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

Google shows off new phone, virtual reality headset and home assistant
Google's new smartphone, the Pixel. (Google)

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.

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

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.

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Twitter: @traceylien

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