WELCOME TO our regular Friday take on everything that happened this week in Google. And there was only ever one story this week. If you want to see what else we’ve said about Google you can always try here. Bookmark it, even.
So there’s this new hardware….
Don’t consider this a review. We’ve already got some hands-on reviews up, and we’ll be doing full reviews in the coming weeks.
This is more an analysis of what launched, what didn’t and what Google’s game is.
So let’s start with what didn’t materialise. The key thing was the Pixelbook 2. That was a surprise as we’d seen two different devices pass through the FCC. There are a number of possible reasons for this. It could be as simple as the hardware not being ready – after all there were very few Pixel Slate devices for us to test at the launch. Maybe there were even fewer Pixelbook 2 devices.
The second possibility, and this one seems more likely, is that the sheer volume of leftover Pixelbook 1 machines from last year is such that it makes sense to get rid of them first.
For most companies, this would be a borderline disastrous move, but the Pixelbook was so overpowered for a Chromebook and so expensive, that it can last another season – a boast usually reserved for Nvidia Shield products.
The Pixel Slate is pretty lovely, but as we’ve said in our hands-on, it’s very expensive for what it is and that does seem to be Google’s ‘thing’.
We’re now almost used to spending a grand on a high-end flagship phone, for rightly or wrongly, but Google is pretty cocky releasing a very incremental update to last year’s models and relying largely on software features. There are not many flagships launching this year with only one camera lens on the main camera.
The Chromecast had an even more incremental update, so much so that it wasn’t even mentioned in the presentation. It feels like the last reasonably priced device in town, but that’s sort of the point – it’s their gateway drug. It’s joined by the relatively reasonably-priced Google Home Hub, which openly wears its intentions on its sleeve.
The lack of a camera is designed to make people more comfortable with the idea of having Google Assistant in private areas such as the bedroom. Because once we’re used to it, we’ll buy more stuff like that. Simple as.
In other words – if the price is good, Google probably has a plan.
There was no upgrade for the rather hideous Pixel Buds – with so many brands now releasing adequate true wireless phones, Google either had to join the party or go the other way, and so instead it chose some old school wired ones with USB-C connection, for a modest £30 (if sold separately). We may see them go back down this road in the future but given the drubbing the originals got, Google was wise to back out for now.
Also notable by its absence was any kind of watch. Now, we’d been told not to expect one, but we can’t help feeling that this was probably worth reconsidering. Wear OS remains in the doldrums and with a brand new version released just two weeks ago, this would have been the perfect opportunity for a relaunch. With Samsung and (if rumours are to be believed) Huawei abandoning Wear OS, then expect we’d really have liked to see Google use the Pixel brand to create some lineage.
In short, it was a “less is more” event, but as ever the reality is that Google is great at making hardware that is good quality, but only ever as good as the market leader – never more – and quite often doesn’t do what you want it to. After all – £1849 for a tablet and accessories that run Chrome OS? Erm…. who is your target market exactly, Google? μ
Source : Inquirer