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Everything you need to know about Google's new tech

From the Pixel phones to the eventual arrival of the Google Home speaker

Everything you need to know about Google's new tech

Google doesn't just want to own the internet. It's coming for your pocket. And your TV. And your home. A takeover made with lovely, shiny new tech.

Revealed at October's #MadeByGoogle event, across roughly 90 minutes of announcements, talks and gags, were a clutch of new Google-made devices that the company hopes will help it keep pace with the likes of Apple, Facebook and Amazon.

Here's everything you need to know about the gadgets, from their price, to when they'll arrive.

Pixel smartphone

The Nexus is no more - Google is now making its own smartphones, with their logo on the case. There are two models of Pixel available - the 5-inch standard and a 5.5-inch XL.

The only difference Google was keen to emphasise between the two handsets was screensize and battery: the XL produces sharper, more vivid images (there's more pixels per inch in its screen) and holds a larger battery. Otherwise, this is what lives inside both handsets:

  • A 12.3 megapixel rear camera, touted as 'best in class' by an independent review, and eight megapixel front camera
  • HDR+ photos (the camera takes multiple images and strings them together to gain one sharp, clear photo)
  • Rear fingerprint scanner
  • Fast charging through USB Type-C: seven hours of battery from a 15 minute charge
  • It comes in three colours: Really Blue, Quite Black and Very Silver. Seriously
  • Metal and glass body
  • VR tricks, which we'll come on to next

...and that's about it. The point of the Pixel isn't so much about being the hot, killer phone of the year (though it's probably the best Android phone you'll buy this year), but the best package for accessing all of Google's latest apps and products: Google Assistant with its smart conversation functions, Google Photo with unlimited online storage and search-by-description powers, video calls with Google Duo.

If you've been looking for a change to your iOS device, it's also incredibly easy to transfer all your files over with the Quick Switch Adapter, which comes in the box and plugs in to your Apple cables. 

As for pricing:

  • 5-inch Pixel will cost £599 (32GB) and £699 (128GB) 
  • 5.5-inch Pixel XL will cost £719 (32 GB) and £819 (128GB)

You can preorder both right now, and they'll be available from the Google online store from 20 October, or through contract deals on EE, or via Carphone Warehouse. 

Daydream View

Having mucked about with cardboard headsets and fallen behind the likes of Samsung and its Gear VR headset, Google is finally going big on virtual reality with the Daydream View.

Strap your Pixel phone into the headset's front slot (the Pixel is the only phone to work with the Daydream view, but other handset manufacturers are apparently working on devices that will be compatible), stick it on your face, fumble about for the accompanying remote control and you're good to go. 

Coated in a microfiber fabric, it's one of the most comfortable headsets you can stick on your face, and there's no faff of setting up the Pixel phone in 'VR mode' - as soon as you pop it in the front slot, a sensor (near field communication, if you're interested) detects it's in the headset and pushes the phone into the Daydream app. 

The best picture for the Daydream View is offered by the larger Pixel XL screen, and it's bloody beautiful. However, as with all VR, its success relies just as much on the content as the goggles.

The Daydream store will be the main home for all the View content: games (including a pretty decent Harry Potter wand game), news features from The Guardian and Wall Street Journal, all the content of Netflix inches from your eyeballs and 3D videos from YouTube. 

The View headset costs £69 and arrives in early November.

Chromecast Ultra

Chromecasts are brilliant. Really brilliant. Beam whatever you've got on your phone or laptop straight to whatever TV or screen you've plugged this little dongle into and - after some brief wi-fi tweaking - off you go. 

The new Ultra is just... well, an ultra version of the same thing: stream 4K films from the likes of Amazon and Netflix, smoother images, more stable wi-fi connections - ultra stuff.

It'll cost £69 and arrives "soon". 

Google Home

Google Home is basically a smart speaker with the power of Google living in it. 

We could go into excruciating detail about how Google has built an incredibly advanced AI system that understands natural language, the pulls in details through something called a search graph, that can read results to you in perfect English. We could worry you about potential privacy issues. We could get excited about how it's a major step in moving away from keyboards towards voice-controlled computing.

But we're not going to bother, because you're not going to get to use one for... well, ages. Google Home arrives in the US, but no one told us when it would arrive in the UK. "Next year" was the best answer we got. Until then, watch this...