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Google's most exciting new gadget is neither phone nor tablet

Boy, oh boy, it has been a busy week for Google.

Big G launched a series of brand spankin new models for both its flagship product lines this Tuesday: Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL on the phone side and then Pixel Slate at the Chrome OS end of the equation. A new home office command center has also made its debut, and an up-to-date Chromecast casts itself into the image.

All of this is certainly good – hey, some of it can even guarantee a good old-fashioned wallet training session – but you know what? None of it is special exciting .

I do not mean that in a bad way either; It is only the nature of mobile tech hardware these days. The Pixel phones deal more about software than anything, and these new devices are mostly incremental updates to keep the hardware fresh. Pixel Slate is really just an alternate version of Pixelbook ̵

1; with a removable keyboard instead of a swivel hinge (and everything that Google turns into Chrome OS into an Android-like tablet platform, it's certainly something, but there's also nothing new for those of us who have been aware).

What about the home button? Well, it's only Google's own self-made and minimally different version of Smart Displays announced earlier this year, and already released by other manufacturers. And Chromecast – well, to be honest, I do not think someone knows what makes this new model meaningful different from the last, except some subtle visual tweaks that you will never see when things are tucked behind Your TV.

These are all expected and necessary advances, in other words – and products that many people will no doubt enjoy – but they are not really transformational or awe-inspiring in any way. Only one device from this week's event fits the bill, and it is a device you would be forgiven to forget.

I'm talking about Google's Wireless Pixel Stand Charger – a $ 79 accessory that's easy to write as an independent money slot. Who cares about accessories, after all? They are usually the side show and worth a little more than an overview.

Pixel mode, however, is not your average accessory. And much is more significant than it looks on the surface.

Sound, mad? May be. But let me explain.

Unclear lines

Pixel mode is not just a place to put the phone for charging. Certainly, it gives your phone power – but the actual purpose is slightly bigger.

When placing a Pixel 3 on a Pixel Stand, the phone effectively transforms into a desktop interface for interaction with Google Assistant – not just from an oral command perspective, but also in a visual and touch-centric model. When a phone comes into contact with Pixel Stand, you will see that the device automatically starts in a special, new, custom assistant mode.

  Google Pixel Stand Google

And it's really designed to be an optimal Assistant interface for any environment: A phone at Pixel Stand can show you contextual information based on time of day – maybe To provide a visual overview of your calendar along with weather and personal traffic information in the morning and then serve up shortcuts for recipes and alarm settings later in the day. It can display images from your Google Photos gallery and even display smart home data – streaming from a Nest video doorbell, for example – when relevant.