It was less than a month ago when Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) launched its new iPhones, including the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and the highly anticipated iPhone X. And just last week, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) held a surprise event to show off new smart speakers. But now Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) is here to steal some limelight. On Wednesday, Alphabet unveiled a whopping eight new products (nine when including the Pixelbook Pen made for the new Pixelbook).
With a strong lineup of new Google-branded products and Alphabet's recent purchase of part of HTC's business, the online search giant is clearly going all-in on hardware.
Here's an overview of Alphabet's new products.
Pixel 2: Alphabet's second-generation smartphone comes in two sizes. The smaller version is called Pixel 2. It notably features a 5-inch display -- larger than the iPhone 8's 4.7-inch display even though it starts at $649, or $50 less than Apple's iPhone 8. Google asserts that the Pixel 2's 12.2-megapixel camera is the best smartphone camera ever.
Pixel 2 XL: Alphabet's Pixel 2 XL features a 6-inch display, slightly larger than the iPhone X's 5.8-inch display. Yet the iPhone Pixel 2 XL starts at $849, or $150 less than Apple's iPhone X. Both phones have the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor and the same 12.2-megapixel camera.
Google's aggressive pricing for its second-generation Pixel phone positions Alphabet competitively against Apple.
Home Mini: Just a week after Amazon announced a robust lineup of new Echo devices to reinforce its first-mover advantage in the nascent smart speaker market, Alphabet welcomed two new products to its Google Home Family: Home Mini and Home Max. Mini is a small, compact speaker similar in size to Amazon's popular Echo Dot. It includes Alphabet's artificial intelligence assistant Google Assistant.
The Mini's $49 price tag mirrors the pricing of Amazon's Echo Dot, positioning it as an alternative to one of Amazon's most important products.
Home Max: Alphabet's new Home Max similarly has Google Assistant built in, but it offers high-fidelity sound with dual 4.5-inch high-excursion subwoofers and sound 20 times more powerful than the original Google Home.
Pixelbook: The new Google Pixelbook is a thin, light laptop with a keyboard that can fold underneath or be used to prop up the display for easy viewing. The Pixelbook can also utilize Google's new Pixelbook Pen, or a responsive stylus very similar to the Apple Pencil. Google Assistant is built in.
Pixel Buds: Pixel Buds are Google's response to Apple's AirPods. They're wireless earbuds with Google Assistant built in. They come in a pocket-sized charging case.
Daydream View: Alphabet's new Daydream View is a headset that can be paired with Pixel 2 or other Daydream-ready phones for a virtual reality experience.
Google detailed the new headset:
With this new headset, we kept the best parts of the original and made them even better. The new Daydream View has high-performance lenses, which result in better image clarity and a wider field of view. It sports a premium two-tone fabric that makes the headset soft and light, and it comes in three new colors: Fog, Charcoal, and Coral.
Google Clips: Alphabet's new Google Clips is a lightweight, tiny camera that syncs wirelessly to Google Clips apps for Android and iOS, using machine learning to capture the best moments.
It's all about artificial intelligence
Barring Alphabet's new Google Clips product, all of these new devices have Google Assistant built in, highlighting the growing importance of artificial intelligence in consumer electronics. Indeed, Alphabet views AI as a core pillar of its hardware efforts. "We see tremendous potential for devices to be helpful, make your life easier, and even get better over time when they're created at the intersection of hardware, software and advanced artificial intelligence," explained Google's senior vice president of hardware Rick Osterloh in a press release on Wednesday.
Alphabet's new products and their aggressive pricing confirm the company's invigorated stance in Google-branded hardware. With such a formidable early start in hardware, competitors like Apple and Amazon are going to have to step up their game.