Google Unveils Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Other Devices
Alphabet Inc’s Google has launched on Wednesday the second generation of its Pixel smartphones along with other bunch of high-end gadgets, apparently solidifying its commitment to hardware push, and rivaling the surge of devices coming from Apple Inc and Amazon.com Inc.
The hardware event has been much anticipated by tech enthusiast and those who have been keenly watching the escalating competition among tech giants. Google, which has just bought the HTC unit that is in-charge of manufacturing the original Pixel smartphones, introduced the new version of Google Home smart speaker, Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, and Daydream, its VR (Virtual Reality) headset.
In the beginning of the event, Google’s chief executive officer, Sundar Pichai took the stage and started touting the company’s commitment to artificial intelligence.
“It is radically rethinking how computing should work,” said the chief, adding that computers should be the ones to adapt to how people live. According to him, computing will be conversational and contextual. He indicated that the intersection, or unity, of AI, software, and hardware is a unique moment in time. “The rate at which we are seeing progress in AI is amazing,” he added.
The Pixel smartphone are already available for pre-order, although it is set to hit the market on October 19.
Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL
The new Pixel phone, just like Apple’s iPhone 8, which was released last month along with iPhone X and iPhone 8 Plus, is water resistant and sports no headphone jack.
The screen brags a 5-inch screen, and buffed with organic light emitting diode (OLED) display. Compared with the iPhone 8, the company claimed that Pixel 2 has better image resolution by about “two orders of magnitude.”
Meanwhile, Pixel 2 XL sports a screen that is bigger that other phones’ screens. The model has a 6-inch screen, which is made of a thinner and more flexible plastic OLED display. With a higher screen resolution (538 pixels per inch), it boasts a finer contrast ratio than both Pixel 2 and iPhone 8, which are 441 and 326 pixels respectively.
The new Pixel smartphones do not feature wireless charging unlike the latest iPhone models. However, they come with sides that are squeezable, and upon squeezing, it activates Google’s virtual voice assistant.
Both the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL phones have basically the same capabilities.
“We don’t set aside features for the larger device,” said the head of Pixel phones, Mario Queiroz, in a statement considered as an obligatory hit at Apple.
Google’s voice assistant is integrated between the Pixel phone and Home, Google’s smart speaker.
Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL’s are armed with 12.2-megapixel rear cameras, while the front facing cameras have 8 megapixels.
Perhaps one of the most important features of the new phones is the Google Lens, which can “read” emails, addresses, and phone number. Interestingly, it gives users a movie or a book review by “looking” at a poster or cover. It also brags Augmented Reality capabilities that let users superimpose virtual objects into real places through the screen.
For the Pixel 2 XL phone, Google blessed it with “fused image stabilization,” which is said to improve the stability of videos.
The new phones do not sport the face ID technology found on Apple’s iPhone X, which is the costliest among Apple’s releases.
Lastly, the phones are able to capture “portrait mode” photos with blurred edges or backgrounds from either the front or back cameras.
Pixel 2 starts at $649 and Pixel 2 XL starts at $849, and both are available in Australia, Canada, Germany, India, the United Kingdom, and the United States for pre-order.
Aside from the new phones, Google also unveiled a plethora of other products.
When he took the stage at the event, Rishi Chandra, the head of home products, introduced the updates on Google’s speaker line and claimed that Google has the best voice recognition in the market. Chandra unveiled Google Voice Match, which can recognize the voices of different people in a family.
Another product introduced by Chandra was the Google Home Max, which is a high end smart speaker considered as Google’s bet to rival Apple’s upcoming smart speaker.
Moreover, Google also introduced a high-end Chromebook called the Pixelbook. It sports a 13.2-inch screen. It also has 16GB RAM and 10 hours of battery life. It is convertible into tablet mode, with built-in Google Assistant.
“Innovation will happen at the intersection of hardware, software, and AI. That’s where the big leaps forward will happen in the next 10 years,” said Rick Osterloh, Google’s Hardware SVP.
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