Exactly a year after unveiling the Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones, Google is set to hold a mega event on October 4 to announce what it has in store for this holiday shopping season. The biggest highlights of the event are going to be the “Made by Google” Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL smartphones that will compete with Apple’s iPhone X, Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8, and LG V30. Let’s check out what else we can expect to see at the Pixel 2 event.
Before looking at the products we should expect on October 4, let’s talk about the Pixel 2 event a bit. The show is set to take place at the SFJazz Center in San Francisco. It will kick off at 9 a.m. Pacific Time or 12 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, Oct.4. If you want to watch the live stream of the press event from the comfort of your home, go to this YouTube link a few minutes before it starts. Unlike Apple, Google does not have any specific hardware requirements. Anyone can watch it.
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Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL
The search engine giant is going to introduce the successors to the original Pixel phones on Oct.4. Smartphones are increasingly becoming a commodity, but Android fans are eager to see the next-gen Pixel phones. The original Pixel had an ordinary design, but it was one of the best smartphones released last year. The Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL have leaked multiple times in the last few weeks.
The regular Pixel 2 will be manufactured by HTC, and will appear similar to the last year’s Pixel. Interestingly, Google is buying part of HTC’s smartphone business for $1.1 billion. The Pixel 2 will have a roughly 5-inch display with Full HD resolution. The phone will retain the thick bezels at the top and bottom, unlike other flagship phones that are opting for a bezel-less screen.
The Google Pixel 2 will have a metal and glass design similar to last year’s model. The phone will lack a dual camera system. It doesn’t mean the Pixel 2 will not bring any improvements. It will have a squeezable frame called Active Edge to activate Google Assistant. It will work similar to the HTC U11. Google will also add front-facing stereo speakers to the new phones. However, it will ditch the 3.5mm audio jack.
Even though the Pixel 2 will have only a single camera on the back, Google will offer Portrait Mode by using software algorithm. The upcoming phones would offer 4GB RAM and Snapdragon 835 processor. They will run Android Oreo out of the box. The Pixel 2 would be available in 64GB (priced at $649) and 128GB ($749) storage options.
The larger Pixel 2 XL will also get the front stereo speakers, Active Edge frame, Android Oreo, Snapdragon 835 chipset, 4GB RAM, and a single camera lens on the back. It would also have a metal and glass design with a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, and would ditch the 3.5mm headphone jack. Where the Pixel 2 XL differs from its smaller sibling is the front panel and battery size.
The Pixel 2 XL is said to have a 6-inch screen with slim bezels. It would look similar to the LG G6 and LG V30. The Pixel 2 XL would have a Quad HD OLED display, unlike its smaller sibling that would sport a Full HD screen. It is rumored to be available in 64GB and 128GB storage options with a price tag of $849 and $949, respectively. The Pixel 2 XL is expected to pack a 3520mAh battery compared to the regular Pixel’s 2700mAh. Both the new phones will come with an IP67 rating for water-resistance.
Google Home Mini
We wouldn’t be surprised to see a smaller version of Google Home at the Pixel 2 event. Google’s biggest rival Amazon offers a variety of smart speakers at different price points, dominating nearly 70% of the US market. The search engine giant needs to bring a more affordable home speaker if it wants to give Amazon a tough competition.
The rumor mill claims Google’s affordable smart speaker will be called Google Home Mini. It would cost around $49, and give users access to the Google Assistant. The Home Mini would go up against Amazon’s Echo Dot.
There have also been rumors of a larger Home Max smart speaker, but not much is known about it. We are not sure if it will be unveiled at the Pixel 2 event. According to 9to5Mac, the Home Max will compete with Apple’s upcoming HomePod and Amazon’s new Echo.
Daydream View VR Headset
Google is planning to unveil a new VR headset at the Pixel 2 event that will succeed the original Daydream View. The second-generation Daydream View is said to come with a motion controller and in a few color choices. It is rumored to cost $99, slightly more expensive than its predecessor that was priced at $79. The upcoming VR headset should work with Google’s Pixel 2 phones.
Google is preparing to launch a premium Chromebook called PixelBook on October 4th. The PixelBook will be yet another attempt by Google to prove that the Chrome OS has become mainstream, though it hasn’t yet. The extremely affordable Chromebooks have been accepted widely in the US classrooms. The PixelBook is said to be a 2-in-1 with a metal body.
People will be able to use it as a laptop or fold it into a tablet. It is said to support a stylus called “Pixel Pen.” According to the rumor mill, it would support Google Assistant, and will be available in 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB storage options. However, it won’t be cheap. The PixelBook is rumored to have a starting price of $1,200, which would pit it directly against Apple’s MacBook Pro and Microsoft’s Surface Book.
Now that the Chrome OS can run Android apps, the PixelBook shouldn’t experience a shortage of high-quality apps. It will have access to the apps in the Play Store, though most apps in the Play Store are not optimized for large screens.
Since Google is removing the 3.5mm headphone jack from the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, it will reportedly add a USB to 3.5mm dongle in the Google Pixel 2 box. But that’s not the best solution. The California company has been working on wireless headphones under the code-name “Bisto” that it would show off at the Pixel 2 event. However, these headphones will be sold separately at a hefty price tag.
David Ruddock of Android Police said in a tweet that Google would unveil “Bluetooth earbuds” on Oct.4. These headphones will have an over-the-head wire between the buds, which could turn off a few potential buyers. They are going to cost you $159, the same as Apple’s AirPods. There will be an Action button on the headphones to activate Google Assistant. The headphones will allow you to check weather updates, convert measurements, translate phrases, add items to your calendar, and do much more via Google Assistant.
It is Google’s response to Apple’s ARKit. The search engine giant announced the ARCore in August. It is a set of tools that will help developers build AR games, content, and experiences on existing phones with single cameras. It means ARCore will bring augmented reality to the masses. We expect Google to provide an update on ARCore and show us how it works on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL.
A few surprises
Though the rumor mill has leaked tons of details on most of the products Google will unveil at the Pixel 2 event, there is always the possibility of a few surprises. There could be a new Chromecast stick, which hasn’t be overhauled in a long time. Or maybe a new Android Wear smartwatch? We will find out in a couple of days.