Have we reached peak smartphone? The Pixel maybe just tipped the scales, and it did so right at the moment we’re getting ready to move on to something else. With so many voice-controlled, non-smartphone devices in our homes, it sure feels like we’re at a flux point. Also, the Google Assistant, which lives in the Pixel, is so so powerful, and we’re headed for more of that. Michael and David (who is back from Bogota) discuss the changes in the personal tech landscape.
Some notes: David’s review of the Google Pixel. A gallery of the full-size images he shot with the phone in Colombia. Tim Moynihan’s story about the Pixel’s advanced camera technology. David’s recommendation this week is Textra, the best default messaging app for Android. Michael’s recommendation is Bob Dylan’s Planet Waves.
With the release of PSVR and the impending launch of Google’s new phone-based VR platform, virtual reality has hit a new high water mark. We bring in an expert, WIRED’s own Peter Rubin, to chart all of it. Peter manages WIRED’s culture and entertainment coverage and co-hosts The Monitor, our culture podcast. Peter is also well-steeped in face computers: he’s written stellar stories about Oculus and he’s been testing and ranking each new VR system as it’s released. With David out this week, Michael and Peter talk about PSVR, Google Daydream View, and the future of “untethered” real-deal VR.
Some notes: Read Peter’s review of the Sony PlayStation VR headset and his report from last week’s Oculus Connect. Also, Chris Kohler writes about rhythm games and short-play games in VR. David Pierce has the details on Google’s phone-based Daydream View. Recommendations this week: People Just Do Nothing on Netflix and the Talkhouse podcasts.
The tech giant finally made good on its promise to get serious about hardware. This week saw the debut of two new Pixel phones (the first ever phones from Google), plus the retail release of Google Home and the Daydream View phone-based VR headset. The Pixel phones are exciting—not only because of their premium design, but also because they include the new Google Assistant, a more advanced version of Google Now that helps you communicate, make plans, and run your life more efficiently. But, maybe it doesn’t work super-great just yet.
Some notes: Watch Google’s presentation from Tuesday, and read our roundup of everything that was announced. Read Brian Barrett’s story on Pixel’s place in the Android world. Margaret Rhodes on Google’s “Trojan Horse” plan for AI. This week, David recommends Keep, and Michael recommends the now-dirt-cheap Nexus 5X.
This week, television. What we watch, what we watch it on, and what we do while we watch it. Not only is the technology of TV changing, but the content is morphing in a way that alters what we think of as “television.” Is a YouTube video TV? Sure, right. What about a Snapchat story, or a local city council meeting on Twitter? Yes—why not. The hosts discuss these changes in light of YouTube’s new app, Twitter’s new strategy, Snap’s new hardware, and Roku’s new future-proofed players.
Some notes: David Pierce’s story on YouTube Go. The video from Vox about “the package” in Cuba. Brian Barrett on Snap Specs, and the WSJ feature that dropped suddenly. David also wrote about football on Twitter. Tim Moynihan’s rundown of the new boxes from Roku. David on Alto, the new email app from AOL. Easy, on Netflix.