Google gave us many updates in its I/O developer conference in 2019. Typically these updates and products make their way into the market very quickly. However, privacy was one major topic of discussion as the company seems to be asking for more and more personal information.
While we keep our eye out, here are some of the cool Google announcements
New and Cheaper Pixel Phones
Google’s Pixel has been known for several years now to be the company’s flagship smartphone, following the original Nexus phones in line. For the first time though, Google is ready to release cheaper Pixel phones, as opposed to only releasing one or two high end and expensive phones each year. I’m talking about the new Pixel 3a and 3a XL.
The Pixel 3a will cost $399 and have a 5.6 inch screen while the Pixel 3a XL will cost $479 and have a 6 inch screen. The designs for both phones will resemble those of the more expensive Pixels and camera quality should also be really good.
I’m excited to see how well these two phones do in terms of hardware and software performance. As for market performance, I expect them to do well too. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see cheaper Pixel phones selling like fire pretty soon especially since they will be available to all or most carriers in the USA
Android Q Gets a Dark Mode
According to Stephanie Cuthbertson, an Android senior director, the latest version of Android will mostly be paying attention to security and privacy, but there are some exciting features to look forward to as well.
Android Q will have a dark mode which can turn backgrounds black and text white. Our eyes, as well as phone batteries, will be grateful.
What is referred to as “Focus Mode” is another anticipated aspect of Android. This is for people who would like to be more productive and don’t want distractions from apps and notifications.
Google Smart Screens Get Security Cameras
Google previously had its smart screen Google Home Hub on the market, but changes are in the air. The company is releasing a larger smart screen and also adding a camera to it so it can function as a security system. So expect to see Google smart screens named Google Nest Hub and Google Nest Hub Max in the market and online. The Google Nest Hub Max is obviously the newer and larger model.
One cool feature about the Google Nest Hub Max’s camera is that it can use face detection to customize a person’s experience. For example, if you register your face with the smart screen’s camera, then the next time you walk by it’ll know who you are and show you your personalized calendar as well as other apps. Google are calling it Face Match.
The camera will also let you video chat with your friends and loved ones using Google Duo. You can move around freely while video chatting with someone and the camera will just follow you around the room keeping you in frame.
Are you worried about privacy and how much the Nest Hub Max can see? Google announced that a green light on the front will indicate that it’s on and there will be a switch on the back that can turn off the microphone and camera.
Google Assistant Upgrade
I’m not surprised Google Assistant is getting an upgrade; in fact I was hoping it would!
The upgrade will arrive later this year and contain some new features and allow it to run faster. Google Assistant will be able to use info from your contacts, calendar, web browsing, and places you visited, to make your experience more personal and well suited to your needs.
The AI will also work offline to some extent which should allow it to work at much faster speeds. According to Google, it’ll be significantly faster on new Pixel phones.
Accessibility improvements are also in the works in order to allow the software to understand people who don’t speak as clearly. This will be really useful for people who have slurred speech due to neurological diseases for example. I think it’s a great initiative from Google.
So in summary
Google had a lot to offer in its I/O developer conference. I saw most of these updates coming, but it’s always great to get the official word from Google. Hopefully, the new Pixel phones live up to the expectations and are as great as their flagship counterparts.
Android Q doesn’t contain as many changes as we hoped, but perhaps we’ll see more in the future. As for Google Assistant, the changes are subtle but are long overdue. Google’s AI hasn’t quite lived up to the company’s other services and maybe this will be the year that all changes.
Keep your eye on the Google Store for more info