Google has confirmed its successor to the Nexus phones. It's called Pixel, and it's your next digital assistant.
Google Pixel: What is it?
After months of leaks an rumours, Google has officially confirmed its next stage of self-branded smartphones. Gone is the Nexus name, and in its place is the new digital assistant-focused Pixel and Pixel XL. The primary difference between the two Pixel models is exclusively in screen and battery size, with both offering the same quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processors, camera specifications and storage options.
In previous years, Google’s in-house phones have typically appealed to those who don’t want lots of vendor-provided add-on software, and who instead prefer a clean slate style experience. But with the Pixel, Google is changing its approach, offering a much more unique experience in the shape of its digital assistant AI that's baked into the very fabric of the Pixel phones.
While the digital assistant will eventually make its way to other Android devices, for launch it is a Pixel exclusive, which makes it an enticing offering for passionate early adopters and anyone keen to see where Google sees its future heading.
Google Pixel: Release date
The Google Pixel will be available to purchase from 20 October in Australia, with the phone available from the Google Play Store and JB Hi-Fi outright. For anyone looking to grab the new phone on a plan, Telstra will be offering it on its Telstra Go contract plans.
If you're especially keen, pre-orders are currently available on the Play store and on JB Hi-Fi, as well as through Telstra.
Google Pixel: Price
When Google first started releasing Nexus devices, it did so at extremely attractive price points, often half or less than the competing premium phones of the day. As the Android market has expanded, however, it’s increasingly pitched towards the top end of local pricing, and that hasn't changed for the arrival of the Pixel smartphones. Compared to last year’s Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X they are even more expensive again, with prices starting at $1,079 for the 32GB Pixel and jumping up to $1,229 for 128GB of storage. Funnily enough, those prices are an exact match for the same capacity models of the iPhone 7 in Australia.
Google Pixel: Specifications
As expected, there weren't too many surprises on the hardware specification front with the announcement of the Pixel. Of course that's what happens when telcos and retailers around the world leak your details before launch day.
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 821|
|RRP||$1079 (32GB)/$1229 (128GB)|
While the hardware specs reflect what we knew before the phone was announced, the key differentiators for the Pixel are all software based. The key differentiator is the digital assistant, which allows you to leverage Google's ongoing focus on natural language and machine learning to help control not just the phone, but also your life. It's fundamentally similar to the assistant found in the recently launched Allo messaging app, which should give you an indication of what to expect.
On the camera front, Google has matched the 12.3MP camera with some intelligent shooting options, like HDR plus which ensures every photo is best exposed by taking multiple exposures and stitching them together in real time. Video recording also gets a boost with image stabilisation, which polls the phone's motion sensors 200 times a second, and then algorithmically counteracts any hand shake or motion blur while you film. The fast-charging USB C connector allows you to get up to 7 hours of life from the phone from just 15 minutes on the wall, and the Pixel is also one of the first phones to support Google's Daydream VR platform.
Even better, Pixel owners will get to store full-sized versions of all their photos and videos (including 4K clips) in Google Photos storage for free.
Also worth considering
The Pixel plays in the high end Android space, and that gives it some very stiff competition. Just in terms of phones rocking the Snapdragon 820 processor it’s got to face off against LG’s G5 and HTC’s 10, as well as certain international versions of our current favourite Android phone, the Samsung Galaxy S7. It’s also highly likely that by the time the Pixel actually launches in Australia on 20 October, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 will be back on sale.