Today is Google’s big annual consumer hardware launch. I’ll be there with all the latest updates right here on Which? Conversation, but will we see anything groundbreaking from the tech giant?
Autumn is consumer tech launch season as the big players unveil their line-ups for the shopping season: Black Friday, Cyber Monday and of course Christmas. We’ve already seen big launches from Microsoft and Amazon in the past couple of weeks, and today it’s Google’s turn.
The actual event is in New York, and sadly I’m not jetting off to the Big Apple for it, but I will be at the parallel London event in Shoreditch this afternoon.
Although Google does other big events through the year, this is the one where they show off their new kit.
In the past couple of years at this event Google has launched its Google Home devices and Pixel smartphones, and last year it added the Pixelbook, a luxury Chromebook, and its Pixel Buds earphones that come with inbuilt translation abilities.
What can we expect?
Google doesn’t reveal in advance what it’s going to launch, but there are plenty of good informed guesses out there. It’s not sticking my neck out to say we can expect the Pixel 3 phones to be launched, and they’re probably going to feature the notch display that many other phones already have.
We’re also expecting to see a Google Home with a screen, with pundits confidently saying it’s going to be called the Google Home Hub, taking on Amazon’s Echo Show.
There’s talk of a Chrome OS tablet, which I’m particularly interested in seeing as I’m not sure that Chrome OS is really ready for showtime as a tablet device just yet. There could also be a new version of the Pixelbook, and refreshes of both the Chromecast and the Pixel Buds.
I’ve seen speculation about some kind of smart TV kit bundling a Google Home Mini and a Chromecast, which would be an interesting move. Google has made a couple of feints into the content delivery space pretty much owned by Amazon with its Fire Stick and Fire TV ranges, but hasn’t done anything big in that area since the Nexus Player, which it killed off in 2016.
Mind you, it has kept Android updated on the Nexus Player: mine is running last year’s Android Oreo, though that will be its last update – it won’t be getting Android Pie.
Google has also played with putting Android TV directly on to televisions, but that has been a low-key strategy. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a new play for your sitting room from Google today – it’s a bit of a gap in its march to global device domination.
What are you particularly looking forward to seeing? Will you be watching the livestream on Google’s YouTube channel? I’ll be updating this piece in the comments, and I’d love to have you join me. It starts at 4pm.