The Google Home Mini is expected to take on the Amazon Echo Dot.

Google launches Home Mini Speaker and Pixelbook Laptop along with Pixel XL
Atom Tech Shorts Friday, October 06, 2017 - 09:10

Though the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL stole the limelight during Google’s launch event Wednesday evening, there were other hardware products unveiled confirming that the company is committed to this segment of the market as well.

Among the products announced at the event, there was the Mini Home speaker and a larger sized speaker than the standard Google Home speaker. The Google Home Mini is expected to take on the Amazon Echo Dot. The basic idea of the company is to cater to the different segments of the market, particularly where the price makes a huge difference. 

In terms of its size, the Google Home Mini is about four inches in diameter and an inch and a half in height and the speaker can listen to voice commands from just about anywhere in the room. Like other speakers Bluetooth streaming through this device is also feasible; however, some analysts believe the Google Home Mini may not be so good with music output.

There are no visible buttons on the surface of the speaker and touch commands can pause, play and adjust the sound levels.

The bigger brother, Google Home Max, on the other hand, is far more advanced, both in terms of technology and of the features. It’s a stereo speaker and can take on the best in the business as far as the output quality is concerned. The ideal way to get the best performance out of this home speaker is to give it the voice command to play the music of your choice using Google Cast. There are other input/output methods available for playing music as well.

While Amazon may have an edge in the market place with a larger range and higher number of customers, the application of AI in Google’s products and the versatility it brings into the users’ homes is definitely far superior.

On pricing, the Google Home Mini is priced at $49 and the Home Max a solid $399 in the US market.

The other major announcement by Google on Wednesday included the Google Pixelbook laptop. The company appears to have brought back the Chromebook Pixel in the renamed style. But the device does appear to belong to high end laptops with design and outward appearances matching the technical capabilities.

This is a 2-in-1 laptop with a 12.3-inch touchscreen display and the keys and trackpad are quite large in size. The laptop comes with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage and the processor is an Intel Core i5, 7th Generation chipset.

The highlight of this new laptop from Google is the way the Google Assistant is integrated into the device. There is a dedicated key, by pressing which and using voice commends, you can set the digital assistant to do your bidding. It has to be acknowledged here that Apple’s MacBook Pro and some Windows PCs do have Siri and Cortana, respectively, integrated into their keyboards.   

There is also the Pixelbook Stylus Pen available separately and many Android apps can be summoned to help with the usage of the Pixelbook Pen and Google is hopeful that some of the previous complaints of compatibility issues between Android apps and the Chrome OS have been taken care of in the latest offering.

The price of the Google Pixelbook starts at $999 and there are many variants to pick from and the high end one can be bought for $1649. The Stylus Pen will be sold separately at $99. The laptops start shipping by October 31 in the US, the UK and Canada.

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