Thursday, 01 October 2020 06:10

MUST WATCH: Google launches new Nest Audio, Chromecast w/Google TV and two new 5G Pixels Featured

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Google's new Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5 5G smartphones have launched with unique features, as usual, and with a radically redesigned new Nest Audio speaker and Chromecast with Google TV, Google has thrown down the gauntlet and is expecting its best sales ever!

The elegance, maturity and sophistication of technology from today's major players has never been more evident than it is today in late 2020.

I was getting an old Android 4.04 powered smartphone ready for recycling via the Mobile Muster program in Australia by saving any old data and doing a factory reset last week, a model my father was using when he was still alive, and it was amazing to remember just how far we've come since that time.

Whether it's Samsung, Apple, Dyson, Motorola, LG, Hisense, Arlo, Sony, Fitbit, Huawei or any number of hardware and software makers, and online services, we live in a truly golden age of technology that only promises to get better and better.

Of course, there's always the worry that we'll develop Skynet, evil AI and Terminators that will one day come to get us all, but all of that is still much more science fiction than any kind of real near to mid-term problem, with tiny and invisible viruses posing a far more real-world threat we're all obviously much more worried about.

So, what has Google launched overnight that you can already pre-order from the Google Store

Well, the quickest way for you to get up to speed in 87 seconds is to what Google's official video entitled "Google's Launch Night In Event: What you need to know in 87 seconds".

However, there's also Google's 31-minute Launch Night In event that the 87 second video is taken from, with more detail that you also should watch when you are able, as it was a fun, illuminating and very professionally produced event that you'll definitely enjoy watching, with the requisite celebrities adding their own flair to the proceedings:

You can also see the entire event broken down into separate videos at the Launch Night In page here, and also at Google's own "Made by Google" channel at YouTube

However, in short, here are the details. Google started off by showcasing its new Chromecast with Google TV, which Google is calling its "best Chromecast yet".

Chromecast with Google TV

Set to retail from 15 October in Australia for $99 from JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman, Officeworks, The Good Guys and Google's online store, and available for pre-order from today, the new Chromecast with Google TV includes the "all-new Google TV entertainment experience".

No longer "just" a device for casting videos to, Google TV is its own operating system for your smart TV, and is like the Android TV experience you'll find from Android TV boxes or on Sony TVs, but with a fresh new look, and coming with a compact remote control that has buttons for the Google Assistant, Netflix, YouTube, volume and more.

It's a clear competitor to the Apple TV, Roku, regular Android TV boxes, Android TV Fire Stick Lite and more, and as a Google native device and and sub $100 price, it should be very, very popular and a no-brainer upgrade.

Google has published its official Chomecast with Google TV Australian blog post with more details, while the links above let you see how Google has presented the device, what makes it different, and why you'll want to buy one!

The Chomecast with Google TV Store link is here and it's the kind of animated page full of info and imagery that explains it all, too. 

We'll have more to say about it in the future, but until there, please check out the info above online.

Google Nest Audio

Next up is the Nest Audio, Google's latest smart speaker that is "made for music lovers". Available at JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman, The Good Guys and Google's own online store for $149, on sale from 15 October and available for pre-order now, this speaker has definitely been upgraded.

Google says the Nest Audio is 75% louder, with 50% stronger bass than the original Google Home, the company is promising "full, clear and natural sound:.

The company says it "completed more than 500 hours of tuning to ensure balanced slows, mids and highs so that nothing is lacking or overbearing", promising "significant bass" and vocals with depth, as well as a custom-designed tweeter and "optimised grill, fabric and materials so that you can enjoy the audio without distortion".

There's a Media EQ feature to "automatically tune itself to whatever you're listening to" along with Ambient IQ that can "adjust the volume of Assistant, news, podcasts and audiobooks based on the background noise in the home, so you can hear the weather forecast over a noisy dishwasher".

You can use your voice to move music from one Google speaker to another in your home, and connect speakers together as stereo pairs or to group devices together.

Google is also promising a faster Google Assistant experience through a dedicated machine learning chip it first debuted in the Nest Mini last year, and with a "really slim profile" rather than other more rounder smart speaker, it "fits anywhere in the home".

Google has its official Australian Nest Audio blog post here, while the YouTube and other video links above let you watch and see why it's new, different and better.

The Google Store Nest Audio link is here and it's the kind of animated page full of info and imagery that explains it all, too. 

Google Pixel 4a with 5G and Google Pixel 5

Finally, there's two new Google Pixel phones and both able to connect to 5G networks, following on from the extremely well received Pixel 4a that launched earlier this year.

In Australia, Pixel 5 will range in two colours, Just Black and Sorta Sage (selected retailers). It will retail for $999 and can be pre-ordered today from Google Store, Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, JB Hi-Fi, Officeworks and Harvey Norman, and will be available starting 15 October.

Pixel 4a with 5G will retail for $799 and can be pre-ordered today from JB Hi-Fi, Officeworks and Harvey Norman, and will be available from these retailers in addition to Google Store and Telstra in November ranging in Just Black.

Google has full details on the Pixels at its Australian blog post here, but along with 5G capability, Google promises the latest AI and Assistant features, the biggest batteries ever put into Pixels, the industry leading camera features that Pixels are renewed for and other features that aren't available in competing smartphones.

There'a new ultra wide lens alongside the standard wide camera, something very popular with users and phones these days, a Portrait Light that lets you illuminate your subjects beautifully, and a new Night Sight in portrait mode to capture "beautifully blurred backgrounds in Portraits even in extremely low light."

There's a better Google Duo video conferencing and HD screen sharing experience, and improved Recorder app that can transcribe speech it hears into text in real time, the Snapdragon 765G processor on both models, a punch-hole display (meaning no more notices), 8GB RAM and 128GB storage, with the Pixel 5 also enjoying wireless charging, reverse wireless charging and IP68 water and dust resistance.

The Google Pixel page at the Google Store is here and it's the kind of animated page full of info and imagery that explains it all, too. 

We'll have more to say about all of these new devices soon, but to see more for yourself, please check out the Launch Night In page here


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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