Google’s got at least two new Pixel smartphones coming this year. We’re pretty sure of that, thanks to roughly 7 billion leaks to date. But according to the folks at Android Police, Google also plans to launch at least two other pieces of hardware during the third quarter of 2017 (which means any day now).
The first is a smaller version of the Google Home smart speaker, which is probably designed to compete with the small, inexpensive Amazon Echo Dot.
The second is a new Chromebook Pixel (or Pixel 3, as it’s apparently being called at the moment).
At this point, that’s about all Android Police can confirm. But there’s reason to speculate a bit.
First up, the new Chromebook would be the third launched by Google. While Chromebooks have grown in popularity over the years, the vast majority have been low-cost devices offered by Google’s partners such as Acer, Asus, HP, and Lenovo.
The first and second-gen Chromebook Pixel laptops were the first laptops Google ever sold to the public, and they were premium devices with high-res displays, speedy processors, and more RAM than you’d expect to need on a device that usually runs on low-end hardware. But Google wanted to both show that Chrome OS wasn’t just for entry-level devices, and also basically create the forward-thinking device to show what the OS could do… much as the company has done with Android and Nexus an Pixel devices.
So the third Chromebook Pixel? It probably won’t be cheap… although it might be cheaper than the previous-gen models, which typically sold for $999 and up.
Android Police notes that Google was reportedly working on a convertible tablet-style laptop code-named Bison last year, but that it was supposed to have shipped with a new operating system called Andromeda that would have combined elements of Chrome OS and Android. Google has scrapped Andromeda, so it’s not clear if the company has repurposed the hardware to use for the new Chromebook, or if Google is using entirely different hardware.
As for the smaller, cheaper Google Home speaker? It’s probably not meant as a replacement for Google’s $129 smart speaker that works with Google Assistant. Instead, it may be positioned as a cheaper alternative (with inferior speakers… and maybe an audio out jack that lets you plug in your own speakers) that lets you use a Google Home in one part of the house and a series of mini speakers in other rooms.
That’s basically how Amazon positions its $50 Echo Dot anyway. It’s a cheaper alternative to the $180 Amazon Echo that has most of the same functionality, but an inferior speaker.
Just as Amazon created the smart speaker product category, the company seems to be leading with the segmentation of that market into premium and entry-level devices. And it looks like Google may be following Amazon’s lead.
You know, assuming these rumors are accurate. They might not be.