Google's desire to sell more electronics pushes consumers toward its real moneymaker: the search, YouTube and maps services that contribute to its more than $65 billion in annual revenue. The strategy has been so successful that the European Commission is investigating the company's business practices around its mobile products. The US Federal Trade Commission has reportedly started a similar investigation.
Two Smartphones. The first device, made by LG, was the Nexus 5X with a 5.2” screen. The phone is powered by a hexa-core Snapdragon 808 processor for world-class speed at an affordable price. The unit also boasts a 12.5-megapixel camera designed to ‘shine’ in low light. The other device, made by Huawei, was the Nexus 6P with a 5.7” screen powered by a Snapdragon 810 v2.1 processor. Both devices will work with Project Fi, the company's experimental wireless service. They both also support Nexus Imprint for fingerprint sensing and increased security and the new standard USB Type-C connector for charging.
Expanding the Nexus line also helps Google's broader wireless plans. Nexus is an important testing ground for Google's Project Fi, an experimental wireless carrier service that switches between cellular and Wi-Fi signals on the fly. The service, which should curb cell phone bills by reducing the amount of data used, had until now been compatible with only one phone, the Nexus 6, which Google released last year.
Streaming Devices. The company also unveiled new Chromecast sticks, which are designed to turn dumb devices, like older TVs or speakers, into Web-ready gizmos for services like Netflix and Spotify. First was an updated version of the Chromecast video streaming device, as well as a new device specifically for streaming audio to any sound system with a headphone jack.
The devices are part of Google's multipronged strategy for getting its technology into homes. Some of Google's gear, such as its Nest thermostat and smoke detector, are the cutting edge of connected home devices. Chromecast devices, by contrast, focus on what you already have.
Tablet – Convertible. The company also revealed a new tablet called the Pixel C. It looks like the little brother to the Chromebook Pixel. Its aluminum shell has that same look and feel and it has a USB Type-C port and a gorgeous 2,560 x 1,800 display.
The unit also accepts an optional keyboard to provide the ‘convertible’ functionality. The genius here is that instead of attaching via a cumbersome dock, the tablet connects to the keyboard via magnets. There's a special flip-up backstop on the keyboard that automatically self-aligns to the tablet's rear, at which point you can position the tablet as a display. The 32GB version runs $499 and the 64GB version is $599 with $149 extra for the optional keyboard.
Big screens, small screens, movies and music. Google wants to be everything to everyone and this past week’s announcements certainly help it move to that goal.