Google managed to capitalize on Apple and Samsung's weak performance this year. While Samsung's attempt at smartphone dominance literally blew up on its face and Apple was mediocre at its best this year, Google managed to successfully enter the lucrative hardware market by coming up with a slew of premium hardware products.
Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL
After six years of working with different phone manufacturers to produce Android phones under the Nexus brand, Google finally launched its own line of smartphones under Pixel. The Nexus replacement is a beast of a phone, and aims to showcase the best of what Google and Android has to offer.
It comes equipped with top-of-the-line hardware, sleek design, bright HD display, and great camera. If you are disappointed with Samsung's exploding phones and Apple's mediocrity, the Google Pixel will serve as a breath of fresh air.
You can now transform your Android phone into a virtual fantasyland with the help of the Daydream VR headset. Enjoy 360 degree games, movies, and panoramic photos simply by fastening your phone into the device. Unlike the control buttons located on the Samsung Gear VR handset, the Daydream comes with a separate controller that you can use to wield and navigate your way into a game.
At $79, the Daydream is also more affordable than its main competitors, and is covered in soft material, making it more convenient to wear.
If you want to ask help from Google without having to type on a keyboard or tap on a mobile screen, Google Home is your answer. Google Home is a voice-controlled speaker that allows you to use Google' services, even if you aren't with in front of a computer or a phone.
It can answer questions, wake you up in the morning, control the thermostat, and do a lot of other tricks. This device looks a lot like Amazon's Alexa, Apple's Siri, and Microsoft's Cortana.
It currently works with a limited number of smart home devices such as Philips Hue bulbs and Nest, as well as IFTTT recipes.
If you want to stream 4K HDR video to your UHD TV, there is no better option than the Chromecast Ultra. It offers fast and powerful streaming in a nifty device. It also comes with an attached ethernet port built into the power adapter, allowing videos to load and play faster.
With a plethora of hardware products launched in 2016, Google is definitely no longer just a software company. This was a great year for Google all in all, considering its successful entry in the hardware industry.