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Google unveils new smartphones, laptops and earbuds

Google has unveiled its latest flagship Android smartphone, the Google Pixel 4 which includes a radar chip that lets users control their phone through gestures.

The Soli radar chip is able to sense motion and users will be able to “skip songs, snooze alarms and silence phone calls” by waving their hand in front of the phone. The technology was developed internally by Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects team.

The firm also boasted about the Pixel’s new dual camera system that allows users to take astronomical photos.

Google said the new astrophotography mode is able to take detailed pictures of the night sky when kept completely still using the Pixel’s Night Sight low-light photo mode. It can then use computation to piece together a number of different images to create the final shot.

The phone will ship with the latest version of Google’s mobile OS, Android 10, which comes with a system-wide dark mode; new permissions features; improved facial recognition and enhanced security.

Google Assistant is also getting a revamp, with a better understanding of context when asked a question. It will supposedly be able to process voice commands up to 10 times faster than the current Assistant.

Google confirmed that the new phone will be available in either the 5.7-inch screen Pixel 4 (from £699) or the 6.3-inch Pixel 4 XL (from £829). The handsets will go on sale on 24 October.

Both versions support wireless charging and include “adaptive all-day battery”, which uses machine learning to determine which apps are being used least frequently and cutting down power consumption of those when not in use.

Also announced at the special event was a new iteration of the Nest Mini (formerly the Google Home Mini), which has more powerful speakers with better bass than the previous generation.

It can also be integrated with other Nest powered speakers to create a surround sound system of sorts and you can use your voice to change which device music or podcasts are playing on as you move through the house.

Refreshes of Google’s Chrome OS-based laptops were also demonstrated. Dubbed the Pixelbook Go, the device features a textured bottom panel and a 13.3-inch touchscreen.

Following the Pixelbook, which debuted in 2017 with a starting price of $999 (£758), Google has slashed costs for the new generation by shifting to magnesium from aluminium for the laptop exterior and removing hinges and wiring that enabled the prior model to be used like a tablet.

The new model is priced at $649 (£510) which could help broaden the device’s appeal over the last generation, which sold poorly. Google said it has improved the design of components such as the trackpad to cut manufacturing mishaps and therefore costs.

Google also announced Pixel Buds, a set of wireless earbuds scheduled to launch in Spring 2020 in the US, priced at $179. The company said it “scanned thousands of ears to create a design that’s comfortable for as many people as possible.” The 'buds include hands-free access to Google Assistant.

The Google Stadia game-streaming platform received a launch date of 19 November this year, with initial availability in the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland.

The service will launch with a $129 Stadia Founder's Edition pack, which includes a Chromecast Ultra, limited-edition Night Blue controller and two three-month Stadia Pro subscriptions.

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