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Google's home hub hits Apple in its new blind spot: Affordable tablets

Google's $ Hub Home Cinema $ 149, introduced chaotically with Pixel 3 phones, Pixel Slate tablets and Pixel Stand accessories, seemed a little out of place at the launch event in October. Strange name aside, the latest Google smart display – a tablet designed to be left in one place – came months after similar alternatives from JBL and Lenovo, but included a smaller 7-inch screen and lacked a front camera. 19659002] My colleague Khari Johnson quickly spun home hub's biggest pros and cons in separate articles when he saw what an Amazon Echo Show and Facebook Portal are challenging on price but concluded in a subsequent review that it was a slightly confusing alternative to the previously mentioned JBL and Lenovo smart displays on features. At a time when rivals offered larger screenshots, better audio and video calls, what was Google's angle?

After spending some time with the home button, I'm convinced that Google knew exactly what it did when designing this device ̵

1; The challenge was to explain and market it. In meeting questions about "missing" cameras, Google representatives said they were deliberately omitted to make the users comfortable using the Home Hub on the nightstand in the bedroom. Some people did not buy that explanation, and thought that Google was trying to save a few dollars on camera parts, but that makes sense.

Where I stand is Home Hub Google's response to Amazon's Alexa-Equipped Echo Spot Clock, and essentially intended to relocate tablets (like iPads) from their places in bedrooms and other traditional locations for clocks. To a greater extent, it's Google's way to give your many paid and free services a permanent place where you sleep or work without following Amazon's fire tablets right to the bottom of the consumer electronics price range.

Ever since the iPad 2012 release, Apple has completely ignored calls to lower iPad prices below the 7.9-inch browser's $ 329 MSRP. It has offered small educational discounts to bring some iPads down to $ 299, never allowing tablets to fall to $ 199 or under- $ 99 price points favored by competitors. Today, the smallest expensive (and more years old) iPad mini explains unpredictable for $ 399, and the latest models are the pricyest Apple ever released.

So it's not surprising that iPad sales have stagnated, and the skin is one of Apple's most promising bars of growth. This explains in part why the company will no longer inform about the sale of iPad devices every quarter, instead focusing on the total revenue it generates – a number it's trying to go with this year's even more expensive iPad Pro models.

[19659002] Apple's prices have created an umbrella for competitors like Amazon to dominate the small tablet market with more options in the $ 50 to $ 150 range. Amazon has cast fire tablets as ideal for Kindle book reading, video usage and mobile games, and focuses heavily (but not exclusively) on children. Now, the Google Home Hub uses a convenient way for adults to access their many services.

Most of the time, the Home Hub will sit in one place – your nightstand or desktop – and look like an alarm clock, a frame frame, or a combination of these two concepts. In clean alarm clock mode, you can choose between pure digital or hybrid digital and analog faces, including alternatives optimized for dark or bright spaces.

Google spent a lot of time doing its time and display software suitable for bedtime use and varied lighting conditions. Thanks to a well-calibrated light sensor, the Home Hub automatically adjusts the screen color and brightness to fit perfectly with room conditions. In addition, it has a completely separate clock face that falls back at night, with numbers dimmed perfectly to match the brightness and color of the front frame. I have been impressed by the thoughtfulness and quality of Google's watchmaking work.

Say what you want about the physical size of the 7-inch screen – it's a clear winner over the much less echo spot for the award, and backed by good software and services. Used as a photo frame, Home Hub can automatically capture photos from Google Photos, a collection of Google and Getty images, Facebook albums, or Flickr galleries, and the images look constant.

It is worth noting that Apple sent the original iPad with a relatively limited photo frame option, but pulled the feature years later from iOS. The likely reason was that iPad users did not just put their 499 tablets down in one place and let them be there to display pictures. But being reliable available where you left it, it's a big part of Home Hub's appeal.

The second part is that it is optimized to handle the different things you may want from a bed or desk assistant and the ways you would communicate with such a device. Everything can be controlled by saying "Hello Google" to induce extremely talented Google Assistant. But if you prefer to touch and sweep, you do not have to sneak with small touches on the screen, you can miss an errant movement, unlike iPads. Home Hub displays options in map-like boxes, and automatically transfers interesting and often-desired features in quite a few buttons.

You can also enjoy many of the same entertainment features found on Alexa-equipped Echo devices, albeit with Google's services. YouTube is there, as it is YouTube Music, plus links to Google News, Reuters video news summary, and even a collection of jokes. Google's own content is PG-rated by default, and the parent's settings allow adults to express explicit music and child-friendly YouTube videos.

Last year's high season, I explained that Amazon had found out how to bring Alexa into this Apple-focused user's life with Echo Spot. Especially at its $ 99 Black Friday price, Google's home theater has the potential to do the same for Google Assistant.

Until now, I do not think I needed another AI-equipped device in my home, and I certainly did not need another "smart speaker". But with the right price, a great display and interesting features, Google has found a way to bring its services into more rooms in my house. I suspect that many other people will also succeed.

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