Google’s October 4 hardware event: What to expect


Google Home, the first Daydream VR headsets and new Pixel phones top the list.

For a search company, Google sure makes a lot of hardware these days. And the company is expected to add a bunch more products to its portfolio on Tuesday — basically everything it wants on shelves this holiday season.

It’s the first product launch under Rick Osterloh, the former Motorola president who rejoined Google earlier this year to unify its disparate hardware efforts.

Perhaps the most strategically important product slated to be shown is Google Home, the Amazon Echo competitor it previewed at I/O earlier this year. Amazon’s Alexa now handles a whole lot of search queries, a trend Google would clearly like to nip in the bud.

Here’s the consensus from the rumor mill on what else to expect:

  • Pixel phones. These phones are similar in some ways to past Nexus devices, but they are expected to carry only the Google brand. In the past, Google has used the Nexus brand for its own phones, sharing space with the hardware company that manufactured that generation of phones — companies like LG, Asus and Motorola. HTC is rumored to be the hardware maker behind the Pixel phones. As for the phones themselves, the Pixels are said to pack all the latest high-end Android features, such as fingerprint readers, high-resolution displays and Qualcomm’s latest flagship processor. They’ll also likely come in two sizes. The smaller version is rumored to sport a five-inch screen; the larger display is said to be 5.5 inches.
  • Chromecast, now with 4K video support. The video-streaming stick will now support 4K-quality video, delivered from, say, a smartphone to an HDMI-ready television. The new device is reportedly also getting a new name, Chromecast Ultra, as well as a more expensive price.
  • Daydream VR. Also previewed at I/O, Daydream is Google’s effort to ensure that Android has a central place in virtual reality. With Daydream, Google is designing reference hardware that both it and its partners can use to turn smartphones into VR devices. Think Cardboard on steroids. The new VR headset is coming just in time for Halloween season, when YouTube is expected to release a series of spooky VR videos made with some of its most popular creators.
  • Wi-Fi routers. Google already had its own Wi-Fi hardware with OnHub, but is reportedly doing a new crop of networking devices that would be more like Eero and Luma, creating a mesh network to better spread internet connectivity throughout the home.

We’ll be liveblogging bright and early starting at 9 am PT / 12 pm ET on Oct. 4, if you want to follow along.

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