Pixel and Pixel XL, made by Google phones, are here with a price tag and specifications ready to challenge the Apple iPhone 7. With the new Pixel phones, Google is bidding goodbye to the Nexus series, and instead focusing on the premium segment, one where Apple has dominated for years. And like Apple, Google too will retain top to bottom control of the hardware and software on Pixel phones.
These ones are not just about pure Android or getting the latest update like say the Nexus was in the eyes of many; the Pixel phones will get exclusive features that you might not get on the Nexus or any other Android phone for that matter.
Google appears to have a simple approach to this new hardware foray. It now views itself as a hardware player building on its open-source Android platform; just like Samsung or a Xiaomi or Lenovo do with their phones. Nexus was about collaborating and showcasing the power of Android. Pixel is about creating a premium hardware product, one that shows the power of Google. Priced at R57,000 onwards, Pixel phones are not mid-range like Nexus, and there’s a reason for that.
According to Google’s Chrome VP Dave Burke, “Android ecosystem doesn’t really need a Nexus programme anymore,” especially since the world has seen the rise of other mid-range phones like OnePlus, Xiaomi which can highlight everything that Android does well.
Pixel phones will be Google’s challenger to Apple, and the search giant intends to use its prowess in machine learning and machine intelligence to make these stand out. Based on Google’s presentation, one could see the focus was on software and not specifications as such, though these phones come with top-of-the-line specs too.
For starters, Pixel devices are the first to run the Google Assistant and currently it looks like Assistant will be Google Pixel exclusive, kind of like how Siri is to the iPhone.
Travel for this report was sponsored by Google