According to Google’s Android SVP Hiroshi Lockheimer, the company’s upcoming October 4th event — which, yes, is just a few days away now — is going to be something to go down in the Googley history books. According to him, “8 years from now we’ll be talking about Oct 4, 2016.” That comes in a tweet where he reflects on the fact that 8 years ago, Google announced the very first version of Android.
So Google thinks this event is going to be a big deal, and with such strong words coming straight from the mouth of Android’s SVP, we’re inclined to believe it. But what is Google planning to announce? We know almost for a fact that they’re planning some consumer-facing “Made by Google” smartphones, but what else could the Mountain View company have up its sleeve for next week?…
Pixel and Pixel XL
This is the most obvious one, and the one we’ve been hearing about for the longest time. For quite a while it was assumed that Google would be sticking it through with another couple Nexus phones, but it has become clear in recent months that these are an entirely different beast. Rather than being niche prototypical examples of what OEMs should do with Android, the Pixel and Pixel XL are said to be Google’s foremost attempt at building some smartphones of its own — a la Apple or Samsung.
But as has been rumored for quite some time, these are being manufactured by HTC. For these, we’re expecting to see either a 5-inch or 5.5-inch AMOLED displays (FHD and QHD, for the Pixel and Pixel XL, respectively), a quad-core 64-bit CPU (likely the Snapdragon 821), 4GB of RAM, a 2770 or 3450mAh battery (Pixel and Pixel XL, respectively), 12 and 8MP cameras (with Sony’s IMX378 sensor, which is basically the 5X/6P’s sensor but with OIS), 32GB of storage, and the usual Bluetooth, fingerprint scanner, NFC, etc.
On the software side, we’re expecting these phones to run some version of Android, but it’s clear that Google is making some of its own decisions here to customize the Pixels to be truly unique. For one, they’ll both sport the Pixel launcher (which is basically a modified Google Now Launcher), and the latest word is that the icons — yes, all of the app icons — are going to be rounded. We don’t know much about the software other than that, though, although these will likely launch with Android 7.1 Nougat, its first maintenance release.
Google Home isn’t much of a secret, and that’s because Google showed it off at Google I/O earlier this year. Basically, this is Google’s Amazon Alexa competitor. It’s a Wi-Fi speaker with access to music in the cloud, you can control it with your voice, and it has Google Cast support. It’s a nifty little box, and it has a display on the top with some Google-colored dots that animate to show you it’s working.
The big idea here is that Google already has control over lots of TVs by way of Chromecast, and this gives you an always-listening hub to play videos and music through any of those systems. Like the OnHub router, Google wants you to be able to customize the hardware to fit the ambience of your home. Purportedly, you’ll be able to order different bases in a variety of styles and colors.
Android Police has recently said that the Google Home will go for $129.
Daydream VR headset
Also announced back at Google I/O 2016, Google is expected to tell us more about its forthcoming Daydream VR hardware. The Pixel and Pixel XL could be a couple of Daydream-ready devices, but what about that viewer? We heard about it at I/O, but recently we heard that it may be named “Daydream View”. Google is expected, according to the latest rumors, to show the hardware on 10/4.
Check out our hands on with an early developer preview version of Daydream.
Last week we heard, again from Android Police, that Google is planning yet another router entry for launch next week. This one isn’t an OnHub, though, and will purportedly be called Google WiFi.
This product will seemingly be a successor to the OnHub, which has over the last couple of years brought user-friendly WiFi routers made by Google in collaboration with hardware partners. Android Police‘s source claims that the Google WiFi router will similarly have “smart” features, assumably including the aforementioned ability to automatically set up a mesh network — probably similar to Eero.
According to Android Police, it’s going to cost $129. Unfortunately, we don’t know exactly what it’s going to look like physically, but AP says it’s a little white box similar in size to the Amazon Echo Dot.
Google Chromecast Ultra
This one might just be the least exciting of the group. We first heard that Google would be introducing a 4K-capable version of the Chromecast dubbed “Ultra” last month, and recently Evan Blass dropped an official-looking render of the device. There’s probably not much to talk about here, because besides its higher $69 purported price and support for 4K, I doubt there’s much that’s special about it.
As you may know, the big if for Google’s October 4th event is Andromeda, which is what Android Police thinks that Lockheimer is teasing in the above tweet. Supposedly, this is the big Android/Chrome OS merger that has long been rumored and will purportedly bring unity to all of Google’s software offerings — one OS to rule them all if you will.
Not long after Android Police posted their little scoop, we got word that Google was testing the forthcoming OS on the Nexus 9, which we discovered evidence of in the AOSP. We later got confirmation that Google has been testing the new OS on the Nexus 9 due to hardware constraints, and that the somewhat-old Nexus tablet won’t be getting the new OS.
On Monday morning, Android Police came out again with another leak — this time of a future device that will purportedly run Andromeda. It’s a Pixel laptop/tablet, and we definitely will not be seeing it at the event. What we might see, however, is what we believe may be a Huawei Nexus for developers.
Huawei Nexus tablet?
This one’s a bit fuzzy, but there’s also a 7″ tablet built by Huawei with 4GB of RAM that we’ve yet to hear anything officially about. We’ve heard that the Nexus brand is sticking around for this tablet, and that it will be able to run some early version of Google’s forthcoming Andromeda OS at some point. Details, however, are pretty scarce on this one and it’s not even certain that we’ll see it on 10/4.
Let’s see what happens…
We’re excited to learn about everything Google has planned for next week, and both myself and Abner Li are going to be at the event in person to witness what might be one of the most important days for Google in quite some time. Hopefully it will live up the hype, but either way, it’s going to be a great day.
If you want to livestream the event, Google already has you covered.
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