On Wednesday, Google's annual September hardware event, the company unveiled its latest phone Pixel 5. Changes you can expect: Some additional new features and hardware tweaks that improved last year's device, but amounted to a replay update.
What stood out more than the Pixel hardware were software changes that helped the device in meaningful new ways that you would actually notice. Point in Case: An update to Google Assistant called "Hold for Me". When you call a business and go on hold, the feature allows you to turn on an option in Google Assistant that will sit in line for you to listen to hold music - captioning any vocal information - So that you can do something else. When it is your turn, you will be notified to take it again. (When they finally respond, the assistant will ask the person in the line to catch you.)
Hold For Me seems really useful: I stopped calling my bank and internet company all the time because I know I would be stuck in a queue for at least 30 minutes. During Kovid-19, which has put pressure on the support department of almost every company, I waited about two hours to talk to an airline representative. Such a facility would wait for 30 minutes, let alone two hours, a non-event.
Siri seems more like a toy than Google Assistant.
This is really necessary to overcome immense challenges: Every company's hold music is different, often influenced by pre-recorded messages, which can take a piece of software, but assistants differentiate between them. Is able to detect, only when the human finally chooses. UP This feature runs locally on your device, so you don't even need an internet connection - perhaps useful if international travel becomes a thing again.
Hold for Me produced another feature called Call Screen for the first time in 2018, which allows pixel owners to make assistant answer incoming phone calls and give them captions in real time on the phone screen, so you decide Call the voicemail whether to actually reply or not.
Another feature, the recorder, allows you to record speech and transfer it to high-quality text in real time, without the need for an Internet connection. An update to the software announced with Pixel 5 gives users the ability to grab a chunk of text and instantly share a clip of the exact audio where the words were uttered.
As smart as this is, AI-based software has been a part of Google's strategy for the last few iterations of its Pixel devices: the company performs incredibly complex tasks such as real-time audio processing during phone calls and makes them look like That they're out of the way for trivial software to help you shit, so you don't have to think about it.
These are the smart ones that keep me coming back to Pixel every year. Sometimes, I am tempted by a shiny new iPhone or Apple Watch - especially because developers first release interesting new apps for iOS. But features like call screen and hold for me are no match elsewhere. Siri seems more like a toy than Google Assistant.
Google first noticed Apple when it introduced Pixel's A.I.-powered camera technology a few years ago, and was doing the same again with Assistant. It's lovely that Siri has "20x more facts" with iOS 14 this year, but it's not useful for these two digital assistants.
What became clear this year is how valuable these smart features are. They give you a meaningful amount of time, or make any non-event annoying. No one in the industry seems to be able to keep up.
The Pixel event revealed that this is a strategy, and that Google is stepping back from premium phones that will compete directly with high-end iPhones (the Pixel 5 starts at $ 699, which is lower-end rather than the Pro Competes with the iPhone 11. version). Because Google knows that it cannot compete on the high end of the market, but it cannot compete with Apple using software tricks, creating phones for everyone else.
It's a smart drama because it gets harder to persuade people to upgrade their phones every year: key features like the Google call screen (which sold me three years ago) can woo the curious and give them enough software Can be tilted by providing correction. Free for me, without the need to buy a new phone.
Google may not win the smartphone market overnight, but I don't think it matters: it's a long game. Potential Pixel customers can get a taste of what makes a smart speaker or something useful on their TV, then discovers that it can do more on the phone, such as answering calls.