Google reveals Home Hub, a smart speaker with a smart screen

Brydge PIxel Slate Keyboard Dock Leak

It has a 7-inch touch display screen and works with voice-activated Google Assistant, so people can ask the Hub to do tasks like set reminders, alarms, check the weather, or ask for directions. It's been significantly leaked over the past few weeks but here's some of what Google had to say at the Made by Google event. Google is giving Pixel owners six months of YouTube Music for free to tout the devices' improved sound.

But Google's Super Res mode aims to emulate this using digital zoom alone.

Google also added a second camera on the front that is basically a wide-angle lens. Last year's Pixel line featured one of the most well-regarded cameras of the year, giving weight to the company's claims and setting a high bar for this year's phones. Playground is basically AR stickers which you can create from either camera.

The Pixel 3 is to be released across the ditch to our Aussie mates on November 1 but not to us, despite our global reputation as an early adopter of new technologies.

Call screening lets you have Google's cloud system pick up the phone for you and display what a caller is saying in text, so you can check to see if it's a robocaller or telemarketer before you pick it up. But it also has a screen. Therefore, it came as no surprise to anyone that the Pixel 2 failed to become a commercial success.

Pixel Stand will be $US80 and is also available for preorder starting Tuesday. Just tap on a button for Google's voice assistant to ask the caller about the goal of the call.

The phone's price point also makes it attractive, retailing from AU$1199 (NZ$1315), a big factor for price-sensitive Kiwis.

Crudely put, the Google Home Hub is a 7in touchscreen stuck onto a smart speaker.

More news: Here is the OnePlus 6T -- coming October 30

The Home Hub resembles a tablet computer built into a stand that can sit on top of a person's bedroom nightstand or kitchen table. This is very flashy use of AI, but I really struggle to see anyone using it in the real world. Called the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, the new phones are Google's latest showcase Android devices for 2018.

First, Google Lens will be active the moment you open the camera all on either of the new Pixels. In other words, it's about as thin and light as one can reasonably expect from a flagship phone.

The 16x9 display measures 7in diagonally and boasts a resolution of 1024 x 600.

The display gives the impression it's floating on top of the speaker section, which is a forward-firing full range driver, as well as a pair of mics for picking up your voice commands. The front-facing cameras do a very neat trick: At their widest angle, there is massive fish-eye distortion, but once you take your photo, post-processing makes that distortion go away.

The feature won't be available immediately but will be functional at a later stage via a software update. But surely there must be more differences than screen size, right?

It includes an embedded security chip and double password protection. Of course, the Google Assistant is tightly integrated here as well. That's what Google's Pixel Slate is. It's a full-size backlit keyboard that types quietly and comes with a full-size trackpad. One feature Google announced in Made by Google 2017 was AR Stickers, which Google has now renamed to Playground.

Powerful productivity in a slate form.

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