At first glance, the $149 Home Hub looks oddly traditional. Google's devices will be available starting October 18. The front-facing cameras do a very neat trick: At their widest angle, there is massive fish-eye distortion, but once you take your photo, post-processing makes that distortion go away. The base has a grippy silicone-like material, similar to the base of the Google Home Mini, so it won't slide around in laptop mode. It's a welcome addition.
Unfortunately Google's demo consisted of a handful of Home Hub units running through pre-programmed loops, so I didn't get a proper chance to put the gadget through its paces. The thought process makes sense.
Anxious about privacy? When you don't want the Hub to be listening it can be put into "downtime" mode.
Aside from that, and the obvious size differences, you won't find a lot of disparity between the two devices' aesthetics. No tiny piece of masking tape required. Third-party manufacturers like Lenovo and JBL already make their own versions, complete with integrated camera for video calls. Motion Auto Focus allows you to track an object in motion and focus only on it. Since the mute button turns off both the camera and microphone, that's not an option unless you want your Echo devices to ignore your voice commands as well. Considering the furore that instantly surrounded Facebook's Portal earlier this week, that's probably a wise decision on Google's part. And in an effort to protect you from you, Google has also added Digital Wellbeing to monitor and limit your device and app usage. You'll immediately see a transcript of the caller's responses so that you can then decide whether to pick up, respond by tapping a quick reply (e.g., "I'll call you back later"), or mark the call as spam and dismiss. Its field of view also expands and contracts to include everyone visible in the room. Because Android highlights Google services, it's key to Google's business of selling ads through its search engine and other mobile apps. However, from our initial time with the devices, it's clear that Google is really only just hitting its vision of melding of hardware and AI-driven software - something it set out to do back with the original Pixel in 2016. Google says this is so as to save battery power. As before, Google's rear snapper is just phenomenal. Google remains, unapologetically, all about the data. Google calls this "Group Selfie Mode" and spent some time shooting zingers at the iPhone by saying how many more people you can fit into your frame.
In some respects, it was inevitable that smart homes would end up going down the path to a central control point and ecosystem: the smart home market is so disparate and flooded with competing standards that those companies that have tried to become single-point hubs - for example, Wink - have had limited success.
Non-photo features and specs of the phones include Google Lens, Smart Composite in Gmail, Google Assistant (the AI can now handle real-world tasks like calling restaurants to book a table), AI call screening, wireless charging, IP68 water- and dust-resistance, Android 9 Pie, a secure custom-designed Titan M chip, Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, 4GB RAM, and a 2915 mAh battery. As we've seen with the new iPhones, it's possible to adjust background blur after taking a shot, and there are plenty of other features too. Both devices promise a great camera, dual-front speakers and wireless charging.
- Judge Brett Kavanaugh Confirmed by US Senate as Supreme Court Justice
- Hazard is happy at Chelsea - Essien
- Google Pixel 3 Event
- Google Plus social network to shut down after major security lapse
- I do not know anything about Khashoggi disappearance
- New United Nations report details looming climate crisis
- McConnell says Senate 'not broken' after Kavanaugh fight
- Microsoft halts distribution of Windows 10 update amid reports it deletes files
- The World Was Just Issued 12-Year Ultimatum On Climate Change
- Melania Trump responds to criticism about wearing a 'colonial' hat in Africa