Google kicked off the Google I/O conference this afternoon with several announcements, including the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL, midrange smartphones starting at $399.
Google I/O Conference Kicks Off
Google kicked off their yearly Google I/O conference today with several announcements, including the unveiling of the new Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL starting at $399.
Google Pixel 3a and Google Pixel 3a XL
Google's Pixel phones have always been a fan favorite, even if they don't pack the same specs as the bigger phones from Apple and Samsung, and that is the point. Google's strength is in its software, and the Pixel 3a demonstrates this focus by using software to give a positive smartphone experience without the costly hardware that makes phones so expensive.
The drawback, of course, is that some of that expensive hardware is useful, so you are missing out on some features like wireless charging. If that is something you can live without however, Google's Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL offer a low cost alternative to the iPhone and Galaxy. The phone is said to have a battery life of 30 hours on a single charge, and 7 hours off just 15 minutes of charging time.
Google Maps AR
Currently planned for Pixel phones but likely to be rolled out to other devices in the future, Google Maps AR lets you use Maps to navigate using AR to show turn by turn directions in the real world.
Google Assistant Gets a Powerful Upgrade
Google Assistant meanwhile got a powerful boost as Google is now able to move the natural language processing functionality of Google Assistant off of the cloud and down to the device level by shrinking the data footprint required from 100 GB down to 0.5 GB. What this means in practical terms is a 10-fold gain in speed and the ability to operate without a network connection for on device tasks, such as dictating a text or email.
The improvements to the assistant aren't just limited to the speed, however. Google Assistant can now distinguish between contexts better than before. For example, Google Assistant is able to understand when you are dictating an email and when you are giving a command to the Assistant itself while dictating, such as filling out the subject line of the email.
The new Google Assistant will be available on Pixel phones later this year.
Google Nest Hub Max
The Google Home line of devices is getting a rebranding and an upgrade as well with the introduction of the Google Nest Hub Max. The Hub Max is an upgrade to the Google Home Hub that features a larger display and a camera. The Hub Max will feature video calling through Duo, so it can call and receive calls from both iOS and Android devices, and it's camera and microphone can be disabled with a switch on the back of the device.