Google Set to Unveil Next Smartphone, VR Headset at Oct. 4 Event

 
 
By Todd R. Weiss  |  Posted 2016-09-20 Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Google, Daydream VR headset, VR, smartphones, Pixel phones, Chromecast

The Pixel smartphones have been rumored for months, as well as a new Daydream VR headset and an updated Google Chromecast dongle.

For months, Google's upcoming Pixel smartphones, its Daydream VR headset and an improved Chromecast dongle have been rumored. Now, Google has released a video teaser that shows an animated outline of a smartphone along with an Oct. 4 event date notice, where the company is likely to announce the rumored new products.

Device fans can enter their email address on the page and click the "Notify Me" to receive updates from Google as the products arrive and are unveiled. The Oct. 4 event will be held in San Francisco but is also being live-streamed on YouTube.com/Google.

The two Android smartphone models, which are reportedly called the Google Pixel and Pixel XL phones, have been designed by Google rather than third-party suppliers, but are built by HTC, according to earlier reports.

The Google smartphones have been rumored since May, according to an earlier eWEEK story. By directly designing the devices, Google could have more control and oversight of its hugely popular Android mobile operating system, which could help it take on Apple more directly in the smartphone wars, the story reported. The two upcoming devices were apparently code-named Marlin (M1) and Sailfish (S1) as they went through the development process, according to earlier reports.

Google has offered Android handsets in the past through arrangements with manufacturers such as HTC, Huawei and others, but those handsets were designed by those companies and carried Google Nexus nameplates, without Google's own designs. Google has not previously designed and built its own phones.

Earlier in September, a rumor from a well-known IT tipster circulated about Google's potential plans for a 7-inch tablet computer that will be built by Huawei and offered for sale by the end of 2016.

"Google's Huawei-built 7-inch tablet, with 4GB RAM, on track for release before the end of the year," tipster Evan Blass wrote in the recent post, which lacked any additional details. Google's last 7-inch Android tablet was the Nexus 7. Blass' Twitter handle is @evleaks.

The rumored machine could be announced by Google at the Oct. 4 event.

Also in September, Google suspended one of its other recent smartphone initiatives, its Project Ara smartphone effort, which began in 2013 with the concept of designing a phone platform that would incorporate a wide array of camera, audio and other modules as desired by users. Project Ara was ended as part of an effort to streamline the company's hardware efforts, even after its progress was touted at Google's I/O developer conference earlier this year.

The Ara phones centered on a baseplate or frame that incorporated a display, CPU, graphics processing unit, sensors and all the functionality of a standard smartphone.

Google was scheduled to release a preview version of Ara this fall in a bid to spur developer interest in the technology and ensure that modules for a wide range of applications would be available for the smartphone at launch. Organizations that were working with Google in developing modules for Ara included Samsung and Sony. Among the modules that Google was working on was one that would integrate the functions of a glucometer so people with diabetes could measure their glucose levels using their smartphones.

In March, a Google Nexus handset, the Nexus 5X, debuted as the second phone being sold for use with Google's Project Fi mobile phone services. The Nexus 5X smartphone is made by LG for use with the inexpensive monthly wireless service plans, which start at $20 a month. The Nexus 5X is priced at $349 for a 16GB model or $399 for a 32GB model.

Project Fi came out in April 2014 under what was then an invitation-only system. Project Fi phone services recently opened to all users who buy or provide a compatible Nexus smartphone that will work with the service. So far, the Nexus 6P by Huawei, the new Nexus 5X and the earlier Nexus 6 are the only three smartphones that will work with Project Fi's network. Users pay $20 per month for cellular access, plus data fees of $10 per GB only for the data that is consumed each month. The monthly access fee also includes unlimited talk and texting, WiFi tethering and international coverage in more than 120 countries.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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