Google held its biggest ever hardware event on Tuesday, and we got a glimpse at devices that bear more of Google’s fingerprint than anything they’ve done before. Yet most of us here at TechCrunch, including myself and TCBC guest for this week Frederic Lardinois, came away with the feeling that the event was less about hardware than it was about Google’s work with artificial intelligence and machine learning.
The new Pixel phones are still very much of interest from a hardware perspective – they have great fit and finish based on early tests, and the camera looks to be a strong competitor for the smartphone crown, pending real-world trials. Its focus on Assistant via the Pixel Launcher on the software side is also going to be a unique advantage it has over other Android devices, it seems, since they won’t be rolled into the version of Nougat 7.1 that goes out to other OEM devices.
The other most interesting announcement from the event was Google Home, which we already knew about but which looks like it could offer some big perks over Amazon Echo, including the ability to quickly send audio/video content to Chromecast devices plugged into your speakers and TVs. Plus, it’s also got Assistant on board – everything circles back to AI for Google, including this connected speaker.
Google still has to demonstrate that Assistant benefits consumers in actual use on all these devices, but it looks like the company has one of the most cohesive and coherent strategies around hardware it’s managed to muster ever, so it’s an exciting time for fans of Google’s software and services looking for a more tailored device experience.
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