This week at their Oct. 4th event, Google unveiled a slew of new hardware that were "Made by Google". It was a pretty big event for Google, as they effectively dropped the Nexus brand and jump started the Pixel brand with two new smartphones. Of course, smartphones weren't the only thing that Google had to announce at this event this week. The company also announced (again) Google Home, Google WiFi, Chromecast Ultra and the Daydream View. All of which are made by Google, and it's a much different experience than what we used to have from Google. Before this, many of their hardware products were made by partners. The OnHub was made by TP-Link or ASUS, the Nexus was made by LG and Huawei (last year), and so on. Now that Google is legitimately making hardware (which that is an argument itself), how does this change the industry?
For one, it puts Google in competition with their own partners. Even though they are targeting the iPhone with their new Pixel smartphones, it's quite clear that they are also in direct competition with the likes of Samsung, Lenovo/Moto, LG, HTC and others. But competition is good, of course, Google may have an unfair advantage since they are the ones making the software that these other manufacturers use. But the Pixel phones do have a different version of Android, one that is actually skinned, just a tiny bit. Similar to their competitors. It's unclear how this will workout in the future though.
But the bigger way that Google has affected the industry with their announcements this week is artificial intelligence or AI. Google has put artificial intelligence, in the form of Google Assistant, in most of these new products. And as it was reported this week, the Google Assistant won't be part of Android 7.1 when that hits other Android devices. Which means it's sticking to the Pixel smartphones. This means that it'll be on hardware that Google controls from end-to-end. Unlike the Galaxy S7 or the Moto Z, where Samsung and Lenovo, respectively, control the software, and hardware. The Google Assistant is part of Google Home, Pixel and Pixel XL. It'll likely be coming to more products in the future though. Google has been spending a lot of time and resources in Google Assistant and Artificial Intelligence as a whole, and it's clear that they believe that is indeed the future.
Now these announcements don't just affect Apple, Samsung, LG, HTC, Lenovo and their other Android partners. It also affects, Amazon, Facebook and even Microsoft. Amazon and Microsoft both are heavily involved in the AI race right now, with Alexa and Cortana. One could argue that Facebook is as well, with their bots that are part of their Messenger platform, but they aren't as good as either Cortana or Alexa. Facebook is affected more by Google's presence in virtual reality. Facebook owns Oculus, which is one of the more popular virtual reality companies right now, and even makes the Gear VR for Samsung. With the new Daydream View, Google has a virtual reality viewer that is a bit better than Cardboard, and possibly even Gear VR, but it still runs off of your smartphone. So it's not actually competing with the Oculus Rift just yet, but it's getting there, and that should definitely frighten Facebook and Oculus.
Google's announcements didn't actually turn the tech world upside down, but it did definitely change a lot of things for the industry. Google became a stiffer competitor for many companies, and even a new competitor for some others. Of course, the company that this is going to hurt the most is Samsung. Especially after the issues they are having with the Galaxy Note 7 in the past few weeks. Google is now competing with them, and this might be because the search giant had become to reliant on Samsung getting their OS out and into the masses. Something that was rumored a few years ago when Samsung really started jumping into working on Tizen, which many thought may replace Android for the company, but at this point it still hasn't. There's lots of good coming out of Google with their latest products, and bringing more competition is always a good thing, as it drives more innovation and also drives down the prices of a number of products. And that's something that is a win/win for consumers buying these products and using them daily.