It’s almost time. Google will announce their latest crop of hardware in the wee hours of Wednesday morning here in Australia. We’ve seen plenty of leaks over the past few months, so what will Google announce?
The highlight of the event will be the Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, which have broken cover several times over the past few months.
There will be two Pixel 4 phones, the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL available in three colours – Just Black, Clearly White and, Oh So Orange. Specs internally are mostly the same with a Snapdragon 855 processor, 6GB of RAM, and options for either 64GB or 128GB of storage (No, Google doesn’t do expandable storage unfortunately).
The phones will differ in terms of screen size — 5.7-inch FHD+ resolution for Pixel 4 and 6.3-inch QHD+ resolution for Pixel 4 XL — though both will use a 90Hz display for smoother transitions and gaming. The Pixel 4 will feature a 2,800 mAh battery, while the larger Pixel 4 XL will have a 3,700 mAh battery.
Google is finally releasing a Pixel phone with dual rear cameras, with a 12MP sensor paired with a 16MP sensor with a telephoto lens. The cameras will feature improved night photography, including a new astrophotography mode which I cannot wait to try out.
There is only a single front-facing camera, which will feature a new face unlock feature similar to Apple’s Face ID which will utilise IR dots to map your face in addition to the camera.
The front of the phone will also introduce Google’s ‘Soli’ radar feature to the phone which will enable air gestures as shown off by Google earlier this year allowing you to control your phone without touching it.
Google is expected to include both a Titan M security chip in both phones, as well as a re-vamped visual core processor for better photo processing, though rumours are it’s been renamed the Pixel Neural Core and offer some enhancements for the new Google Assistant.
Google Wifi Gen 2 with Google Assistant speakers
It’s a hardware event, so expect something of everything and we’re looking at new Google Wifi — now renamed to Nest Wifi — to be announced this year, but it will now include Google Assistant speakers in the pucks.
The Nest Wifi will differ slightly in the hardware as well, with three packs now featuring a single router along with ‘beacons’. The Beacons will extend the mesh network like the previous models, without the additional hardware of being standalone routers.
There will be some Google Assistant functionality built-in for Nest Wifi including the option to pause the Nest Wifi network with your voice – a great way to get the kids off their devices and to the dinner table, or to bed when you need to.
Google Nest Mini — or, Google Home Mini Gen 2
Since Google announced the Home Mini in 2017 I’ve ended up with a bunch of these, but there’s a new model coming this week and it’s apparently better.
The new Nest Mini will feature improved speakers for a better sound, as well as a 3.5mm headphone jack – though there’s a little bit of confusion as to whether this will require a dongle to connect to.
Google has also revamped the design to allow you to wall mount the Nest Mini without the need for mounting brackets. Instead the FCC filing for the Nest Mini shows a simple cut out on the rear to allow you to hang the Nest Mini on the wall.
Pixel Buds 2
The original Pixel Buds received a tepid reception from users, despite Google offering several software updates with improved functionality – still, according to rumour we’re getting Pixel Buds 2.
Not many details exist on the Pixel Buds 2, including whether they’ll retain the same form factor with a cable connecting them, or if they’ll be truly wireless like many ear buds launching these days.
There’s a bunch of things wrong with the original Pixel Buds (charging, fit, charging case etc.), so hopefully Google has taken all that on-board for gen 2.
Google is about to release a new Chromebook, which since we’ve never had one launched officially here in Australia is going to be a bit of a non-event here – but on the off chance they do want to finally bring their high-end Chrome OS devices to Australia, we’d love to see this one here.
The Pixelbook Go will include a 13.3″ display which will have 4K resolution at the high-end and FullHD in lower end models. The screen will be touch sensitive to allow you to interact with it, a boon when using Android apps on Chrome OS.
Internally you’ll see Intel Core m3, i5 and i7 configurations, as well as 8GB or 16GB of RAM and options for 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB of storage.
Google has included front-firing speakers on the Pixelbook Go, as well as 2MP camera on the front for video conferencing and even though it’s a low-res sensor it can still capture video at 1080p/60fps. Google will also include a Titan C security chip inside, and on the outside you’ll get two USB-C ports and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
What won’t we see?
Well, this is Google so the rumour mill has been running rampant. So what are the rumours and will we see them come to life?
First up is a 5G Pixel 4. News site Nikkei Asian Review says that their sources have been tipped to Google testing a 5G Pixel 4, and while it’d be nice the chances are slim that it will launch.
Google skipped 4G on the Nexus 4 when it launched, and with modems/chipsets and the 5G networks currently only in their infancy it makes sense for Google to skip 5G for the Pixel 4 and launch the Pixel 5 with 5G next year. Still, if it happens we’d love to see a 5G Pixel 4.
Wear OS Android Wear smartwatch eco-system has been fairly stagnant for a while. The fan base has been heavily hoping for a Google branded ‘Pixel Watch’ for some time and there’s at least one rumour Nikkei Asian Review that it’s coming – but the reality is that the Pixel watch isn’t coming.
There apparently was a Pixel Watch back, but incoming Google hardware chief Rick Osterloh cancelled the watch just days prior to the first ‘Made by Google’ event in 2016.
The increased focus on smartwatches since the release of the new Apple Watch has led for calls to Google to lead the way and release a ‘Pixel Watch’, but first and foremost Google needs a better processor than Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor to even come close to functionality provided by other watches so a Pixel Watch announcement is a big longshot.
Where to watch?
The Made by Google 2019 event will be live streamed on YouTube as usual, with the event set to kick off at 10am Pacific Time October 15th — that’s 1am AEDT on October 16th for those of us back here in Australia.
You’ll be able to get all the information here on Wednesday morning, or you can watch along live on YouTube.