IN A MOVE that's unlikely to go down well with Android OEMs, Google has officially entered the smartphone market with the Google Pixel and Pixel XL.
The duo of smartphones, touted as the first to be "made by Google", put the company's artificial intelligence (AI) smarts at its forefront, in the form of the firm's Siri-rivalling Assistant software. The Pixel and Pixel XL also pack Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 power, "market leading" 12.3MP rear-facing cameras, and USB-C connectivity.
We've rounded up everything you need to know about picking up the Google Pixel and Pixel XL and will update this page as soon as we hear more.
Release date and availability
The Google Pixel and Pixel XL are now available from Google Play, although some models have sold out and are not currently showing as in stock.
At the time of writing (22/11/16), both 32GB and 128GB versions of the Google Pixel XL in Black are listed as out of stock, while all other versions are available to buy.
The 32GB Google Pixel is available from £599 at Google Play, while the 128GB version is £699. The Pixel XL is, unsurprisingly, more expensive at £719 and £819 respectively, making it the same price as the iPhone 7 Plus.
EE, which is the only operator to offer the smartphone, is selling the Google Pixel from £45.99 with a £99 upfront cost on a tariff that comes with 5GB of monthly data. This increases to £50.99 per month for the bigger Google Pixel XL.
Carphone Warehouse is also selling the duo of smartphones, on tariffs from EE, iD, O2 and Vodafone. Prices for the Google Pixel start at £42 with a £79.99 upfront cost with unlimited texts and 6GB of data. The Pixel XL is available on the same tariff but comes with a heftier £159.99 upfront cost.
Both the Google Pixel and Pixel XL run an unbloated version of Android 7.1 Nougat, equipping them with features including a new split-screen mode, tougher security measures like file-based encryption, support for the Vulkan API, enhanced notifications and Data Saver and Night modes.
However, the big talking point is artificial intelligence (AI). Google has put its AI-fuelled features at the forefront of the handsets, and the Pixel and Pixel XL are the first smartphones to come with Google's Siri-rivalling Assistant.
Users can press the Home button to fire up the human-like assistant, and can ask questions such as 'Show me upcoming events at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley,' or 'Play me music by The Lumineers.' It can also do things such as book a table at a restaurant by grabbing contextual information from your conversations.
On the design front, the Pixel smartphones resemble a love child of the iPhone 7 and the HTC 10. The handsets feature a two-tone design, with a mirror-finish panel taking up the top half of the rear where the camera and fingerprint sensor are housed.
There are prominent iPhone-style antenna bands along the back and sides of the smartphones, a Google logo etched into the rear and a chunky bezel along the top and bottom of the display.
A USB-C connector sits on the bottom of the handsets providing seven hours of juice after just 15 minutes on charge, but Google has decided against 'doing an Apple' by ditching the headphone jack and there's a 3.5mm port on the top of the smartphones.
The Google Pixel and Pixel XL have 5in Full HD and 5.5in QHD displays respectively, and both are powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 821 processor which the chipmaker claims is 10 per cent faster than the Snapdragon 820 chip inside the LG V20.
This is paired with a decent 4GB of RAM and a choice of 32GB or 128GB of storage.
Google claims, with its DxOMark rating of 89, the 12.3MP camera on the rear of the smartphone is the "best ever." It comes with HDR+ switched on by default, offers a shorter capture time than any smartphone camera it's tested, and comes with built-in video stabilisation. There's also an 8MP camera on the front.
The Google Pixel and Pixel XL is available in three colours named, ugh, Quite Black, Very Silver and Really Blue. µ
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