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Google shows off new phone, virtual reality headset and home assistant

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Gadgets have never been Google’s specialty, but they could play a big role in the tech giant’s future.

The Mountain View, Calif. firm on Tuesday announced a new smartphone, virtual reality headset and household helper — a suite of devices that could help lure users to Google’s software and search products.

Below are the devices presented at a product event in San Francisco.

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Pixel

Pixel is Google’s latest foray into smartphones. Available in 5-inch and 5.5-inch models, the Pixel comes with a 12.3-megapixel rear-facing camera that has video stabilization and zero shutter lag. It comes pre-installed with Google Assistant and Google’s messaging and video-calling software, as well as 24/7 live customer care, free and unlimited Google Photos storage and a quick-charge feature that yields seven hours of battery life on a 15-minute charge. And unlike the iPhone 7, it has a 3.5-millimeter audio jack.

The phone starts at $649 via an exclusive deal with Verizon and is also available for $27 a month on the Google Store. It is available for pre-order Tuesday.

Daydream View

Google was the first company to try to make virtual reality accessible through Google Cardboard, its low-end virtual reality headset made from cardboard and plastic. Its newest headset, the Daydream View, is comparable to the more high-tech Samsung Gear VR, but it still undercuts the competition at $79. The Daydream View is 30% lighter than similar devices, fits over glasses and is wrapped in fabric — making it resemble an oversized sleep mask. It also comes with a controller that allows users to point and even draw in the virtual world.

The Daydream View is compatible with Pixel and other Daydream-ready Android smartphones.

Google Home

Google first showed off its home assistant device earlier this year at its developers conference. The Google Home resembles Amazon’s Echo and offers similar functionality: It answers spoken questions, plays music and can control other home devices from hardware makers such as Samsung, Phillips and Google-owned Nest. Netflix will soon support voice-casting, so Google Home users will be able to search Netflix using only voice commands.

Google Home is available for pre-order on Tuesday for $129 on the Google Store and from Best Buy, Wal-Mart and Target. It comes with a free six-month trial to YouTube Red, Google’s premium video service.

Google Wi-Fi

Google will launch its own range of modular routers starting at $129 for a single router, and $299 for a pack of three (these are for larger homes that need a Wi-Fi signal boost).

Chromecast Ultra

A successor to the thumb-sized device that streams digital media, the Chromecast Ultra is 1.8 times faster than the original Chromecast, and supports 4K resolution. It will be available in November for $69.

tracey.lien@latimes.com

Twitter: @traceylien

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