Google has unveiled the new ‘Made by Google’ smartphone line up dubbed ‘Pixel’ at its annual autumn event in San Francisco. Introducing the new Pixel line up, Google has put the Nexus brand to rest, making a shift towards the premium phone segment, competing with the iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy flagship smartphones.
Google Pixel and the Pixel XL are the first smartphones that bear the Google name. The smartphones come with Google’s voice-controlled artificial assistant called ‘Google Assistant’. At a starting price of $649, the Pixel and Pixel XL are firmly placed to counter the market dominated by Apple and Samsung.
Google executives touted the smartphone’s impressive camera and long lasting battery during the event on Tuesday, where they said the phones will be sold in two screen sizes – 5-inch and 5.5-inch with three color variants: black, silver and blue.
In terms of its specification, Google Pixel and Pixel XL runs on Android Nougat 7.1. Both devices come powered with Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 64-bit processor. The phones feature the highly optimised 12.3-megapixel rear camera with f/2.0 aperture. Scoring a rating of 89 on DXO Mark, a highest on record, Google claims it to be the “best smartphone camera ever”. The two smartphones house a mix of polished glass and aluminum chassis and feature the ‘Pixel Imprint’ fingerprint sensor. With 4GB LPDDR4 RAM, the phones come paired with 32GB and 128GB internal storage. The Pixel is backed by a 2,770mAh battery while the larger variant Pixel XL packs a 3,450mAh battery. The phones have 3.5mm headphone jack and uses a USB-type C port.
The Google Assistant is taken as the central element of all the new devices. A digital helper that uses artificial intelligence to respond to queries, check calendar appointment or send messages, CEO Sundar Pichai describe the smart assistant as “a personal Google for each and every user.”
Although Google earns most of its revenue from online software and digital ads, the company seems to put more emphasis on hardware to gain consumer’s attention. Analyst Julie Ask at Forrester Research said, ‘New devices could help Google keep its services front and center in the battle for consumer’s attention.” She cited that unlike a new mobile app or other software it can be expensive stake to build and ship new hardware products.
Apart from the Pixel line up, Google also introduced the Daydream View headset, a new Chromecast and the Google Home speaker, an AI-powered rival to the Amazon Echo. The Home speaker will feature Google’s digital “Assistant” service, a similar concierge service like Apple’s Siri, Amazon Alexa or Microsoft’s Cortana.
Talking about the Pixel and Pixel XL’s pricing and availability, the 32GB Pixel smartphone will come for a price of US$649 while the 128GB variant costs US$749. The Pixel XL is priced at US$769 for 32GB version while the 128GB variant comes with a price of US$869. The two smartphones are now available for pre-order in US, UK, Canada, Australia and Germany. The new Google smartphones will be available for pre-order in India from October 13, 2016.