Google enters smartphone market with Pixel

By: Leon Jamarie
Oct 06, 2016

Google announced their new phone, Pixel, on Tuesday morning. It has the highest rated smartphone camera, a  battery that lasts all day and unlimited storage for all your photos and videos. And it’s the first phone with the Google Assistant built in so you know when local places close, if it's still going to rain on Saturday, and if your favorite team won last night.

The Google Pixel comes in two sizes, 5” or 5.5”, and three colors: Very Silver, Quite Black and Really Blue (limited edition for the U.S. only) that will offer an alternative to Apple's popular iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

The search giant has been producing its own Android-based phones for the last few years under the "Nexus" brand. After years of overseeing reference Nexus devices running stock Android, Google is finally stepping into the smartphone fray to show what its vision of Android looks like. The Pixel and Pixel XL feature deep software integration to Google’s services, including Google Assistant, Daydream, and Google Photos. Unlike most current Android phones, it actually ships with the latest Android Nougat operating system and will continue to receive the latest OS and security updates.

The performance gap between smartphones is thinner than ever, and unique features have become more and more important than pure specifications as key differentiators between devices. When every major phone takes great photos, works fast, and runs the apps you use, it’s become tougher than ever to judge phones based on raw specifications alone. It’s too early to tell if Google's control over both hardware and software will lead to a superior smartphone.

The white Pixel bears a striking resemblance to the iPhone 6 although it has the rear-mounted fingerprint scanner popular with other Android handsets. Both the smaller Pixel and the larger Pixel XL will make the jump to the USB-C charging port and both will have 4GB of RAM and the same 12MP camera on the back (8MP on the front).

There will be a choice of either 32GB or 128GB of internal storage, and Google is also offering Pixel owners free unlimited storage for photos and videos through its Google Photos app.

Google has kept the 3.5mm headphone jack in place, unlike Apple which ditched it with the launch of the iPhone 7.

The Pixel XL has 5.5-inch 2,560 x 1,440 AMOLED display with a quad-core Qualcomm processor, 4GB of RAM, USB Type-C port, and rear-facing fingerprint reade. It has a 12-megapixel rear camera and a 8-megapixel front-facing one. It will also have a beefy 3,450mAh battery and standard 32GB of storage, with the option to upgrade to a 128GB if needed.

Today's mobile market is an extremely competitive one, with stellar phones from Apple, Samsung, LG, and more all competing for the coveted spot in your pocket or bag. If you don't like the idea of an iPhone 7 there's a lot to suggest Google's phones will offer a decent alternative. These phones will be developed to Google's spec so should have the best integration with Android on the market.

Pre-orders for the phone began on 4 October in the US, UK, Australia, Germany and Canada and the phone will ship to customers and be available in shops on October 20. No word as yet on when the phone will be available locally.