand, the Pixel's UI changes to become readable from a distance.

The Google Pixel 3 is, by far, the worst kept secret in the smartphone world. The device costs US$599, or US$798 including the optional attachable keyboard. With the $199 Pixel Keyboard, the price jumps to $798 - throw in the Chromebook Pen ($99) and the grand total hits $897.

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