Yesterday a big shift occurred in the Android landscape as Google rolled out its very first line of smartphones. In the past, Google partnered with phone makers to launch Nexus devices, sort of a line of phones designed as a showcase for what's possible with the Android ecosystem.
These partnerships had limitations of course, and gave Google limited control over the actual phone. According to Google Android engineering head Dave Burke, his company didn't get involved with the Nexus designs until the devices were almost 90 percent completed.
This changes with the introduction of Pixel and Pixel XL, two phones designed 100% by Google. While the approach may alienate some partners in the Android ecosystem, this means Google is finally going to compete head-on with Apple's iPhone lineup with a flagship Android device of its own.
The Pixel lineup features a seamless glass-aluminium body and they will be the first phones to get Android 7.1 "Nougat" out of the gate. The phones will feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 SoC but Google said it intends to develop a custom SoC for future versions of its Pixel phones. While Google designs the device in-house, the device will be manufactured by HTC, similar to how the Apple iPhone is manufactured by Foxconn.
The Pixel has a 5" AMOLED screen with a 1080p resolution, while the Pixel XL has a 5.5" AMOLED panel with a Quad HD resolution. Both models feature the Google Assist feature, sort of a Siri rival, and promise to offer the best camera available in the smartphone world. The company says Pixel scores 89 in the DxOMark Mobile test, the highest score ever, and promises you'll be able to take brilliant pictures in low light, bright light or any light.
Overall it looks pretty impressive and Google makes fun of Apple by pointing out its Pixel phones have a 3.5mm jack, but unfortunately one key feature is missing. While the Apple iPhone 7 and Samsung's Galaxy S7 and Note 7 feature water resistance, this feature is not present on the Pixel.
Pricing for the Pixel and Pixel XL starts at $649 and $769, respectively, for a model with 32GB flash storage. More details about the specifications and the pre-order page can be found at Made by Google.