+ Tuesday October 15th, 2019

With Google’s 2019 Made by Google event only 4 days away, it’s time to look ahead and see just what we’re expecting from the event.

As seems to be the tradition, most of Google’s product line up seems to have thoroughly leaked with details of the Pixel 4 line, Nest Mini, Nest WiFi, and Pixelbook GO having leaked out, as well as rumours about Pixel Buds 2 and perhaps even the long-rumoured Pixel watch.

Pixel 4 & Pixel 4 XL

At this point, it feels like there is very little that we don’t know about the Pixel line up. With the deluge of leaks, renders, hands-on, APK teardowns and apps making their way into the wild it’s going to be hard for Google to surprise us with the Pixel 4. We know that there will be 2 variants, 3 colours and 2 storage SKUs giving users 12 models to choose between. Remember when companies just released a phone?

With the packaging leaking, we’ve had solid confirmation of the Pixel 4’s internal specs, and as expected their at the premium end of the market. Some people will undoubtedly complain that the Processor is a Snapdragon 855, not an 855+, however, we expect it to perform just fine. Hopefully the 6 GB of RAM will see the end of any niggling RAM issues that have plagued previous Pixels, so hopefully another win there.

The screen is a big improvement this year with Google bundling in a 90 Hz display with Smooth Display and Ambient EQ. This should be a beautify and smooth display with dynamic adjustment to improve the viewing experience in different lighting. Check out the full specs below.

Pixel 4Pixel 4 XL
Display5.7″ OLED FHD6.3″ OLED QHD
90Hz90Hz
ProcessorsSnapdragon 855 +
Neural Core +
Titan M

RAM6 GB
Storage64 GB or 128 GB
Rear Camera12 MP Dual Pixel
16 MP Telephoto
Front Camera8 MP +
Face unlock IR Camera
SpeakerStereo
ChargingUSB C +
Wireless
Battery2800 mAh3700 mAh

Of course, there’s more to a Pixel then its hardware. The introduction of Motion Sense in the Pixel 4 line incorporating the Soli chip that Google acquired with the ATAP group when they briefly owned Motorola. The ‘radar’ based system will bring gesture control to the Pixel with a range of media apps and first party services expected to support the gestures.

The new neural core, we assume an evolution of Pixel Visual Core, perhaps bringing along more neural network power beyond simple computational photography is expected to bring more Machine Learning onto the device. All of this will be running on top of Android 10.

With the Pixel 4, Google will have the flagship vessel for their latest operating system and hopefully, there’s a trick or two under that hood we haven’t seen as yet. We expect Gesture navigation to be the default out of the box this year, and with Google seemingly moving in that direction, could there be a day when our beloved home and back buttons vanish?

Pricing may be a bit of a sting for some people, with international leaks suggesting a slight price increase over last year’s release. It’s always hard to extrapolate an international price to an Australian price, however here are our best comparisons based on exchange rates and recent releases

  • Pixel 4 64GB – $1249
  • Pixel 4 128GB – $1429
  • Pixel 4 XL 64GB – $1,429
  • Pixel 4 XL 128GB – $1,599

However the prices come in, the Pixel line is unashamedly premium and Google prices them that way. There have been minor rumours swirling that Google will release the Pixel 4a line up along side the flagship models. However with the complete lack of leaks and the fact that the Pixel 4a would assuredly cannibalise Pixel 4 sales we just don’t think that’s very likely.

Nest Mini

The origional Google Home Mini is heading towards 2 years old now and we’ve seen fairly strong evidence from the FCC that there is a successor ready for release. Overall we’re not expecting a major update here the FCC listing showed a device of similar proportions and the rumours support that.

Just because the outside isn’t changing much, except for a wall mount as seen above, doesn’t mean we’re not expecting improvements in the Nest Mini. Leaks are pointing towards an improved audio quality thanks to improved speakers and perhaps even a 3.5 mm output. The FCC images don’t quite support he 3.5 mm jack but we sure hope it’s there so enable the Nest Mini to be both an Assistant Speaker and a Chromecast Audio replacement.

There have been no pricing leaks, however with the Amazon Dot maintaining a lower price we’re not expecting to see much above the current $79 AUD.

Nest WiFi
The Nest WiFi is another device that has taken a trip through the FCC database and revealed a few internal secrets. From what w can piece together the new Nest WiFi will comprise a single base station similar to the original Google WiFi intended for placement next to your modem, switches, routers etc. As well as secondary smaller mesh units similar to an Eero that will be Assistant-enabled with microphones and speakers and finished in the familiar Google Home fabric finish.

We’re not sure if these secondary devices are intended for quality audio playback or if they are akin to the NVIDIA Spot that never saw the light of day. Either way, the Nest WiFi will include a thread radio for great IoT capabilities as well as Bluetooth and of course WiFi.

Unfortunately, the FCC filing did not list WiFi 6 (802.11 ax) as being tested in the new devices, which either means Google has made the massive mistake of not including WiFi 6 into the Nest WiFi or it just isn’t enabled/ wasn’t tested yet, we hope for the latter. We also expecting better Assistant integration allowing for pausing of devices/ network connectivity via the Assistant as well as an improved app experience for controlling device connections.

Again we have no pricing leaks with the Nest WiFi, but considering that the Google WiFi was already an expensive piece of kit at $199 for one or $499 for a 3 pack we’re not expecting major changes in that pricing.

Pixelbook Go

The Pixelbook Go rumours were a bit late to the party this year, but in recent days we’ve learnt everything about the incoming devices. Upfront the big change is the massive style change, while it is certainly in keeping with the Google/ Home/ Nest look and feel it is a big departure from the traditional business look of the original Pixelbooks.

That change in looks in no way means a compromise on the quality, of course, the devices are still constructed out of magnesium alloy complemented with a soft touch coloured rubber, seemingly designed to match the Pixel 4 colours, at least the orange version seems to. Internally there’s no LTE or a fingerprint sensor, but it seems without Android App support on Chrome OS for a fingerprint sensor that perhaps having one just didn’t make sense?

Inside the Pixelbook Go is packing:

    • Intel Core m3, i5, or i7
    • 8GB or 16GB of system RAM
    • 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB of internal storage
    • 13.3-inch, 16:9 FHD or 4K touch screen display
    • Titan C security chip
    • Two USB-C ports and a
    • 3.5mm headphone jack

    Australian availability of the Pixelbook Go is an unknown?? While Australia has seen a marked increase in the range of Chromebooks in Australia however Google has never sold Pixelbooks here so it’s a bit unclear. If it did come to Australia the starting price could be anywhere from $1200 – $2000 and that’s just for the starting model, we’ll watch this one with interest.

    Pixel Buds 2
    Rumours are suggesting that Google may be announcing the Pixel Buds that they should have launched 2 years ago with an apparent fully wireless version of the Assistant integrated earbuds in the works. There haven’t been any solid leaks at this stage for the Pixel Buds 2 but according to ‘sources’ they are in development.

    With the Pixel 4 not having any earbuds in the box, there’s a good chance that the rumours are true. At this point, if Google is releasing a set of fully wireless earbuds there is a laundry list of must-haves including, Bluetooth 5 with individual connections to each ear which is a feature that is emerging as a real differentiator this year.

    With a release price of $249 AUD for the original Pixel Buds and the current state of the fully wireless earbud market if Google does release a successor we’d expect their Australian price to be no less than $299 AUD.

    Pixel Watch
    Last and certainly the lest strongest rumour is the on-again, off-again Pixel Watch. Is Google releasing a Pixel Watch? Will the Fossil acquisition result in a surprise product? Will we see the first Wear OS Hybrid smartwatch powered by Diana? Let’s just say we’re highly sceptical but very hopeful.

    We’ve certainly seen that the Fossil Gen 5 with 1 GB of RAM and the Swear 3100 SOC makes Wear OS stable and usable, however, it still just feels like it needs either better software optimisation or a better SOC. I absolutely love the Wear OS 2.0 user interface, I think it’s the best Wearable UI, but that hardware needs some buttery smoothness applied, and soon.

    With 0 leaks or any description about the Pixel watch we’re just not convinced, we did see the Fossil Diana based Fossil Collider Hybrid Smartwatch HR briefly appear for sale online, and Google could announce something along these lines, but we just don’t see Google announcing a Fossil product at their annual flagship hardware event.

    One More thing?
    Are we going to get one more thing? Google has been known to release new software features or integrations at their hardware events, and with the Pixel getting the Neural Core we wouldn’t be surprised to see more on-device Machine learning if not fully on-device voice support, at least in some languages (eg US English booo).

    Assistant also is known to get a few new features or enhancements at the event and with Nest taking the front of the stage for IoT branding we could even see a deeper play for the home automation/ IoT space. We’d love to be surprised with even more new hardware, I mean Amazon managed over 70 announcements this month at their echo event so, come on Google, catch up.

    When is it on? Time zones are hard, daylight savings makes it even harder, so if you’re wanting to watch the event then hopefully your timezone is listed below, otherwise sleep in, wake up and we’ll have all of the news, links and information you’ll need right here.

    Made by Google Event: Tuesday 15 October 10:00 Eastern time (New York)

    • Greenwich Mean Time: Tuesday 15 October 1400
    • Australian Eastern Standard Time: Wednesday 16 October 00:00
    • Australian Eastern Daylight Time: Wednesday 16 October 01:00
    • Australian Central Standard Time: Tuesday 15 October 23:30
    • Australian Central Daylight Time: Wednesday 16 October 00:30
    • Australian Western Standard Time: Tuesday 15 October 22:00

    Duncan Jaffrey   Associate

    Duncan Jaffrey

    Duncan has been interested in technology since coding "Mary had a little Lamb" in Basic on his ZX Spectrum. A fan of all things Android, most days you'll find Duncan trawling the web for Android news or quietly editing away on Map Maker.

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