Here in New York, the air is crisp and the leaves have begun to turn crimson and brown. That can only mean one thing: hardware season is upon us. Backdropped by cloudy, gray Manhattan skies, Google is set to take to the stage on Tuesday, October 15, to show off its just-in-time-for-the-holidays hardware line.
As ever, the event will be headlined by the latest version of the company’s flagship smartphone, the Pixel. But this event has always been packed. The Google Nest (née Home) line has long been a highlight. This time last year, we got our first peek at the company’s very good Home Hub smart display.
Based on the rumors, this year is shaping up to be a veritable deluge of Google Hardware news. In addition to multiple Pixel versions, we’re also anticipating a new addition to the Pixelbook line and, perhaps even a new take on the company’s lukewarmly received Pixel Buds.
As ever, let’s start with the main attraction.
This much we can say for sure. The Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL are coming. Google’s not done a particularly good job keeping its new device under wraps. The reasons are likely two-fold. First, leaks happen. There are a million points of failure when launching a new phone. Stuff gets out. That said, the company has felt the pain of slowing smartphone sales as much as anyone. It’s certainly not above priming the rumor pump (check the above video).
The phone has been leaking for months now, including a fresh batch of marking photos that dropped this morning, courtesy of Evan Blass. The big constant among the leaks so far has been the company’s adoption of a similar trypophobia-inducing circle-in-square camera pattern as the latest iPhone. This is just how phones look now, I guess.
Google’s seemingly bucking the whole one-camera-is-enough bit for the Pixel XL, with a dual setup (featuring a 16-megapixel telephoto). Given what the company has been able to accomplish with a single setup, we can probably expect some pretty impressive imaging from the device. Other additions include face unlock and motion sensors, which let users do things like quiet calls and skip songs with hand gestures.
Expect Android 10 to come loaded on the device, because Google. 5G is also rumored for the device, but seems considerably less likely. Other rumors include a new emergency service feature and built-in audio transcription capabilities, with could be a boon for people who do interviews for a living, like yours truly.
Once again, the phones will be available in standard and XL versions. There’s also an orange version (“oh so orange,” as it were), continuing Google’s colorful experimentation.
The company’s premium line of ChromeOS devices is reportedly getting a new family member. The Pixelbook Go. Per 9to5Google, the device is less a direct sequel to the original than a new take on the line. The device is said to eschew the more convertible form factors of the original and the Pixel Slate, instead going for something more like a straightforward laptop design.
Google’s admittedly been a bit…wishy-washy when it comes to the future of the line, but given how successful the broader Chromebook category has been, it would be silly to abandon it altogether. The smart approach would be offering a premium take on the category at a budget price, though it sounds like the new version will more or less be the same price as the other models.
Leaks suggest a 13.3-inch touchscreen device that can be specced up to 4K. The laptop will reportedly sport the same two USB C port setup as the original, which is a bit of a disappointment, as a lack of ports was one of the bigger complaints on the original.
New Pixel Buds?! Hey, why not. Google admittedly whiffed a bit with the originals. But with every other hardware company tackling the space, why wouldn’t Google give it another go? The company’s got some stiff competition from Apple/Beats, Samsung and Sony, but Google’s got the software smarts to make a compelling play. Probably.
Details for the product are still sparse, at the moment.
The Nest/Home line is getting a bunch of updates next week (most likely). Google’s best-selling Home Mini is finally getting an update. There’s a new Nesty name and a few new bits and bobs, including better sound and new colors. Otherwise, it’s probably mostly the same, which is fine, assuming the price stays low.
Another long-awaited refresh is a new version of Google Wifi. That, too, is becoming a Nest product. It’s also going to bring more smart home synergy by building a smart speaker into the product, per rumors.
The event kicks off at 10AM ET on Tuesday, October 15. Join us live here on TechCrunch.com, won’t you?