No Surprises at Google Product Launch

Posted on October 4, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Hardware, Mobile, Music + Videos with 52 Comments

No Surprises at Google Product Launch

As expected, Google launched its new Pixel phones, Daydream VR, Chromecast Ultra, Google Wi-Fi, and Google Home products at a press conference today. But as noted previously, details about each had previously leaked.

I had hoped to see Google discuss the future of its Android and Chrome OS platforms and the expected merger of both into a more coherent, single platform. But I guess that will have to wait. So here’s a quick rundown of what was announced, with the most important info we were missing: Pricing and availability.

Pixel

As expected, Google is replacing its Nexus lineup of smartphones with a new Pixel-branded lineup, but they map very closely to last year’s devices. The 5-inch Pixel starts at $649, which is about $200 more than I’d like to see, and comparable 5.5-inch Pixel handsets will carry a $120 premium.

There are three color options, each with a terrible name—Very Silver, Quite Black, and Really Blue (which is a limited edition)—and two storage configurations, 32 GB and 128 GB (which adds $100 to the price). So… a maxed out Pixel XL will set you back $869. Yikes.

The good news? You can get two-year, 0% APR financing from Google directly, or via Project Fi. Cases are coming, but they’re not available yet.

I’ve ordered a 32 GB Pixel XL and it is set for a late October delivery. Based on past Nexus experiences, I suspect you’re looking at November, at the earliest, by the time you read this.

Daydream VR

Google’s mobile and easy-to-use VR solution looks like a more elegant version of Cardboard, but it also comes with an Apple TV-like controller that should make it far more interactive. Pricing is reasonable at $79 but availability is unclear. Right now there is a waiting list. Which I am on: I’ll be getting one.

Chromecast Ultra

As promised, Chromecast Ultra will deliver 4K/HDR streaming capabilities for just $69. The bad news? There’s a waiting list. The good news? Google Play Movies & TV is adding 4K content in November. (Yes, I’m on this waiting list too. I can’t wait to snag one of these.)

Google Wi-Fi

Google’s new Wi-Fi router system costs just $129, which is reasonable, or $299 for a three-pack that should cover most homes effectively. That’s interesting, but as with many of the other products, there’s a waiting list. I will not be getting one of these.

Google Home

Google Home costs just $129 and is available for order now, with the first units arriving in November. (I did order one.) You can also try and match your home decor with one of several colored bases, which start at $29 but are not available for order yet.

 

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