Google officially unveiled the next generation of its Pixel phones, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, at an event in San Francisco on Wednesday. The devices are built on the capabilities of Google Assistant, continuing Google’s shift “from mobile-first to AI-first” in computing, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said.
The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL aren’t much of a departure from the original Pixel phones in terms of design. The standard Pixel 2 features a 5″ screen with an OLED display, while the Pixel 2 XL sports a massive 6″ P-OLED screen with an 18:9 aspect ratio and a curved screen.
The phones have an all-aluminum body, with the smaller glass plate on the back. The fingerprint scanner remains in the same spot on the middle of the back of the phone.
The standard Pixel 2 is available in three colors: Kinda Blue, Just Black, and Clearly White. The Pixel 2 XL, however, is only available in Just Black and a separate Black and White colorway.
On-device machine learning will allow the phones to perform certain AI tasks without sending any information out. For example, the Pixel 2 automatically displays the name of a song that is playing on the lock screen of the device. Machine learning will also be on display with Google Lens, which will allow Pixel 2 users to more easily analyze images for additional information.
Google’s search box will now be at the bottom of the screen and will remain static while the user moves between home screens. A new feature called Active Edge will allow users to access Google Assistant by simply squeezing the sides of the phone. It will work with a case, and machine learning will be able to identify an “intentional squeeze.”
Google is continuing the trend of including premium camera technology in the Pixel line with the Pixel 2. The 12.2 MP camera, which achieved a DxOMark score of 98, is tuned for AR content and can read it in 60fps. The camera will also include a portrait mode, similar to what Apple introduced with its iPhone 7 Plus. This feature could be especially helpful for marketing professionals and social media pros who need to capture the best images for their content.
In terms of battery life, the Pixel 2 phones will feature all-day battery life and quick charging. Users can get up to seven hours of battery life in 15 minutes of charging.
Both the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL utilize the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor and has 4GB of RAM. Additionally, both devices feature a built-in security module, which the product site describes as a “security chip to reinforce your lock screen against malware and hardware attacks.” This could make the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL a bigger contender among security-conscious tech pros.
The phone has dropped the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack and only has one USB-C port. But, it does come with an adapter.
Of course, the phone will launch with pure Android Oreo. And Pixel users will continue to be the first to receive Android OS updates.
For pricing, the Pixel 2 starts at $649 for 64GB and the Pixel 2 XL starts at $849 for the 64GB version. Both phones are also available in 128GB. The devices are available for preorder now and will initially be available in Australia, Canada, Germany, India, the UK, and the US.
Users who may be interested in a Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL should consider Google’s trade-in program, which is offering up to $385 for some smartphones. More details for the program can be found in this article from ZDNet’s Liam Tung.
At the event, Google also unveiled the newest version of its VR and AR headset, the Google Daydream View. It will be available in new colors, with new lenses and fabrics. It has the widest field of of view of any Google headset yet, and will cost $99.
A new set of wireless earbuds, the Google Pixel Buds, were also revealed. They offer access to Google Assistant and can provide near real-time translation for conversations in two different languages. International business travelers could use this in a pinch to make getting around a new city even easier.
The 3 big takeaways for our readers
- Google announced a new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, which is built on the features of Google Assistant and features on-device machine learning.
- The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL camera is tuned for AR and achieved a DxOMark score of 98, which is unprecedented.
- Google also unveiled a new Daydream View VR headset and wireless Google Pixel Buds, which will complement the new Pixel phones.