With all the glitz of Google's October event last week focusing on the new Pixel 2 phone, it was easy to miss two other announcements: a new miniature Google Home speaker called the Home Mini (and a big one called the Max), and a pair of Bluetooth earphones called the Pixel Buds that pack in some Google Assistant AI smarts. If you're wondering when they're coming to Australia and how much they'll cost, this is where you find out.
The Google Home Mini, just like the name implies, is a smaller version of the Google Home smart speaker -- instead of a vaguely cylindrical candle shape, it's a flatter hockey puck. In all honesty, for me, it isn't the sound quality of the Google Home that attracts me to it, but its smarts. Having that smart voice recognition in a smaller, cheaper speaker is a good thing -- because I can put them in more rooms of my house.
The new Home Mini speaker will be available in all three Chalk, Charcoal and Coral colourways (the case is nonremovable) for $79 in Australia, with shipping starting in 2-3 weeks. That late October date is not far off Google's own suggestion of October 19 on-sale in the US. There was also a big Google Home Max announced at the Thursday event, but that's destined only for the US for now.
The new Pixel Buds are the first headphones that Google has made, and they distinguish themselves with deep integration to the Google Assistant -- tap and hold the right earbud to launch the Assistant. Google's talking that up particularly for its voice translation capabilities -- you can ask the Buds to help you speak Japanese, for example, and any words you speak while you're wearing the earbuds will be projected from your smartphone's speaker in the translated language of your choice. Really cool, huh?
Available in Just Black, Clearly White and Kinda Blue to match the new Pixel 2 smartphones, the Pixel Buds will set you back $249 in Australia -- about the going price for any truly wireless earbuds, to be fair. At the moment the Pixel Buds are only available to those that join a waitlist on Google's device store website, with sales expected to start in November.