Google may unveil its new phone at Oct. 4 event

A newly posted video shows the familiar search bar morphing into the shape of a phone.

Steven Musil Night Editor / News
Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
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Steven Musil
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2 min read
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Google said late Monday it will hold a media event in San Francisco next month, at which it is expected to unveil its new flagship phone.

The October 4 event was announced in a YouTube video that shows the web giant's familiar horizontal search bar slowly morphing into the outline of a vertical, phonelike rectangle to the sounds of Redbone's "Come and Get Your Love." The video doesn't reveal a name for the expected device but does close with the company's G logo flanking one side of the phone outline.

It has long been rumored that Google would make its own house-branded phone by the end of 2016, and the company has been widely expected to host an event in October that would focus on several hardware announcements, including a new phone and a 4K Chromecast. The invitations arrive a little more than two weeks after Google confirmed it had suspended plans for its Project Ara, an ambitious attempt to build a phone that lets you swap out parts like Lego blocks.

The phones are expected to be called the Pixel and Pixel XL, according to a report by Android Police. The Pixel phone, the smaller of the two, could start at $649, the website said. Google rebranding the phones with the Pixel name would mean a departure from the company's Nexus moniker, which it has used since 2008.

The tech giant is also expected to give more details about Google Home, a new smart speaker that will compete with Amazon Echo as an always-listening virtual assistant, and to reveal its design for its Daydream VR, a hardware and software platform to help any Android phone manufacturer create its own VR headset.

Google's new hardware may get top billing at the event, but -- perhaps more importantly to Google -- the company is looking to highlight its new software, the Google "assistant." The software is powered by artificial intelligence, and the idea is for the software to learn about you and your behavior so it can provide answers catering specifically to you. Google unveiled the assistant at its I/O developer conference in May. CEO Sundar Pichai told CNET at the time that the software is the future of Google.

The rumored phone, Google Home, and Allo, a new messaging app that Google also showed off at I/O, will be the first products injected with Google's assistant.

A Google spokeswoman said to expect something exciting at the 9 a.m. PT event, which will be livestreamed, but declined to comment further.

First published September 19 at 5:59 p.m. PT.
Update, September 20 at 10:20 a.m. PT: Added background on Google's devices and services.