The 2 big app announcements at the 2018 #MadebyGoogle event

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Google unveiled a new series of devices at an event New York City Tuesday, including the widely reported next generation of the Pixel smartphone, as well as a smart home hub and a new tablet. But there were also some important software and app announcements bundled in. Google says the front-facing speakers, combined with the handsome display, is supposed to provide the best entertainment experience, and so the company is giving away 3 months of free YouTube TV with the Pixel Slate. The phones also come with new USB-C earbuds that can access Google Assistant and read your notifications aloud, and support wireless charging via a sold-separatley dock called Pixel Stand. This is so that if someone blinks, it doesn't ruin the picture, as you can still pick the "top" shot, hence the name.

But the company can promise the information you share with it will remain secret-at least between you and Google.

"The Pixel Slate's operating system is optimized for touch", Omri Amarilio, product manager of software at Google, said in a phone interview. Like the iPhone, the new Pixel screens are bigger, expanding to the edges, enabling it to be smaller with the same size screen, and the cameras are being continually improved. Both the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL have dual front-firing speakers and a second forward-facing camera for capturing group selfies.

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The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XLThe latest Pixel phone lineup.

A new mode called Night Sight illuminates low-light shots nearly as if you'd used a flash, motion auto-focus delivers what looks like super-responsive object tracking. It will also be available on Google's Project Fi network. And now it's directly built into the Pixel 3 camera. In celebration of the Marvel Cinematic Universe 10th anniversary, the Pixel includes lifelike, interactive AR stickers of heros like The Hulk and Iron Man. Many other phones already have similar hardware for security. These components had to go somewhere and Google must have felt they were worth the trade-off in design. Finally, at the front, Google has added a dual camera which allows you to squeeze more of your scene in - 184% more than the iPhone Xs according to Google.

Of course, you're here for the Pixel 3.

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Google initially showed off visual Google Assistant displays in January, but its thunder was stolen somewhat by Facebook which announced its Portal device one day ahead of the Google Home Hub.

Going forward, we're definitely going to see more Android phone makers offering different takes on gesture-based interfaces.

The other major product announced was Google Home Hub, a device that's something of a hybrid between a smart speaker and a tablet, which is created to sit at the center of what Google repeatedly called "the thoughtful home" (it avoided use of the word "smart"). Another grouse with the launch event was the lack of specifications for the Pixel slate and the Pixel phones. They will be sold in 11 other countries, including the United States, Australia and Singapore. Sad news for smart home fans and seekers of alternatives to Apple's own iPad Pro, but eh, we'll live.

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