Google Debuts New Hardware, Including Smartphone and VR Headset, With AI at the Core

'Evolving from a mobile-first to an AI-first world'

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Google just unveiled a Silicon Valley armada of products under one unifying flag: artificial intelligence.

The tech giant today unveiled a number of new devices including the first Google-branded smartphone, a virtual-reality headset, a voice-activated home assistant, a Wi-Fi router and an updated version of Chromecast. The goal: to put AI software in every device a person owns.

In the opening remarks of his keynote presentation, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the company's goal is to create "a two-way conversation, a natural dialogue" between Google and its users. He said the scale of mobile technology and the complexity of artificial intelligence make now the right time for the company to start making its own hardware.

"We are evolving from a mobile-first to an AI-first world," Pichai said.

Here's a look at the ads for a few of the new products Google announced today:

Google Pixel

The launch of Google's Pixel smartphone came as no surprise to anyone who's been following rumors on blogs or accidental unveilings on partner websites. However, the company's iPhone 7 competitor is finally official. Pixel—which will be available in both 5-inch and 5.5-inch models—will come equipped with the Google Assistant AI software, which the company says will help further the goal of creating "a personal Google" for each user. Pixel is also the first to be equipped with Google's Daydream virtual-reality software, which Google first teased out earlier this year at its I/O conference.

Google View

Google's not the first company to come out with a VR headset. However, the $79 headset—fittingly called View—combines the price point and portability of Samsung's Gear VR with the interactivity of more expensive PC-tethered systems like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.

The View headset, which will be available in November, is made of clothinglike fabric instead of cold plastic to give it a more "soft and cozy" feel. It also has a remote, which lets users interact with content in a way not currently possible with Google Cardboard or Gear VR. The device is also launching with a wide array of content offerings. Daydream will have as many as 50 third-party VR partnerships by the end of the year including content from Hulu, HBO and The New York Times. (There's even a Harry Potter game thanks to a partnership with Warner Bros. that will make everyone's wizarding dreams come true.) Google is also integrating plenty of its software such as YouTube and Street View via Maps.

Google Home

Google Home, Google's voice-activated assistant that ships on Nov. 4, will likely benefit from Amazon Echo's success at making home assistants relatable and useful. (Amazon has sold more than 3 million Echo devices since they launched in late 2014.)

Home—which will cost $129, slightly cheaper than Echo—will integrate with the rest of Google's AI-powered devices and allow users to play music, control lights, provide a daily to-do list, voice-operate a TV equipped with Chromecast and do plenty of other tasks.

@martyswant Marty Swant is a former technology staff writer for Adweek.