Google is prepping for a massive hardware show on Oct. 4 that will not only reveal its next smartphones, but initiatives in television, virtual reality, and the smart home. Reports indicate the HTC-built smartphones will be called the Pixel and Pixel XL, mirroring an earlier report that Google is retiring the Nexus brand.
Why this matters: At Google I/O the company first unveiled Google Home as its competitor to the Amazon Echo and revealed its virtual reality initiative with Daydream VR. But the news that Google would go with Pixel branding for its new phone is a little surprising, though it’s part of a branding effort that’s likely inspired from all the custom software features that will further distinguish Google’s phones from others in the Android space.
Pixel, Pixel XL
Android Police cites two “independent sources” as evidence that Google will dub the phones Pixel and Pixel XL. These are the Marlin and Sailfish phones we’ve been hearing about all summer, which are to be manufactured by HTC. Though by the looks of it, you may only see HTC’s name on some tiny corner of the box and instead find only Google branding on the phones.
Earlier this week, Android Central was first to detail that Google would drop the Nexus name. Previous Pixel devices have been very high-end, with the Chromebook Pixel and Pixel 2, along with the Pixel C tablet, commanding high prices and premium build quality. The specs and details for the phone rumors haven’t hinted that they’ll blow us away, but the name change may be more about branding that will catch the public’s eye.
The Pixel phones may include another leap forward in Android, possibly to version 7.1. The Google Assistant could be more central to the experience, and CEO Sundar Pichai himself has said that Google would find ways to further innovate with the software on its own devices.
At I/O, Google promised that its smart home competitor was coming and would allow you to ask Google questions no matter where you’re at in the living room. This event sounds like a logical place to do this, as the company can then demonstrate how your Pixel phone, Google Home, and other gear will all play nicely with one another. We could should also finally learn about price and availability.
Google detailed the specs and standard behind its Daydream VR initiative during a presentation at, you guessed it, I/O. By showing it the actual Daydream Viewer hardware at the
Nexus Pixel event, Google can talk up how it's phones (at least the big one) will be "Daydream Ready" to power those VR experiences. We should also hear more about the Google VR experience and how it may differentiate from the Oculus-powered GearVR.
Google will also apparently reveal a 4K-capable Chromecast. This move makes a lot of sense, as 4K televisions and programming continues to grow in popularity. By offering a Chromecast that supports 4K, purportedly to called Chromecast Ultra or Chromecast Plus, Google can support streaming services like Netflix that have begun to offer 4K content.
The entirety of the announcements could ensure that your 2016 Christmas wish list is dominated by one thing: Google. As we learn more about this upcoming event, we’ll be sure to share all the details with you.