Google just unveiled a Silicon Valley armada of products under one uniting flag: artificial intelligence. Today at its keynote presentation, the tech giant unveiled a number of new devices: the first Google-branded smartphone, a virtual reality headset, voice-activated home assistant, Wi-Fi router and an updated version of Chromecast. The goal: AI software in between every device a person owns.
In his opening remarks, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the company's goal is to create "a two-way conversation, a natural dialogue," between Google and its users. He said the scale of mobile technology and the complexity of artificial intelligence made now the right time for the company to begin making its own hardware.
"We are evolving from a mobile-first to an AI-first world," Pichai said.
Here's a look at the spots for a few of the new products announced today:
The launch of Google's Pixel smartphone came as no surprise to anyone who has been following rumors on blogs or accidental unveilings on partner websites. However, the company's iPhone 7 competitor has finally became official. Pixel—which will be available in both 5-inch and 5.5-inch models—will come equipped with the Google Assistant artificial intelligence software, which the company says will help to further the goal of creating "a personal Google" for each user. Pixel is also the first to be equipped with Google's Daydream virtual reality software, which Google first teased out earlier this year at its I/O developer's conference.
Google's not the first company to come out with a virtual reality headset. However, the $79 headset—fittingly called "View"—combines the price point and portability of Samsung's Gear VR with the interactivity of more expensive PC-tethered systems like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
The View headset, which will be available in November, is made of clothing-like fabric instead of cold plastic to give it a more "soft and cozy" feel. It also has a remote, which will allow users to interact with content in a way not currently possible with Google Cardboard or Gear VR. The device is also launching with a wide array of content offerings. Daydream will have as many as 50 third-party VR partnerships by the end of the year, including content from Hulu, HBO and The New York Times. (There's even a Harry Potter game thanks to a partnership with Warner Bros., which will make everyone's wizarding dreams come true.) Google is also integrating plenty of Google software such as YouTube and Street View via Maps.
Google Home, Google's voice-activated assistant that ships on Nov. 4, will likely benefit from Amazon Echo's success at making home assistants relatable and useful. (Amazon has sold more than 3 million Echo devices since it launched in late 2014.)
Home—which will cost $129 (slightly cheaper than Echo)—will integrate with the rest of Google's AI-powered devices and allow users to play music, control lights, provide a daily to-do list, voice-operate a TV equipped with Chromecast and do plenty of other tasks.