Google launches Pixel 3 smartphones and Pixel Slate tablet

Google has launched two phones that answer calls on behalf of the owner in tricky situations, as it continues its mission of placing powerful artificial intelligence in the pockets of consumers around the world.
The new handsets, the Google Pixel 3 and Google Pixel 3 XL feature different screen sizes and prices to rival the lineup for Samsung - the market leader in Android phones.
Both feature Google Assistant, a voice activated AI that helps answer questions and can now screen phone calls to avoid irritating cold calls. When a mystery number calls, it will offer an option to “screen" to find out who is on the other side of the line and offers a menu of responses like “I’ll call you back later” or to mark it as spam.
The phones also feature Google's controversial tool “Duplex” which can call a restaurant to make bookings in a human-like voice when the owner is pressed for time. Duplex raised ethical questions when it was announced earlier this year. Despite this, both automated phone features will be available on American handsets before rolling out to the UK.
The two phones, that will arrive in shops on November 1, are successors to the critically successful Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. Both received rave reviews for their machine learning-led cameras that used smart algorithms to create clearer photos.
Updates include Night Sight, which automatically detects colours in low lighting, creating vivid pictures in the dark without flash. Improved zoom and automatic smile detect to take a photo at the opportune moment will likely prove a hit with customers.
The  6.3 inch screen Google Pixel 3 XL will cost up to £969 for the 128GB version. The Pixel 3, with a 5.5 inch screen will cost up to £839. Both are considerably less than the iPhone XS Max which took the record as the most expensive of its kind when it launched last month.
Google also launched a £69 wireless charging stand and a new tablet, the Pixel Slate. Google also launched a new smart Home Hub, a voice controlled smart screen that can show users videos as well as listen to voice commands. The £139 device is priced competitively with the likes of Amazon. Google said the device can help novice cooks with recipe videos or show YouTube videos.
During the keynote Google appeared to make a jibe at Amazon and Facebook's expense, claiming that it decided not to add a camera to the hub “so people feel comfortable”. Suspicions surrounding technology companies and putting cameras in homes has reached fever pitch, particularly with regards to AI.
Yet Rick Osterloh, emphasised that using people’s data to improve products was key and Google’s strategy focused on “AI, software and hardware working together” and that “this approach is what makes google’s hardware experience so unique”.

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24 October 2018

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