Google on Tuesday announced the launch of a 'family of products'- Pixel, Daydream and WiFi- to venture into a new category of products which have both, 'hardware and software made by Google.'
Since 2010, Google had partnered closely with mobile handset partners around the world to bring its mobile operating system Android onto different smartphones. Now in 2016, Google has decided to provide its own take on the Android experience by bringing 'hardware and software design together under one roof' with Pixel.
Pixel, Phone by Google
Brian Rakowski, VP, Product Management at Google layed out the product specifications of Pixel.
We carefully sculpted the surfaces of the phone, and rounded the edges to make it easy to grip. We used 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass 4 on the front display and back glass to accent the aerospace grade aluminum body.
The glass on the back also features Pixel Imprint, a fingerprint sensor which can even be used to swipe to access notifications. Google also claimed that Pixel includes a fast charging feature that lets Pixel provide 7 hours of battery life in 15 minutes of charge.
Some key highlights from the launch include-
1. First phone with Google Assistant built in
Google had teased its intelligent chatbot- Google Asistant earlier this year before offiicially launching it as a standalone app last month. Now Pixel, will be the first phone with Google Assistant built in, out of the box.
Users can say "Ok Google" or touch and hold the Home button to fire up their 'Personal Google' to help them with a variety of daily tasks like playing a video, streaming music, navigation, traffic alerts and other use cases.
2. A camera better than the iPhone 7?
Google claims that the Pixel camera is not only the best smartphone camera that they have made, but it’s the highest rated smartphone camera anyone has ever made. Brian noted,
Our DxOMark Mobile score of 89 is a great example of what’s possible when great hardware meets great software. Pixel puts cutting-edge computational photography in an ultra-fast and easy-to-use camera.
Pixel has a 12.3MP camera, featuring an f/2.0 aperture and big 1.55 micron pixels to capture the maximum light possible. Brian noted that Google's team of photography gurus and image processing experts had spent the last year designing and optimizing Pixel's entire camera stack.
3. Unlimited storage for Photos
Google claims that Pixel's camera can take great photos in a wide variety of conditions and as a special bonus Pixel owners would get unlimited storage for original quality photos and videos at full resolution in Google Photos. Talking about the different camera settings, Brian noted,
Catch action shots as they happen with Smartburst, which takes a rapid-fire sequence of shots and automatically selects the best one. Use Lens Blur to achieve shallow depth of field and bokeh effects, making your subject pop. You can capture dramatic landscapes or make faces glow with new exposure controls.
4. Android 7.1 Nougat and instant updates
Pixel will ship with the newest Android operating system, Android 7.1 Nougat and the phone will also get software and security updates as soon as they’re available, directly from Google. Brian noted that whenever a new update is available, users can download and install in the background and wont have to wait around for their phone to udpate.
Apart from Google Assistant, Pixel will also come with Google's other recently launched apps Duo and Allo pre-installed.
Size and prices
Pixel comes in two sizes, 5” or 5.5”, and three color variations- Very Silver, Quite Black and a limited edition for the U.S. only, Really Blue. Google is also introducing a new Artworks collection that features exclusive designs from artists like Justin Maller, and photographers like Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield as well as a new collection of silicone and clear cases. About phone availability, Brian noted,
Pixel is available for pre-order today starting at $649 in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Germany and Australia.
Pre-orders in India will begin October 13. In the U.S., Google is teaming up exclusively with Verizon to make Pixel available nationwide at all Verizon retail outlets, including Best Buy stores.