Google introduces new Pixel 5 smartphone, Chromecast, Nest speaker

Alphabet Inc.’s Google refreshed its product line Wednesday with new smartphones, a Chromecast laptop, and a new Nest speaker.

The company


 made the hardware announcements during a slickly-produced, 30-minute virtual news event.

Headlining the offering was the $699 Pixel 5, a 5G-compatible handset with 100% recycled aluminum body, 8GB of RAM, and reverse wireless charging. Also the $499 Pixel 4a with 5G built-in features an ultra-wide lens and software upgrades to HDR technology.

A redesigned $49 Chromecast device with remote that accepts voice commands comes with Google TV. The latter takes over for Android TV as a platform for consolidating streaming services and live TV options.

Nest Audio, a $99 smart speaker with a fabric exterior like the Nest Mini, rounded out the lineup. Google says it has 50% more bass and 75% more volume than the original Google Home, thanks to a new driver setup.

Google’s event, ahead of Apple Inc.’s

 anticipated iPhone 12 launch in October, follows a product blitz from Apple and Inc.

 in recent weeks. On Tuesday, Amazon introduced Amazon One, a contactless device that scans for payments, loyalty programs and more. In mid-September, Apple unfurled a new Apple Watch, iPads, and a bundled subscription service.

Earlier Wednesday, Facebook Inc.

 merged its Messenger and Instagram platforms, allowing members to send photos, videos, and chats between the two for the first time without having to download an app.

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