It’s Google time! At 10 a.m. ET on Tuesday, Oct. 15, Google will be showing off its latest hardware lineup. We know we’ll be seeing new flagship Pixel phones and probably a new Chromebook, but what else is on tap? We’ll be live at the event, but you can also stream the event live on YouTube (video embedded below).
Until then, here’s what we expect to see:
Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL
The big stars of the event will be the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL phones. Much has leaked about these phones already, including the official spec sheet. They both use Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processors, and have 6GB of RAM, 64GB or 128GB storage options, and 12MP and 16MP “2x zoom” cameras. Unlike other flagships right now, they don’t have wide-angle cameras.
— Made by Google (@madebygoogle) June 12, 2019
The smaller model of the phone will have a 5.7-inch, 90Hz 1080p OLED display; the larger one will have a 6.3-inch Quad HD display. Both will have “Pixel Neural Core” image processors, which will enable new camera modes that could be the highlight of this part of the presentation.
I’m also looking forward to seeing some of the freakier technologies we’ve been hearing about getting integrated into this phone. Most notable, Google’s Project Soli—a radar-based system Google has been working on for three years—should enable various gesture interactions. We’ve seen gesture interactions on various phones before—LG tried to bring them in with the LG G8—but they’ve either been confusing in the past, or just haven’t worked.
— Made by Google (@madebygoogle) July 29, 2019
The phones will probably also come in this color of orange.
Physical objects found in the real world lend themselves to functional design and natural progress. See if you can spot our designers’ inspiration in the latest #madebygoogle lineup on October 15.
— Made by Google (@madebygoogle) October 8, 2019
As the wireless guy, I’m definitely hoping to see an expansion of the Pixel’s eSIM capabilities in the new models. The Pixel 3a introduced the first dual-SIM, dual-standby support in US Pixel phones, but it doesn’t have broad carrier support. With dual-SIM and eSIM now becoming mainstream on Apple phones, Google can really show the way on Android.
A recent rumor going around suggests the phones will have a 5G model. If they do, I think it will be exclusive to China. Chinese carriers are demanding 5G in their leading phones, in advance of a massive 5G network launch all over the country later this year. But the currently available 5G components aren’t appropriate for the networks US carriers will be launching in 2020, so I don’t think Google will release a 5G version for the US right now.
Which carriers will these phones be on? They’ll certainly be sold by Verizon, and probably its three main rivals. The question is whether any other carriers will sell it, and that’s up in the air.
Google Home and Google Home Mini Updates
Google hasn’t updated its main Home speaker since 2016, and hasn’t updated its Home Mini since 2017. Both are primed to receive a branding update to “Nest Home” and “Nest Home Mini,” but they could use some other refreshers as well.
9to5Google says the Mini speaker will receive an update with a wall mount, 3.5mm stereo jack, and better sound. We’d be more excited to see updates with some of Google’s weird new technologies, such as the Project Soli gesture-interaction interface. Soli could offer new ways to control the volume and action on your home speakers without having to yell at them; according to Computerworld, it can sense gestures up to 45 feet away. How it would make sense of them is a real mystery, but the technology is out there.
9to5Google’s scoops also include a new “Nest Wifi” mesh metworking system with a main router and smaller beacons that act as Google Assistant speakers. This would jibe well with the idea of a second-generation Google Home Mini; if the company is reinventing its mini-speaker to merge with Wi-Fi extenders, it might as well have a standalone version too.
Google Pixelbook Go
We have confirmed that Google will have a “computing” device at its event, which means a laptop or 2-in-1. That’s almost certainly going to be what 9to5Google is calling the Pixelbook Go: a lightweight Chromebook with a 13.3-inch, 4K touch screen and a wide range of processor and storage options. It will have two USB-C ports and a front-facing camera.
This will be a return to the original Pixelbook concept of Google showing what should be done at the high end of the Chromebook line. It appears to be yet another abandonment of the tablet form factor, which Google has been flirting with on and off for years. But I think that’s sensible. No matter how hard it’s tried, Google has not been able to make Android or Chrome tablets happen. But Chromebooks have absolutely taken off among people looking for a low-stress laptop experience.