In a world crowded with smartphones and video streaming services and devices, do consumers still need more?
Alphabet (GOOG -0.95%) (GOOGL -0.96%) clearly thinks the answer is yes as it launches a new streamer and a fresh version of its Chromecast dongle. Those offerings, along with the latest iterations of Alphabet's Pixel line of smartphones, were unveiled during Google's Launch Night on Wednesday.
The phones are the Pixel 4a 5G and 5, two 5G-capable handsets that -- like their forebears -- use the Google-developed Android operating system. The former is essentially an upgrade of the existing 4a, adding that 5G capability and featuring a slightly larger screen. The latter has a set of convenience and hardware features, including wireless charging and a body made of metal (as opposed to the Pixel 4a 5G's plastic).
The Pixel 4a 5G starts at $499, while the Pixel 5 retails for at least $699.
In the streaming-video realm, Google TV is a platform that ties together content from a host of outside providers, reminiscent of Roku's provider-neutral interface. Naturally, Google TV is very friendly to Alphabet's own YouTube TV, which broadcasts live programming; Google TV users can access that service's channel guide quickly and directly in the upper menu.
Lastly, Alphabet/Google's latest video-watching gadget, the Chromecast with Google TV, is a plug-and-play device that is inserted directly into a USB port on a TV. It also comes with a dedicated remote control, unlike previous Chromecasts that required a smartphone or even a PC as a navigation tool. As the device's name implies, its native streaming platform is Google TV.
Chromecast with Google TV, in the tradition of that product line, is inexpensive, starting at $49.99.