Google's Pixel Slate Wants to Replace Your Laptop

Donna Miller
October 10, 2018

When Google first demoed Duplex on stage, in May, the technology caused significant controversy because it mimicked human speech so convincingly without telling callers that they were speaking to a bot and being recorded. And since the Google Assistant spans across several product categories, here's a quick taste of what's coming. The new generation of Pixel phones features an improved camera that's backed by Google's AI. Here we were, expecting to learn about the latest updates to the Pixelbook, and Google throws a curveball and debuts the Pixel Slate, a 12-inch tablet.

A new feature called Top Shot uses AI to capture alternate shots in HDR+ and then recommend the best one from the sequence, which you can flip through and select a photo from yourself.

The Pixel 3 line also incorporates front-firing speakers, which, as the Made by Google presenters claimed, have a 40% improvement in terms of sound depth and quality.

In fact, Google is being pretty conscious of the privacy debate with this device. It features all the same music-playing and smart home connectivity of the regular Google Home, including the ability to set routines that can be triggered with a keyword or phrase, but also adds full support for video on YouTube.

However, the presentation fell flat for at least one industry expert. One thing the company didn't mention, though, was the new Chromecast. The Pixel 3 starts shooting a second before you press the button and a second after - looking for the moments where everyone has their eyes open and facing the camera.

They will be sold in the US, Canada, and the UK.

The Pixel Stand also makes an appearance with the Pixel 3 offering a unique wireless charging experience, including fast charging and some serious Google Assistant integration. Likewise, Amazon just can't stop itself from trying to use its foothold in your home to get you to buy more things from its online store.

Stardew Valley Coming to iOS and Android
The mobile version lacks mod support and multiplayer content, but adds touch-related tweaks. Unfortunately, mod support and multiplayer content isn't available in the mobile version.

At the beginning of the year, the Google Pixel Watch seemed like a dead cert. Nevertheless, the Pixel 3, Pixel Slate and Google Home Hub were all officially announced, and while there were little to no surprises, a closer look at some of these devices and the software underneath the hood reveals a few interesting details. And since it's a tablet, Chrome OS has been optimized for touch. However, I was impressed with how springy the circular keys actually were. A real-time transcript of the conversation will display on your screen. "It's a surprisingly good product and I think it's the surprisingly affordable product that may be an alternative to a Windows laptop".

There's also dual front-facing speakers, which teamed with Google's algorithms, should make for richer, crisper audio.

Google's been incessantly talking about AI for the a year ago and its use of the term is a little overblown.

The device features Home View, a dashboard for the spectrum of home devices, including appliances, DVRs, lights and thermostats. The primary aim of the Hub is to control your smart home with a single device.

Paired with Google's Nest, the device provides a remote way to see someone ringing a doorbell.

The Home Hub is available to preorder right now for $149 (£139) and will begin shipping on October 22. The Portal does have a camera.

The other major product announced was Google Home Hub, a device that's something of a hybrid between a smart speaker and a tablet, which is created to sit at the center of what Google repeatedly called "the thoughtful home" (it avoided use of the word "smart").

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