Google unveils new Pixels, a new Chromecast, and a new smart speaker
Like most tech launches at the moment, Google's October event was an online-only, livestreamed affair, but there was still plenty of new hardware on show: two new Pixel phones, a new Chromecast with Google TV on board, and a new Nest Audio speaker.
The headline gadget here is the new Pixel 5 smartphone, though it's not quite the flagship you may have expected – it runs the mid-range Snapdragon 765G processor, and comes with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB. Those specs are very capable, but they're not top-tier Galaxy S20 or iPhone 11 capable.
On the front of the Pixel 5 is a 6-inch, 1,080 x 2,340 pixel, 90-Hz refresh rate OLED display with a punch hole notch, with a 4,080-mAh battery packed inside and Android 11 on board. It offers IP68-rated resistance to dust and water, and a fingerprint sensor around the back, and charging can be wireless or via the USB-C port.
The Pixel 5 sports a dual-lens, 12.2-MP + 16-MP ultrawide camera, which should be able to take some impressive shots considering the pedigree of previous Pixels when it comes to taking photos. Finally, the phone is 5G-ready too.
Google has also unveiled the 5G-enabled successor to the Pixel 4a, the Pixel 4a 5G. It's actually more like the Pixel 5, with the same rear camera setup and the same internal processor. You only get 6 GB of RAM with this phone, not 8 GB, though the 128 GB of internal storage is the same.
The Pixel 4a 5G drops the water resistance and wireless charging, and has a slightly smaller 3,885-mAh battery. It has a bigger screen, a 6.2-inch, 1,080 x 2,340 pixel OLED panel, though the refresh rate is back to the standard 60 Hz. The Pixel 5 also has the bonus of a premium aluminum back, while the Pixel 4a 5G sticks to plastic.
All these variations are reflected in the prices, with the Pixel 4a 5G available from November 19 for US$499, and the Pixel 5 available from October 29 for $699. Preorders are open now, with both phones coming in black, and an extra pale green shade on offer for the Pixel 5.
We should also mention the three years of software updates these phones get. Being first in line for Android updates is one of the main reasons for going with a Pixel phone, as is the clean and bloat-free version of Android that Google uses.
Google had more to show off today as well. There's a new $49.99 Chromecast, this time with a remote control, plus support for 4K, HDR, and Dolby Vision. It comes with Google TV on board, so you're not relying on streaming video and music from your phone – the full title is Chromecast with Google TV.
If you're wondering what Google TV is, it appears to be the new name for Android TV (Google hasn't been very clear on this point) – that completes the circle, because Android TV was originally called Google TV until 2014. Whatever the nomenclature, it appears to be a refreshed TV interface for your Android apps, with better search across multiple apps. Google TV as an app will also be replacing Google Play Movies & TV in the near future.
Lastly, there's a new Nest Audio smart speaker from Google as well. It's basically a bigger Nest Mini – or a replacement for the original Google Home speaker – with improved audio at a steeper price. It of course comes with the Google Assistant and all the associated tricks on board too. The Nest Audio will be available from October 5 for $99.99.