Until now, most rumors about Google’s 2017 hardware lineup have focused on the Google Pixel 2 smartphones. A new report claims the search engine giant might also be planning to launch an all-new Chromebook Pixel and a ‘Mini’ version of the Google Home smart speaker later this year. All the three devices are rumored to be unveiled at the same event, which is expected to take place in October.
Has Project Bison evolved into the new Chromebook Pixel?
Sources familiar with Google’s plans told Android Police that the reborn Chromebook Pixel is just around the corner. Google released the original Chromebook Pixel in 2013, which was refreshed in 2015. The company has not launched a newer version since. Third-party vendors such as HP and Acer have been offering some cool Chromebooks for years.
Little is known about the Chromebook Pixel at this point. Android Police speculates that it was born out of the company’s Project Bison, which was scheduled to debut during the third quarter this year. However, Project Bison was expected to run Andromeda, a cross between Chrome OS and Android. It was supposed to be a convertible PC with a tablet mode. Project Bison was said to feature a 12.3-inch screen and an optional Wacom stylus.
According to rumors, Bison would offer 8GB or 16GB of RAM, and 32GB or 128GB of internal storage. It was tipped to launch at a starting price of $799. Bison is expected to challenge the MacBook and Microsoft’s Surface Pro. It is not yet clear whether Bison will indeed be the new Chromebook Pixel. It’s quite possible that Project Bison might have evolved into another device code-named “Eve”, which the rumor mill claims will be a convertible laptop with a stylus.
Last year, Google’s hardware chief Rick Osterloh said that the company would not launch Chromebook Pixels anymore. He later stated that Google had “no plans to share at this time,” leaving the door open for a possible Chromebook Pixel.
A new Google Home ‘Mini’ to compete with Amazon Echo Dot
Another device that we will see at Google’s fall event is a miniaturized version of Google Home smart speaker. It will be a smaller, cheaper version of the regular Google Home. Buying a new Google Home for every room in the house can be expensive. With the Home “Mini”, Google will provide existing customers an affordable way to get new smart speakers for additional rooms in the house. The Home Mini will compete against Amazon’s Echo Dot, which has become incredibly popular.
Google Pixel 2 specs
The third device, Google Pixel 2, is the most anticipated product from the search engine giant this year. The new Pixel phones will launch in two sizes: a 4.97-inch Pixel 2 and a larger 5.99-inch Pixel XL 2. Recent leaks suggest that both phones will have a “squeezable” frame that will allow users to perform different functions or launch apps by pressing the frame. It will be similar to the technology used in HTC U11.
The new Pixel smartphones will have an aluminum and glass back panel, similar to the original Pixel. But the glass area has become smaller than before. It means the fingerprint sensor will be positioned on the metal part of the back panel. The Pixel 2 will have a single camera on the back with dual LED flash. Google has opted not to join the race for the dual camera system, at least this year.
In terms of specs, the upcoming Pixel smartphones are rumored to offer 4GB RAM and 64GB of built-in storage. It is said to be the first smartphone to run Qualcomm’s upcoming Snapdragon 836 chipset, which will be an improved version of Snapdragon 835. Surprisingly, the search engine giant will ditch the 3.5mm headphone jack from the Pixel 2, most likely to get rid of the wires and make the phone more waterproof.
Google Assistant-enabled headphones
Separately, a new report claims that Google might be planning to launch a new set of headphones with Pixel 2. So, what’s special about the new headphones? Folks at 9to5Google have discovered in an APK breakdown that the new headphones will allow you to access Google Assistant even without touching your phone. It will have two hardware buttons that will allow you to hear and reply to notifications.
The headset will have a dedicated button to activate Google Assistant. It is not yet known whether there will be a power button and volume toggles. The Google Assistant will also answer your questions through the headphones. These accessories are reportedly code-named “Bistro.” It would be interesting to see whether Google includes them in the Pixel 2 boxes or sells them separately.
Google hasn’t revealed when the Pixel 2, Chromebook Pixel, and Google Home Mini would be announced. But we can expect them to hit the stores in time for the holiday shopping season. The original Pixel was announced in October last year. Google will likely unveil the new devices in October this year.