One year after unveiling the first Pixel and facetiously lauding its inclusion of a headphone jack, Google has unveiled their new Pixel 2 smartphones and they do not include a headphone jack.
Google held their Pixel Event this week and in addition to the Pixel 2, they also announced a number of neat accessories including a pair of wireless earbuds capable of real-time translation. We’ve listed the most notable announcements along with links to order them from the Google Store.
The new Pixel 2 is available in two sizes -- the smaller Pixel 2 sports a 5” AMOLED screen with a 1920x1080 resolution while the larger Pixel 2 XL has a 6” pOLED screen with a resolution of 2880x1440. Aside from screen size, both phones feature identical hardware including a water resistant aluminum and glass design, 12.2MP rear camera, 8MP front camera, front-facing stereo speakers and a pressure-sensitive frame that lets you launch Google Assistant by squeezing the phone.
The phones follow the unpopular industry trend of omitting the headphone jack and curiously, no USB-C headphones are included in the box, but a USB-C to headphone jack dongle is included to help you quickly adapt to the dongle life.
Both models are loaded with Android 8.0 Oreo and are available in three colours with 64GB or 128GB of storage, with the Pixel 2 starting at $899.00 and Pixel 2 XL starting at $1159.00.
Google Home Mini
The Google Home Mini is a miniaturized version of the Google Home smart speaker. Like its bigger brother, Google Home Mini has Google Assistant built-in and can perform tasks like control smart home products, play music or get answers to questions by speaking to it.
Google Home Mini is available in three colours for $79.00. Those who purchase a Pixel 2 will also get a promo code for a free Google Home Mini.
Google will also be opening a Google Home Mini Donut Shop pop-up in Toronto on October 26 and 27, where you’ll be able to see the Google Home Mini first-hand and enjoy some free donuts.
Pixel Buds are Google’s first foray into the wireless headphone category and they aren’t just ordinary Bluetooth headphones. They’re designed to work seamlessly the Pixel 2 (but also work with other Bluetooth devices) and the most interesting thing about them is their ability to translate 40 different languages in real-time.
The feature uses Google Translate and works by listening to your speech in one language, then dictating the speech in another language through your phone, allowing you to “talk” to someone in a foreign language with the Pixel Buds acting as an interpreter.
Battery life is rated at approximately five hours, with the included case providing an additional 24 hours of charge. Pixel Buds are available in three colours for $219.00.
Perhaps the oddest product announcement was the Pixelbook, a new 12.3” convertible laptop from Google that runs Chrome OS. It’s a tweener device that has the power and performance of a premium laptop, but is limited to running Chrome OS and Android apps only.
It’s very pretty and portable, but the lack of fully-featured apps available for Chrome OS will limit its practicality for power-users, since you can’t (officially) install another operating system on it.
Google Clips, a small camera that uses AI to learn its surroundings and automatically take pictures at opportune times, was also introduced along with Google Home Max, a supersized Google Home smart speaker with improved speakers for better music playback. Both products are currently unavailable in Canada and release dates are unknown.