Google on Wednesday unveiled new versions of its Pixel smartphone, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL at its special hardware event in San Francisco.
Here are the specifications and features of the new phones:
- The new aluminum-body smartphones aim to infuse artificial intelligence to make the devices more user-friendly, built around the Google Assistant – the rival to Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana and others.
- Both have POLED displays, the XL sports a 6 inch QHD+ panel this time (with 18:9 aspect ratio), while the Pixel 2 has a 5 inch FHD display.
- Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL both have single cameras on the back, with dual-pixel sensors. It uses these sensors and machine learning to offer a “Portrait Mode” and other image enhancements.
- Google also claims the Pixel 2 series has the best camera in the market, just like the original Pixel and Pixel XL. Both phones have 12.2 MP rear cameras with f/1.8 apertures.
- Both the Pixels run on the Snapdragon 835 chipset and have 4GB of RAM. They will be available in 64GB and 128GB variants and have front facing stereo audio support.
- Google has dropped the headphone jack this time. There is also no support for MicroSD card.
- The Pixel 2 has a 2700 mAh battery with fast charging and the Pixel 2 XL comes with 3520 mAh battery.
Price in India?
Pixel 2 will cost Rs. 61,000 for the 64GB model, while the 128GB variant costs Rs. 70,000. Similarly, the Pixel 2 XL price in India for the 64GB and 128GB storage options are Rs. 73,000 and Rs. 82,000, respectively.
India pre-orders for the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL start from October 26. The former will then go on sale on November 1 and the latter on November 15.
Google vice president Rick Osterloh said Google’s new devices “are simple to use and they anticipate your needs.”
Osterloh told the product launch event in San Francisco: “You interact with your devices naturally with your voice or by touching them.”
Google, by bringing in a team of engineers from HTC, aims to emulate the success of Apple iPhones by controlling the hardware as well as the software used in the premium-priced handsets.
The revamped camera in the smartphone retains a single lens, but seeks to improve images via “computational photography,” an artificial intelligence tool that can enhance pictures.
Analyst Ian Fogg of IHS Markit said in a tweet,
Google Pixel 2 adds incremental improvements on the great v1. Google’s challenge is to solve production limits which hurt the original— Ian Fogg (@ianfogg42) October 4, 2017
Apart from the flagship phones, a host of other devices were also unveiled at the event.
Mini speaker, mini camera also launched
Google also announced a slimmed down version of its connected speaker called Google Home Mini starting at $49 (roughly Rs. 3,200) in the United States, stepping up its challenge to market leader Amazon.
The new Google Home Mini is available for pre-order in the seven countries where the device is offered, and will go on sale in stores October 19, the company said.
The new speaker, which responds to voice commands using artificial intelligence, is less than half the price of Google’s first generation speaker and makes this “more accessible to more people,” said Google hardware designer Isabelle Olsson.
A premium version of the speaker – a $399 (roughly Rs. 26,000) Google Home Max unveiled Wednesday – offers more power and audio quality for music aficionados.
The new Google Clips camera – one of the surprises of the event – “looks for smiles (and) moments, because the software is in the camera,” said Google product manager Juston Payne.
“It’s like having my own photographer shooting and choosing my best moments for me,” Payne said of the $249 (roughly Rs. 16,000) device.
Another surprise from the event was the wireless Pixel Buds, which can deliver audio from a smartphone and also include the Google Assistant and real-time translation.
A demonstration at the event included a two-way conversation with one person speaking English and the other Swedish.
“The camera and the earbuds were really held up as examples of what the company can do by leveraging the Google Assistant,” said Ross Rubin of Reticle Research.
A new Pixelbook laptop was touted as a “high performance” computer powered by its Chrome operating system and designed as a rival to Microsoft’s Surface and Apple’s iPad Pro.
With a 12.3-inch display, the device is a convertible PC that can be used as a tablet and is sold starting at $999 for US customers.
Google chief executive Sundar Pichai said the new devices showcase the tech giant’s artificial intelligence.
“We’ve been working hard continuing our shift from a mobile-first to an AI-first world. We are working on software and hardware together, because that is the best way to drive computing forward,” he said.
The launch comes in the wake of Apple’s announcement of a new line of iPhones, and Amazon’s upgrades to its Echo speakers powered by its Alexa digital assistant
“It is a portfolio designed to take Google into more parts of your life, particularly in your home,” Reticle Research analyst Ross Rubin said of the array of devices the Internet giant unveiled on Wednesday.
“Amazon is focusing on a range of price points and designs; Google is focusing on a range of experiences.”
(With inputs from AFP)