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Top 5 hits and misses from #MadeByGoogle event

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Made by Google event

We’re not used to seeing so many hardware announcements from Google at once, which made the major event earlier today all the more special. It’s not going to be something we’ll fondly remember eight years from now (ahem, Google Senior VP), there were several needle-moving products unveiled. Let’s see which ones are hot, and which are not.

HIT: Google’s first real crack at smartphones

Google Pixel colored cases

This is a given. When you’re willing to kill off your signature device lineup, the replacement has to be worth the sacrifice. The Google Pixel and Pixel XL stand as the new role models for all things Android, and it’s not just because of the high-end specs.

Their real highlight is the introduction of Google Assistant, which is Google Now on steroids. By using advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning to understand your every move, the virtual companion is a lot more intuitive than Microsoft’s Cortana and Apple’s Siri.

Another highlighted feature is their shared camera. While it doesn’t stand out for its features — there’s only a single lens and no optical image stabilization — the shooter gets lots of praise for topping the highly respected DxOMark rankings for smartphone cameras.

There’s so much more to Google’s new Android flagships, so be sure to check out our full coverage and live blog for the complete scoop.

MISS: No Pixel tablet in sight

It was a bit of a long shot, but we were expecting an Android tablet to be announced alongside the Pixel phones. Rumors have stated that there’s going to be a Huawei-made slate in the works under Google’s guidance, yet not even a hint was made during the event.

Having a new Google-designed tablet to erase the memory of the overpriced Pixel C would be great. There’s a possible theory why the announcement was pushed to a later date; we’ll discuss that in the next miss.

HIT: Daydream View is the VR headset we’ve been waiting for

Google Pixel with Daydream View VR

With the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive already available and Sony’s PlayStation VR headset coming out soon, virtual reality in our homes is finally a thing. Sadly, it’s an expensive thing. And even though Samsung offers a cheaper alternative in the Gear VR, the exclusivity with top-shelf Galaxy handsets prevents mass sales. Daydream View will sort of change that.

Emphasis on sort of, because a smartphone has to be Daydream-compatible to work with Google’s stylish headset. As of now, only the Pixel handsets and a handful of other smartphones are ready for Daydream. It apparently takes a lot of guts to handle Google’s pumped-up Cardboard.

What makes this a hit for us is the design and price. Fork over $79 when it goes on sale in November, and you get the comfy-looking headset bundled with a motion-sensing controller that has a touchpad and two buttons. It’s a complete solution for anyone wanting to dive into mainstream VR without spending too much. Oh, and it works with eyeglasses on!

MISS: No Andromeda operating system yet

This one disappointed us the most. We were spoiled by the news from last week, only for it to fly over the event without even a squeak. We’re talking about Google’s rumored Andromeda operating system, which is expected to merge Android and Chrome OS.

Introducing a mobile system catered to convertible notebooks would definitely shake up the crappy battle for market dominance between Windows 10 and iOS. Neither of Microsoft or Apple’s operating systems truly fit into the convertible mold, and are better off in desktops and tablets, respectively.

By putting together an ecosystem based on Android and Chrome OS, Andromeda could eventually fill in the gaps for ever-evolving convertibles. Although fragmented, Android still does a decent job of working fluidly across thousands of varied smartphone and tablet hardware, and an open-source Andromeda could one day do the same for hybrid laptops.

The delay in announcing Andromeda probably explains why Google didn’t bother introducing a flagship tablet or convertible, as mentioned earlier. The Nexus 9 tablet is too old for showcasing a fresh OS, and the Pixel C is better left forgotten.

HIT: A collection of home products

Google Home, Google Wifi, Chromecast Ultra

Google isn’t just after your pockets (as in putting its Pixel phones in your pockets, not taking your money — but the latter makes sense, too), the search giant also wants to take over your home, and will do so with Google Home, Google Wifi, and Chromecast Ultra.

Google Home is the company’s answer to Amazon’s Echo, letting you communicate with your connected devices through voice commands. With it installed at the center of your place, you may control your music, make it stream movies for you, and even have it answer questions about everyday things. It’s good at knowing what you need, thanks to Google’s intelligently adaptive Assistant. It’ll cost only $129, and will ship beginning November 4.

Google Wifi does what you’d expect, but better. It’s a router that makes use of multiple access points to cover all the dead spots in a house or office. Everything still connects to one central internet host, and it’s smart enough to optimize your wireless connection depending on where you’re staying. It also has a price tag of $129, and will be available some time in November.

Finally, we have the Chromecast Ultra. If you’re familiar with previous Chromecast products, all you need to know is that the newest generation can now handle 4K streaming, HDR content, and Dolby Vision. Plus, it has an Ethernet port in case your Wi-Fi connection isn’t good enough. For those unfamiliar with Chromecast, it’s a little round device you can plug into your television to watch online content. It’ll retail for $69, and will come out in November, just in time for Google Play Movies’ 4K streaming debut.

[irp posts=”8314" name=”5 Reasons why I love Google Home”]

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YouTube Music and YouTube Premium now available in PH

Offers a personalized music experience

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YouTube officially introduces its new music streaming app in the Philippines — YouTube Music.

In a nutshell, it is a reimagined, made-for-music app and web player that has official songs, albums, thousands of playlists, and artist radio plus YouTube’s catalog of remixes, live performances, covers, and music videos.

While all this is available for free in the ad-supported version of YouTube Music, a paid service called YouTube Music Premium is also available. This allows you to play songs and videos in the background while you toggle between apps, write a text message, or lock your phone during a run.

YouTube Music Premium also offers offline downloads and an ad-free experience starting at PhP 129 per month.

According to the company, YouTube Music not only has official songs, albums, and live performances, but it also has those hard-to-find music that one can only find on YouTube.

Another thing that makes it stand out is the ability to look for certain songs just by typing in parts of the lyrics. It’s useful for those times that you don’t know the title and know only a short part of its chorus.

The app also allows you to switch between music videos and songs with just a tap. YouTube Premium and YouTube Music Premium subscribers can enjoy a seamless transition between a song and its music video seamlessly.

It’s also noteworthy that subscribers of Google Play Music will get YouTube Music Premium membership as part of their subscription each month with no changes to the existing subscription.

Additionally, users may also opt for YouTube Premium which already includes membership to YouTube Music Premium for PhP 159 per month.

If you want to save more on subscriptions, you may sign up for a YouTube Family Plan where you can share a paid subscription with up to five other family members living in the same household for PhP 199 per month.

For additional info and complete rates, you may visit their website.

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Facebook Pay will let you send money instantly

Will also be available on Instagram and WhatsApp

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Facebook unveiled its next-generation cryptocurrency Libra early this year. However, the service has received a lukewarm response due to Facebook’s spotty privacy record. Governments and regulators are worried the social network hasn’t done enough to instill confidence after the Cambridge Analytical scandal.

While the giant is trying to find a smooth path for Libra, it’s also ensuring that now-trending opportunities aren’t missed out. With the launch of Facebook Pay, the social network will seamlessly let you transfer money to your friends and acquaintances.

The system supports all major credit as well as debit cards but is being launched in the U.S. only at the moment. We expect availability in other regions following compliance with local laws.

Facebook already lets users send money through the Messenger app. But with Facebook Pay, users will be able to send money via other Facebook apps. To start, it’s rolling out on the core Facebook and Messenger apps, but will be added to Instagram and WhatsApp in the future.

The company has more than a billion active users worldwide. Thanks to a centralized service, it can leverage users from all the various apps it owns. Venmo is currently leading the micro-transactions segment and only time will tell whether Facebook has been able to retain users.

The users can add a PIN or use device biometrics, such as touch or Face ID recognition, for an extra layer of security when sending money or making a payment.

In India, Facebook-owned WhatsApp has been trying to launch WhatsApp Pay, a similar peer-to-peer service. Unfortunately, India’s data localization laws and additional compliances have delayed the release by more than a year.

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Huawei Mobile Cloud will have free storage for some users

5GB free for users in APAC

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In an attempt to get more people to use Huawei Mobile Services (HMS), Huawei is offering a treat for users in Asia Pacific.

Some time in the middle of November, HMS users located in the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand will be the first in the region to enjoy free 5GB storage of Huawei Mobile Cloud. You’ll just need to login using a Huawei ID.

In addition, Huawei and Honor users can enjoy one month of 50GB Mobile Cloud storage at a massive discounted price from today until December 31, 2019.

Countries Original Price per month Discounted
Philippines PhP 49.00 PhP 1.00
Singapore SG$ 1.28 SG$ 0.10
Thailand THB 35.00 THB 1.00
Malaysia MYR 3.90 MYR 0.10

Exclusive deals for Huawei Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro users

Those who already own or who plan to own Huawei’s latest smartphones — the Huawei Mate 30 and Mate 30 pro are entitled to three months of free 50GB Huawei Mobile Cloud storage along with two years warranty and free screen replacement from Huawei HiCare.

They’re also incentivizing users who will download the Huawei Member Center app from the AppGallery. Users from the mentioned countries can redeem free Huawei Points and Lazada shopping vouchers available on the app. This will be available by the end of November 2019.

Countries Huawei Points Lazada Vouchers Trip.com Vouchers
Philippines PhP 1200 PhP 500 N/A
Singapore SG$ 30 SG$ 12 Up to SG$ 20 off
Thailand THB 850 THB 300 Up to THB 250 off
Malaysia MYR 100 MYR 40 Up to MYR 30 off

SEE ALSO: Huawei is building an ecosystem of connected devices

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