What you can expect from the Google event
We’re just hours away from a Google event where we’re expecting to see a bunch of new devices and software.
The Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL smartphones are likely to be the stars of the show, but there could be something for almost any tech fan, from VR, to tablets, a whole new operating system, a new Chromecast and more.
Here then is an overview of everything we think we might see today, along with thoughts on how likely each thing is to make an appearance.
Google Pixel and Pixel XL
The Pixel and Pixel XL are set to take the place of the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P as the latest smartphones to run pure Android.
Rumors suggest that these will be real flagships, especially the Pixel XL, which is thought to have a 5.5-inch 1440 x 2560 screen and a big battery.
- Everything you need to know: Google Pixel | Pixel XL
The standard Pixel meanwhile is rumored to have a more compact 5-inch 1080p display, while both phones are rumored to have a metal and glass build, top tier Snapdragon 821 processors, 4GB of RAM, fingerprint scanners, fast charging and 12MP cameras.
We’re almost certain these two phones will make an appearance, as both have been heavily leaked and teased. Don’t expect them to be cheap, but there’s a chance they’ll undercut similarly spec’d rivals.
- How to watch the Pixel launch live
Daydream VR headset
Daydream is Google’s upcoming mobile VR platform, which looks like a real rival to Samsung’s Gear VR. The software has already been announced, but there’s a good chance we’ll see more of it at today’s event, along, probably, with a Daydream VR headset.
Rumors suggest the headset will be very affordable, coming in at just $79 (around £60, AU$105), which even undercuts Samsung’s offering.
Initially it will probably only be compatible with the Pixel and Pixel XL handsets, but Google has already confirmed that Samsung, Alcatel, Asus, HTC, LG, Xiaomi and ZTE will produce compatible handsets, so Daydream could be the first VR platform that’s widely available, affordable and of reasonable quality.
Google already has a place in your smart home thanks to its ownership of Nest, but it wants to be the brains of the entire system with a new product called Google Home, which it initially unveiled at its IO event earlier this year.
It’s a lot like Amazon Echo, consisting of a speaker which can be controlled by your voice. That allows you to play music or other audio through it, simply by giving voice commands, but also to ask questions, to which Google Assistant will reply, with information from the web or connected services.
Going even further, you’ll also be able to control smart home devices using your voice, add entries to your calendar, and basically do anything which Google Now already allows for, all without ever touching your phone.
We’re likely to see more information on it today, including potentially a price (which is rumored to be $129, £99, AU$169) and a Google Home release date.
Not only could Google Home be cheaper than Amazon Echo, but with the power of Google behind it, and with Google Cast built in, it could also be significantly more accomplished.
Android 7.0 Nougat is already available, at least on a handful of devices, but there have been rumblings of a significant update, dubbed Android 7.1, arriving soon, and there’d be no better time to unveil it than at today’s event.
We wouldn’t expect you’ll be able to download Android 7.1 today, even if you have a Nexus device, but there’s a good chance it will arrive on the Pixel and Pixel XL.
While this won’t be as big an update as the jump from Marshmallow to Nougat, we might see some new features added, such as support for Daydream VR.
Google Assistant, which is essentially a newer, better version of Google Now, could also be at the heart of Android 7.1 and the look of the interface could change slightly, with the Nexus Launcher set to be replaced by the Pixel Launcher.
Alongside a new version of Android we might also see something far more ambitious, known as Google Andromeda.
This is a new operating system which is rumored to combine Android and Chrome OS, adding the file system and deeper control offered by Chrome OS and other desktop operating systems, to the touch-based interface of Android.
Andromeda is expected to feature heavily on hybrid laptop/tablet devices, but could also find a home on standard tablets and potentially even smartphones.
There’s a fair chance that it will be announced today, but it may not actually launch on devices until next year.
New Nexus 7 tablet
If Andromeda does land on devices this year a new Nexus 7 tablet could be the first to run it. Currently this tablet is just a rumor and hasn’t been as heavily hinted at as the Pixel phones, so we wouldn’t count on seeing it today.
The device is said to have a 7.0-inch 1440 x 2560 screen, a metal body, a Snapdragon 820 processor and 4GB of RAM – flagship specs in other words, and enough that it could be a strong rival to the iPad mini 4.
It’s possible that the new Nexus 7 will run Android Nougat, but rumors point towards Andromeda, along with a late 2016 release date.
This is another device which could run Andromeda, but rather than a tablet it’s thought to be a laptop and the successor to the Chromebook Pixel.
Early rumors suggest the Pixel 3 won’t launch until Q3 2017, so there’s every chance it won’t make an appearance at today’s event, but if Google does show off Andromeda then it might do so on this device.
Given how far we might be from release the rumors we have about it could easily change, but right now it’s thought to have a 12.3-inch display, which may be detachable, 8GB or 16GB of RAM, an Intel Core m3 or Core i5 processor, stereo speakers, 10 hours of battery life and stylus support.
The Pixel 3 could also come in at just 10mm thick – beating Apple’s thinnest laptop, and may cost $799 (around £620, AU$1,040).
Chromecast has been making TVs smarter for very little money for a long time now, letting users stream content from their smartphone or tablet to larger screens, but it tops out at 1080p, which isn’t ideal when 4K televisions and content are becoming more widespread.
That’s where a new device, believed to be dubbed the Chromecast Ultra, comes in, as apparently this will be able to stream content in 4K.
Otherwise it’s likely to be just like the existing Chromecast – a compact device with a low price, though probably not quite as low as the 1080p model.
Launching a new model with 4K functionality makes sense, and if Google is going to then today’s event is the prime time to do it.
Google already makes a router, called the OnHub, but rumor has it that a new one is on the way, with a few standout features.
Apparently just called Google WiFi, this new router could undercut the OnHub with a rumored price of $129 (around £100, AU$170), and would be able to link multiple networks together to make one giant network, so you can get connectivity from a single source in even the largest homes. It wouldn’t be the only router with these skills, but if that price is accurate it would be among the cheapest.
The Google WiFi is also rumored to have other unnamed smart features and may have longer range than rival routers. We’ve heard less about the Google WiFi than some things in this article, so there’s a chance we won’t see it today, but if it’s coming this year then now is the time.
Android Auto update
Android Auto is promised an update, which Google outlined earlier this year but which might finally be available today – or if not we might at least hear more about it.
The main new feature is for it to be powered by your phone, so you won’t need to buy a supported vehicle to use it.
Other upcoming features that we currently know of include the ability to launch Android Auto by saying ‘OK Google’, making it completely hands-free, and to connect your phone to your car over Wi-Fi, rather having it plugged in via USB, as is currently required for Android Auto.
posted by ConnectMe