Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 4th Oct 2016 20:23 UTC
Google

Google unveiled a whole slew of new hardware products today, most notably its Pixel phones. You already know all the specifications and how it looks, so I won't bore you with the specifications details. Two good points about the Pixel phones: they come with easy on-device access to 24/7 phone and chat support with real Google people (...but what if it doesn't boot?), and it has a supposedly really great camera with no bump.

The bad news about the Pixel? The pricing. Oh boy the pricing. The small Pixel costs a whopping €759, the bigger Pixel costs €869 (German pricing). That's absolutely crazytown, and I simply don't know if the Google brand has what it takes, hardware-wise, to go toe-to-toe with Samsung and Apple. More bad news: it's barely available anywhere. It's only available in the few markets where iOS is really strong (US, UK, Canada, Australia), and Germany, but nowhere else. Not in the rest of mainland Europe (an Android stronghold), not in Japan, not in China, not in South America (another Android stronghold).

As a Dutch person, this is especially grating because virtually all of these goods are shipped to Europe from the port of Rotterdam, where they lie in warehouses before being shipped off. But not to The Netherlands. Anyhow, I just find it perplexing that in 2016, product launches are still nation state-restricted.

Honestly though, I like the Pixel phones. I was a little apprehensive when looking at the leaks, but with the higher-quality announcements, product videos, and hands-on photos and videos coming out, it's starting to grow on me. I definitely would have liked a more outspoken design, but then I remember that the best modern smartphone I've ever had was my beloved, cherished Nexus 5 - not exactly a beacon of extravagance - which just feels great in the hand, mostly thanks to the excellent type of plastic used on the orange-red model I have, but also thanks to its unassuming, generic shape.

Maybe I don't know what I want. I deeply dislike the design of my pink iPhone 6S (except for the pink, of course, that's still awesome), but at the same time, it feels pretty great in the hand, so I can't really fault Apple or Google or Samsung sticking to the generic, default shape we've settled on. The same applies to my current phone - a Nexus 6P - which is a pretty 'safe' design, too.

Google also unveiled - again - Google Home, its Alexa competitor, and an updated version of ChromeCast, which can now stream 4K video. They also demonstrated the first Daydream VR headset, which uses a Google Pixel - or any other future Daydream-compatible Android phone - as its display. Tying all of these devices together is Google Assistant, a souped-up Google Now with a conversational interface. It's difficult to say how useful Google Assistant will be beyond the staged demos. Like the Pixel, these devices are only available to a very small group of people - the US, mostly - save for the new ChromeCast.

So, why is Google getting into the hardware game for real this time?

That's why today Google is unveiling an entire, interconnected hardware ecosystem: two phones, an intelligent speaker, a VR headset, a Wi-Fi router, and a media-streaming dongle. And the most important parts of that ecosystem - the Pixel phone and Google Home speaker - exist to be the ideal vessels for the Google Assistant. The rest of the products fill out Google's ecosystem, but are also enhanced by Google's cloud-based intelligence.

In making its own hardware, Google is pitting itself against Apple for the first time, Google phone vs. iPhone. Those are very high stakes, with very little margin for error. So it looks like Google decided to follow a simple dictum:

If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.

I'd like to add something to that dictum: you have to make sure people can actually buy your stuff. Google has a lot of work to do on that one.

Order by: Score:
Meh
by gan17 on Tue 4th Oct 2016 21:10 UTC
gan17
Member since:
2008-06-03

Pixel looks like a 6/7 series iPhone - heck, Google seem to have out-Xiaomi'd Xiaomi's shamelessness here - just without a home button in front*. It's got a headphone jack and less revolting antenna lines, but I'll pass. Guess I'll just grab the new iPhone come contract renewal next month.

The 4K Chromecasst, on the other hand, I might be interested in, provided it's in the same price range as it's predecessor.

*and Android writers make fun of Apple for wasted bezzle space?!

Reply Score: 2

RE: Bezel
by franksands on Wed 5th Oct 2016 18:31 UTC in reply to "Meh"
franksands Member since:
2009-08-18

I'm a Nexus 6 owner and I'm annoyed with that huge bezel in the Pixel. I'm probably gonna buy one anyway, because it's a lot better than depending on OEMs for updates.

Reply Score: 1

You have to go all in
by Morgan on Tue 4th Oct 2016 21:33 UTC
Morgan
Member since:
2005-06-29

After watching the keynote I'm left with one big impression: You have to go full Google to truly benefit from a Pixel phone versus a flagship device from someone else. You have to subscribe to and use Google's software, services, and hardware to get the experience they are advertising, and that makes sense given this is a direct stab at Apple and their ecosystem. Unfortunately, the price is a huge barrier, and the Verizon exclusive deal (despite the "unlocked" version supposedly being available to US customers) is a real slap in the face. Sure, it's a great piece of kit with an intriguing camera and top-notch specs, but in the end it's an iPhone clone.

Speaking of Apple, after the frustrations I was suffering with the iOS 10 release on my iPhone 6, I decided to ditch it and once again give Android a shot as a phone platform since I've been enjoying Marshmallow on the Nexus 7 tablet. I did spend a week with my Lumia 640 first, just to see if that platform had gone anywhere, but it was actually a regression (constant reboots after doing all the mandatory W10 updates).

I was holding out on choosing a phone until the Pixel keynote so I could decide what to get, but again the sticker shock is too much to overcome. So, I'm waiting on a Nexus 6 to arrive later this week, and slumming it on the Blu Life One X (2016 version) for now, which is honestly a damn fine device for $150. It will probably never see Marshmallow despite Blu's empty promises, but it's a better choice than a Moto G, especially as a backup phone.

Reply Score: 3

RE: You have to go all in
by leos on Tue 4th Oct 2016 21:58 UTC in reply to "You have to go all in"
leos Member since:
2005-09-21

After watching the keynote I'm left with one big impression: You have to go full Google to truly benefit from a Pixel phone versus a flagship device from someone else. You have to subscribe to and use Google's software, services, and hardware to get the experience they are advertising, and that makes sense given this is a direct stab at Apple and their ecosystem. .


Yeah that would be the point. For a company that profits on knowing everything about me, I'm not willing to go there.
Pixel phones look very nice, but if I'm going to give up any semblance of privacy I expect not to pay a premium price for the device.

Reply Score: 8

RE[2]: You have to go all in
by Carewolf on Tue 4th Oct 2016 22:10 UTC in reply to "RE: You have to go all in"
Carewolf Member since:
2005-09-08

"After watching the keynote I'm left with one big impression: You have to go full Google to truly benefit from a Pixel phone versus a flagship device from someone else. You have to subscribe to and use Google's software, services, and hardware to get the experience they are advertising, and that makes sense given this is a direct stab at Apple and their ecosystem. .


Yeah that would be the point. For a company that profits on knowing everything about me, I'm not willing to go there.
Pixel phones look very nice, but if I'm going to give up any semblance of privacy I expect not to pay a premium price for the device.
"
At least it is not the Google spyware @home product. That one is truly scary.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: You have to go all in
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 4th Oct 2016 22:20 UTC in reply to "RE: You have to go all in"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

For a company that profits on knowing everything about me, I'm not willing to go there.


Google will only know whatever you let it know. Once something is on a computer connected to the internet, that something is no longer private, regardless of the brand of computer.

Treat your private [digital] information like your genitals: don't show them in public, but only to other consenting adults, and you'll be just fine.

Reply Score: 0

RE[3]: You have to go all in
by winter skies on Wed 5th Oct 2016 10:43 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: You have to go all in"
winter skies Member since:
2009-08-21

WTF Thom? Did I just read what I read?
I can't believe you're saying this.
Su fcuk privacy ~= we should expect everything on connected devices to go public someday somehow ~~=> if you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to fear.
We should demand better rather than get used do the worse!

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: You have to go all in
by dionicio on Wed 5th Oct 2016 21:11 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: You have to go all in"
dionicio Member since:
2006-07-12

Thom is condensing in few words the actual Status Quo. Not necessarily a corollary about Personal Opinion.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: You have to go all in
by dionicio on Wed 5th Oct 2016 21:20 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: You have to go all in"
dionicio Member since:
2006-07-12

Google, as an Open Company -Not talking Alphabet Corp here- is proud about showing TO YOU a lot more of your profiling than the rest of Harvesters. Usually more than What You thought knowing about yourself.

Edited 2016-10-05 21:25 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: You have to go all in
by Alfman on Tue 4th Oct 2016 23:02 UTC in reply to "You have to go all in"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Morgan,

I was holding out on choosing a phone until the Pixel keynote so I could decide what to get, but again the sticker shock is too much to overcome. So, I'm waiting on a Nexus 6 to arrive later this week, and slumming it on the Blu Life One X (2016 version) for now, which is honestly a damn fine device for $150.



I got the exact same phone at the exact same price. Sometimes I think people expect me to own a premium flagship phone, but this budget phone does what I need and I don't feel like I had to compromise on anything important. In fact the presence of some features like sd-card even pushed it ahead. The english community around this phone was a bit weak, but I managed to root it and no issues.

It will probably never see Marshmallow despite Blu's empty promises, but it's a better choice than a Moto G, especially as a backup phone.


I don't expect it to receive an upgrade either, which is unfortunate. But at least at this price I can afford to buy a replacement without worrying too much about sticker shock.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: You have to go all in
by Morgan on Wed 5th Oct 2016 01:50 UTC in reply to "RE: You have to go all in"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

My wife loves the Life One X and she's getting it as soon as my Nexus arrives. The screen on it is absolutely phenomenal especially in its price range. The newest version of the device is about to drop, the X2, later this week. It will be $200 but given the spec list it's well worth it.

I ultimately decided on the Nexus 6 for three key reasons: It has an excellent camera especially for a Nexus, it is large enough to allow me to consolidate and do away with my aging Nexus 7 tablet, and it is officially supported on the latest version of Android with all the perks that allows for.

I've said many times in the past that I love Android on tablets but not on phones, but from what I've seen with the Life One X running Lollipop, it appears that my phone-related pet peeves have been dealt with and the OS is finally stable enough for daily use as a primary communication device.

Reply Score: 2

rklrkl
Member since:
2005-07-06

Even one of the countries (UK) that's been selected for the initial Pixel phone launch only apparently has only 3 places you can buy it from: the Google Play Store, EE and Carphone Warehouse, which is quite a limited choice.

It means we probably won't see any discounts from the expensive 599 pounds ($760) price for the lowest spec'ed model for quite some time. It also rules it out as a business phone if your company isn't on EE or Carphone Warehouse in the UK.

It's been a long-time weakness of Nexus/Pixel products that they often haven't been available in any (or very few) high street/online stores in the UK and to not cover all the major UK mobile providers is yet another gaffe by Google.

Reply Score: 1

daedalus Member since:
2011-01-14

It's hard to find a shopping centre or high street in the UK *without* a Carphone Warehouse in the UK these days. I don't like them and wouldn't buy a phone from them, but they're not exactly hard to find. And they deal with all the operators so you can buy a Pixel on any network through them. It kinda makes sense to do it that way to start with as it doesn't rule anyone out while at the same time only having to deal with one reseller, and if the operators want it in their own branded stores later on, I'm sure they can organise that.

Reply Score: 2

weckart Member since:
2006-01-11

They don't do Three but at least their Android sim-free phones are just that unlike their 'sim-free' iPhones, which lock to the first carrier activated.

Reply Score: 1

Soooooo....
by Windows Sucks on Wed 5th Oct 2016 01:09 UTC
Windows Sucks
Member since:
2005-11-10

Google just announced an iPhone 6, a Gear VR, an Echo, and an Eero.

Plus doubled the price from the Nexus line of phones?? Wow!

And people talk about Apple!

Oh wait and...... wait for it? No headphones come with them (Pixel phones) but instead they give you an adaptor (that you may, just may use once) to move from an iPhone to this phone??? Say what!

But again people talk about Apple!

Edited 2016-10-05 01:13 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: Soooooo....
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Wed 5th Oct 2016 02:32 UTC in reply to "Soooooo...."
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

But does an iPhone6, GearVR, Echo, and Eero work seemlessly together, or even at all together? Not really. These might. While your comparisons are dismissive, they are also quite disparate with few compatible services.

But to your point. Who the hell needs or wants A Gear VR, Echo or an Eero. Also what the heck is an Eero? Integration is only a selling point, if the things being integrated serve a purpose worth the time, energy, and cost of all the things. Right now, I'd argue they aren't worth diddly squat.

Reply Score: 2

that gut feeling
by gbil on Wed 5th Oct 2016 06:47 UTC
gbil
Member since:
2008-01-05

Back in 2009 it was my first encounter with Android and HTC Magic and after 2-3 minutes of fiddling around with it in a shop I had that gut feeling and just bought it.

Today after the Google presentation I have a very different gut feeling, that something is wrong. What I see is G instead of fixing the inherit issues with Android - biggest one is the updates - it tries to somehow put a leash on it by managing the hardware AND the OS - 7.1 will not even hit Nexus devices until the end of the year, can't even imagine when the other vendors will be able to use it.

As an Android user I don't like this, do I have to pay a huge amount of money just to get the latest OS and even then officially - check the pixel site - only get 2 years of guaranteed OS updates ? Do I have to be locked into the google ecosystem even more ?

But also how are the OEMs going to handle this? Google will have a headstart with their phones - and a pretty big one. I almost feel sorry for LG here with the "first 7.0 Android phone in the market" and a week later 7.1 comes along with no idea when the "first 7.0 Android phone" will be updated to 7.1 .

I really don't get the plan from google here, do they try to just irritate everyone now ? Don't they understand that this will infuriate both users and OEMs ?

Please if someone has more insight on this share it, I fail to understand what is going on here.

Reply Score: 4

RE: that gut feeling
by dionicio on Wed 5th Oct 2016 21:50 UTC in reply to "that gut feeling"
dionicio Member since:
2006-07-12

Same feeling about the OS updates. Maybe wrong, but seems still to be addressed. Still not buying 'androids'.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: that gut feeling
by dionicio on Thu 6th Oct 2016 14:37 UTC in reply to "RE: that gut feeling"
dionicio Member since:
2006-07-12

My first and last android was an austere fresh LG model. Just got one update, a lot more problematic than the shipped one.

Reply Score: 2

Small start is simple.
by przemo_li on Wed 5th Oct 2016 08:02 UTC
przemo_li
Member since:
2010-06-01

1) There should be NON contractors who can support Pixels globally. Google need to build that capacity over time.
2) There is also elephant in the room called "Carriers" with whom, Google have to negotiate one by one with them to get direct updates, if Google ever wants to sell through carriers, (and they should want it).

So small initial launch is no big deal.

Look at it this way. Better few enjoy it now and them everbody in a few years*. Then none for a few years...


*Lets not forget that it actually get years for any OEM to build global presence. Apple included.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Small start is simple.
by darknexus on Wed 5th Oct 2016 11:38 UTC in reply to "Small start is simple."
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Absolutely not. Carriers should have zero, repeat zero, influence on the update process at all. Say what you will about Apple, but they sure got that one right. Google have enough problems actually getting updates to their own hardware, let alone allowing the carriers to fcuk everything all to hell. They need to stand firm and keep the carriers out of the core operating system and firmware, pure and simple. Otherwise, it's just more fragmented support nightmares.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Small start is simple.
by thulfram on Thu 6th Oct 2016 05:26 UTC in reply to "Small start is simple."
thulfram Member since:
2013-10-11

Carriers? They don't need no stinkin' carriers. You can get the (in the US) Google Fi carrier. I've got Fi on my Nexus 5X and I'm very happy with it. As soon as I can get an Android laptop that will let me build Android, I can leave anything not Google behind.

One OS to bind them!

Reply Score: 1

What's Next?
by drcoldfoot on Wed 5th Oct 2016 14:36 UTC
drcoldfoot
Member since:
2006-08-25

Siri for the home? in the form of an updated iHome?

Reply Score: 2

And yes, indeed...
by dionicio on Wed 5th Oct 2016 20:07 UTC
dionicio
Member since:
2006-07-12

It has one analogical audio output.

Reply Score: 2

RE: And yes, indeed...
by dionicio on Wed 5th Oct 2016 20:10 UTC in reply to "And yes, indeed..."
dionicio Member since:
2006-07-12

Humbly asking Alphabet to submit a draft to the relevant Consortium about a 'planar' version of the respectable RCA plug standard.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: And yes, indeed...
by dionicio on Wed 5th Oct 2016 20:52 UTC in reply to "RE: And yes, indeed..."
dionicio Member since:
2006-07-12

You can carry digital over an analogical port. You can even multiplex HF digital over an analogical signal. As for other's stupid excuses.

Reply Score: 2

RE: And yes, indeed...
by dionicio on Wed 5th Oct 2016 20:28 UTC in reply to "And yes, indeed..."
dionicio Member since:
2006-07-12

Maybe something akin to a gold-cooper-[crystallizer-metal] blend. [That will promote recycling]. 'Key' form conformed [Will make strong click]. Teeth lines Up and Down [up and down edges] = Stereo. Left And Right Faces = Ground. External, holder end 'L' form. Bendable.

Just a random exploration ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: And yes, indeed...
by dionicio on Wed 5th Oct 2016 20:42 UTC in reply to "RE: And yes, indeed..."
dionicio Member since:
2006-07-12

This design can cut length to 1/3 of former. Diameter to 1/2x. Width to 2x. And be as resilient as former.

Reply Score: 2

RE: And yes, indeed...
by dionicio on Wed 5th Oct 2016 20:34 UTC in reply to "And yes, indeed..."
dionicio Member since:
2006-07-12

Pricing tells about being 'exemplary' hardware. No intention to compete with their own ecosystem. That's good news to me ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE: And yes, indeed...
by gan17 on Wed 5th Oct 2016 21:20 UTC in reply to "And yes, indeed..."
gan17 Member since:
2008-06-03

Meh. Balanced XLR or GTFO!!

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: And yes, indeed...
by dionicio on Wed 5th Oct 2016 21:30 UTC in reply to "RE: And yes, indeed..."
dionicio Member since:
2006-07-12

Love you too, Gan17 ;D

Reply Score: 2