Google unveils new Pixel 2 phones along with Mini and Max Home hubs

Home is where the Google is

It was Google’s turn to show off some new gear today. Where to start? How about Google Home, which just went from one choice to three. There’s the new Mini model, for you minimalists, as well as the new Google Home Max, a much beefier, less-round version with stereo sound. Naturally, you can call on Google Assistant using each of the models.

Next up is the Google PixelBook, a laptop-tablet combo PC with a 360-degree hinge, a 12.3-inch Quad-HD touchscreen, Intel Core i5 and i7 processors and Google Assistant built right in. There’s also a pressure-sensitive stylus in the mix.

Then it was time for the new phones, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. As expected, the phones go minimal on the bezels and maximum on the screen sizes. The phones will also ship with Android Oreo, their latest OS. Both phones have single-lens cameras.

The new Pixels will also have “always on display” technology, so it looks like Google and its phone-making partners have figured out how to keep the data showing and flowing without killing the battery in short order.

Also on display at the show was Google Lens, an augmented reality system that looks like it will take on Apple’s recent push into the AR space, but with a twist. Google Lens will also work to identify items in the photo using machine learning technology.

There’s a lot more to talk about and we have full coverage of Google’s big event.

A wide view of VR

Speaking of augmented Reality gear, Samsung has pulled a fast one on Google and has announced the HMD Odyssey headset, a “mixed reality” device that runs on Microsoft’s burgeoning Windows Mixed Reality platform, which will support AR and VR technologies.

Price is a lofty $500, but you get quite a bit of kit in the deal: the headset boasts dual 3.5-inch AMOLED display panels running at 1,440 by 1,600 pixels each, for a wide 110-degree field of view. Sound comes courtesy of a pair of spatial-audio-capable AKG headphone pods and the system also includes Microsoft’s Motion Controller handsets. There’s a built-in microphone as well.

Looks pretty trick, and you can pre-order yours today, with units set to ship early next month.

Drones clear the way forward

How will wars be fought in the future? If you think drones will be involved, you’re probably right, but to what extent, and what will they look like?

UK defense and aerospace specialist BAE Systems has been working with students at Cranfield University near London to design futuristic ,military unmanned aerial vehicles that can change from fixed-wing flight – like a plane – to rotary-wing flight, which is how most drones fly these days. But of course, these future fliers are a bit different, and the “rotary” part of the flying involves rotating the whole drone, not just the propellers.

BAE sees the spinning drones as a pre-attack countermeasure that will fly in and take out anti-aircraft weapons ahead of a flight of actual manned aircraft, if they still exist in the future at all. Then the drones fly back and land on spindles either on land, ships or even submarines.

It’s all conceptual pixels and big ideas for now, but that’s how stuff like this gets started, so keep your eyes on the skies for crazy spinning drones and check out the full video.

We’ve got more news on our Facebook page and YouTube channel, and be sure to tune in to this week’s DT podcasts: Close to the Metal (computers and such) on Tuesday, Trends with Benefits (general tech shenanigans)  on Thursdays, and Between the Streams (movie and TV topics) every Friday.

Emerging Tech

Thrill-seekers will be able to pilot themselves in a giant drone as soon as 2019

Want to hitch a ride on a giant drone? The startup Lift Aircraft is gearing up to let paying customers fly its 18-rotor giant drones over assorted scenic landscapes across the U.S.
Virtual Reality

Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive: Prices drop, but our favorite stays the same

The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are the two big names in the virtual reality arena, but most people can only afford one. Our comparison tells you which is best when you pit the Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive.
Smart Home

Facebook Portal and Portal+ video-calling devices gain new content and features

Facebook's Portal devices are video smart speakers with Alexa voice assistants built in that allow you to make calls. The 15-inch Portal+ model features a pivoting camera that follows you around the room as you speak.

The best smartphone stocking stuffers for a very techy Christmas

If you've got a tech-loving smartphone enthusiast to buy for, we can help you out. Here's a selection of top phone accessories that would make amazing stocking stuffers so you can have a very Merry Christmas.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Self-driving cars, ocean exploration, and holiday shopping

Today on Digital Trends Live, we discussed the first self-driving car service in Phoenix, an expedition heading to the bottom of the world's oceans, and talked to Liz Dunn from Pro4ma about holiday shopping trends.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Alexa updates, Uber’s self-driving cars, and more

On this episode of Digital Trends Live, Senior Editor Caleb Denison discussed the best streaming devices and we welcomed Danny Pyell and Felia Mano, the Nintendo Power Couple, and Kelly Dachtler from OBVS to the show.
Digital Trends Live

CEO of shoe startup OB/VS talks about exploration-focused footwear

Today we had the founder of OB/VS Kelly Dachtler to talk about why he wanted to start a footwear company, what makes the shoes his firm manufactures unique, and what future products are in store.
Digital Trends Live

HouseSpecial animation team brings DT’s Holiday Gift Guide to life with miniatures

Digital Trends partnered with animation company HouseSpecial to create this year's Holiday Gift Guide. We sat down with art director Gee Staughton to discuss how HouseSpecial brought life to the project.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: The Game Awards recap, smart home hackers, and more

On episode 32 of Digital Trends Live, DT's live morning show, hosts Greg Nibler and Jeremy Kaplan broke down the news of the day, including a recap of The Game Awards, a smart home hacking, and more.
Digital Trends Live

Jobbatical’s Lauren Proctor discusses the future of jobs for tech experts

Today on Digital Trends Live we had Jobbatical's Lauren Proctor to talk about the future trends for finding tech jobs abroad, including a Digital Nomad Visa, which allows tech experts to travel from country to country much easier.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Amazon Go expansions, the robocall onslaught, more

On this episode of Digital Trends' live morning show, Digital Trends Live, hosts Greg Nibler and Jeremy Kaplan explored the news of the day, including Amazon Go's potential expansion, the robocall onslaught, and more.
Digital Trends Live

Twitch streamer Fuslie gives a glimpse of her life and future plans

Today, we welcomed Twitch streamer Fuslie to talk about how her career goals shifted from becoming a veterinarian to a full-time streamer. Also, she shared what her future plans are for streaming and created content.
Digital Trends Live

Cryptocurrency investor Ian Balina sees a comeback for cryptocurrency in 2019

We chatted with crypto investor Ian Balina on what the future is for cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin. He also gave us three things to look for when we are investing our own money.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: S10 rumors, computer shoes, and the best products of 2018

On episode 35 of Digital Trends Live, hosts Greg Nibler and Nick Mokey discuss the revival of Puma's computer shoe, the possibility of a Tesla Truck, and DT's favorite products of the year.