Er du klar til noget hardware? I oktober 4, på 9am PT (middag ET), er Google vært for en stor lanceringsfest for sine nye telefoner og muligvis alle andre Google Hardware-enheder.
Given the fact that Google kept its event invite appropriately vague, the rumor mill has been in high gear. So with less than a week until the big day, it’s time to sort through it all and determine the plausibility.
First up: Hype. Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google’s SVP of Android, Chrome OS, and Google Play, has been talking this event up in the strongest possible terms. He compared the event to the launch of Android 1.0 eight years ago, and “has a feeling” we’ll be talking about the 10/4 event eight years from now. That’s basically promising this event will be up there with one of the most significant events in Google’s history. Strong words.
And it’s not just tweets—Google is taking the unusual step of advertising this launch event to normal people. There are billboards og statuer i større byer, tv reklamer på primetime viser som Monday Night Football, og annoncer øverst i Google Kalender og nederst på Google.com.
If you paid attention to Google I/O 2016, you might get a bit of déjà vu from this event. Google announced a lot of products at I/O, but nothing was really released. The Android N Developer Preview was already out, and alongside that Google talked about På, Duo, Android Wear 2.0, Daydream VRog Google Startside. With Allo and Duo recently released, and many of these products rumored for the October 4 event, it seems Google is finally ready to show off everything it talked about at I/O. Rumors aside, most of these products were announced with a “later this year” release date, and since it’s almost October, there isn’t much “year” left. They’ve got to come out soon.
Uanset hvor mange produkter der udgives, vil 10 / 4 eventen være den kommende fest for Google Hardware-divisionen. Tidligt i år var Rick Osterloh, den tidligere præsident for Motorola, forpligtet til at oprette en ny division inden for Google specifikt til forbrugerhardware. Osterloh’s LinkedIn profile declares his title to be “SVP Hardware at Google.” Being a senior vice president at Google is a big deal, putting the hardware group on even footing with the Android, Search, and Ads teams, which allows Osterloh to report directly to CEO Sundar Pichai. Google Hardware is apparently going to be a big deal.
Google Hardware is the new gatekeeper for all physical Google products. The hope seems to be that Google will produce a cohesive hardware portfolio, instead of having several teams all doing their own thing. The modus operandi for Google Hardware early on appears to be products that are actually branded “Google.” We’re seeing the beginnings of this with the “Lavet af Google” campaign leading to 10/4.
New Google phones—The Pixel and Pixel XL
Let’s start with two products that are definitely launching at the event: the new Google Phones. These devices are referenced i invitationen, which clearly depicts an outline of a smartphone. All the pre-release leaks point to Google releasing two phones called the “Pixel” and “Pixel XL,” basically the same design in two different sizes with some spec differences.
Before diving too deep into the rumor rabbit hole, let’s talk about the reliability of these sources. The vast majority of this information comes from Android Police, which has already provided several pieces of info on the Pixel duo. The site nailed kodenavne helt tilbage i april, som vi ved er rigtige tak til AOSP referencer. I juli skabte det et smukt sted udbytte for enhederne, som matchede godt med spion skud der kom ud måneder senere. Webstedet forudsigede også korrekt dato for begivenheden 19 days in advance. Android Police has been on target for Pixel info thus far. (In addition to the site, we’ll also reference items from Evan Blass. Through his @evleaks Twitter account and position at VentureBeat, he’s become a fixture of the pre-release tech news cycle.)
With the advent of the Google Hardware division, Google’s phone branding is getting completely revamped. In the past, the company had a flagship line of “Nexus” devices, but the consensus is that Google will adopt a brand created by the Chrome OS team, calling the new phones “Pixel” devices. Unlike the Nexus devices, it also seems like the “partner” OEM branding is gone with Pixel. The device manufacturer appears more or less anonymous; these are “Google Pixel” phones with no other branding. Google’s “Made by Google” advertising campaign in the run up to the event lines up nicely with this rumor.
However, the “Made by Google” campaign seems just a little disingenuous. We know these devices are made by HTC. It’s not just that the rumor mill has consistently pegged them as built by HTC; HTC arkiverede faktisk FCC-papirarbejdet for these devices. As HTC-built phones, these don’t look very different from the company’s latest designs. Like the HTC A9 og HTC Desire 10, Pixel telefonerne synes stærkt påvirket af iPhone design.
Ifølge Android Police er legemet af Pixel-telefonerne metal med bagglas windows og antenne linjer i iPhone-stil. Pixel og Pixel XL er grundlæggende identiske designs i to forskellige størrelser. Webstedet siger, at begge enheder har en Snapdragon 821-processor, 4GB RAM, et 12MP-bagkamera, 8MP-frontkamera, den bageste fingeraftrykssensor og en USB Type C-port. Den større Pixel XL, codename “Marlin,” will have a 5.5-inch 2560×1440 AMOLED display, a 3450mAh battery, and 32GB or 128GB storage options. The smaller Pixel, codenamed “Sailfish,” will have a 5-inch 1080p AMOLED display, a 2770mAh battery, and at least a 32GB storage option.
Don’t get too excited by the new “Snapdragon 821” processor—it’s just a ur-bumped version of the Snapdragon 820, which jumps from 2.15GHz to 2.4GHz. The Pixel devices will be one of the first with the “new” chip, and so far the Xiaomi Mi 5'er er den eneste anden telefon vi ved med samme SoC.
One of the best parts of the Nexus devices has typically been their value proposition. The 2015 Nexus 6P was a high-end metal phone for $500, while the Nexus 5X paired slightly lower specs with a plastic body for $380. According to Android Police, the low prices aren’t going to survive the transition to the “Pixel” brand. The site reports the smaller Pixel phone will Start på $ 649 with monthly financing options available from Google. That’s a serious price increase, and with Google charging “iPhone money” for these devices, there is no excuse for compromises or cut corners.
That same report states the available colors as blue, aluminum, and black, with Verizon signing up to carry the device. One of the best parts of owning a Google device is the speedy update cycle compared to the rest of the Android ecosystem. But if history is any indication, Verizon can—and will—delay your updates, so don’t buy from Verizon if you can help it.
Software er et andet højdepunkt for Google-telefoner, med hurtige opdateringer og en uberørt AOSP-grænseflade. Tidligere havde Nexus-telefoner lejlighedsvis enestående funktion; især Google Home Launcher på Nexus 5. Det ser ud til, at Google udvider den eksklusive software lineup til Pixel-telefonerne stærkt. Ifølge Android Police, the Pixel phones will ship with an exclusive home screen, settings, System UI, a night mode, and several other features. None of the features have been very eye-popping so far, but we’ll see what the event brings.
Det første Daydream VR-headset
At Google I/O, Google announced “Daydream VR“—a new Android ecosystem standard for phone-powered virtual reality. The concept works a lot like the Samsung Gear VR: a phone slots into a “dumb” VR headset, providing the display and computing horsepower for virtual reality. Google is one-upping the Gear VR by mandating that every Daydream headset come with a single three-axis motion controller, giving developers a standard controller to develop for. The controller should be closer to a Nintendo Wii remote than the positionally tracked HTC Vive controllers, but it would still give users some semblance of hand controls. Unlike the Gear VR, Daydream will be open to any Android OEM that meets the minimum requirements.
Android has had a low-quality VR solution called “Google Cardboard” for some time, but Android 7.0 Nougat lavet flere ændringer to the core OS that should make Daydream VR a higher-quality experience. Again, most of this is following in the footsteps of the Gear VR while bringing it to everyone. To try to maintain a high-quality experience across vendors, Google is laying down several requirements for phone and headset manufacturers, and the company will be certifying devices as “Daydream Ready.”
Google hasn’t said anything official about Daydream appearing at the event, but an Android Police report claims the first Daydream VR headset vil lancere at the 10/4 event. The new Pixel Phones are expected to be one of the first Daydream VR compatible devices, so having the VR headset ready alongside them makes sense. Google’s VR SDK recently “gradueret ud af beta,” and Google promised “the first Daydream-ready phones and headset are coming this fall.” All these details lend more credence to the idea of a Daydream launch next week.
We’ve already seen early looks at how Android will change to accommodate a VR interface. Google has released screenshots of a VR-centric home screen and Google Play Store. The big news will be what the headset and controller look like, how well the controller works, and what it will cost. The price shouldn’t be too expensive. Unlike the Gear VR, which packs a few extra sensors, Google wants the headset to be completely “dumb,” relying on the phone to do sensor duty. You’ll basically pay for lenses wrapped in a hunk of plastic along with a controller. We’re hoping for a low, impulse-buy price tag.