Until now, Google has either bought, borrowed or branded other phones, rather than make its own from scratch. The company bought Motorola for $12.5 billion in 2011, made a few phones, but sold it again in 2014. Google also recently released the Nexus series, but outsourced much of the development of the phone to other smartphone makers. This time, Google has taken up the Apple methodology, and conceptualized, designed, built and tested the phone itself, just as Apple does with its iPhone.
Google already dominates the operating system market. The Android operating system is used in 87.6% of smartphones worldwide, according to IDC data. But now the company wants many of its products pushed through a device of its own making, in order to dominate the hardware, software, and artificial intelligence industries.
Apple has employed this strategy for years, and is the world’s most valuable company.
Much like the last few iPhones, the Pixel is available in both a regular size and a larger format, with either a 5-inch or 5.5-inch display. The phones will also both be available either with either 32GB of storage or 128GB.
The iPhone 7 phones are almost exactly the same size: the 7’s screen is 4.7-inches, and the 7 Plus is 5.5-inches. Apple offers even more storage on the phone itself, with a 256GB option, but Google has looked to counter that by promising unlimited storage of high definition images and videos on Google Photos for Pixel users.
The iPhone has used Siri for several releases now, but the Pixel is the first Google-branded phone to come with Google Assistant built in. The phone is always listening, so users only have to say “OK Google” and ask the phone for the weather forecast, to book an appointment, or to find a restaurant.
AI assistants have become the norm in phones and increasingly in the home. Amazon offers the Echo, and Google has also just launched Google Home, which essentially does the same thing as Google Assistant, but sits in your home and not inside your phone.
The two cameras are difficult to judge against each other without taking the same photo and comparing. But Google has made a big noise about the Pixel being the “best rated smartphone camera ever.” The camera allows for photos in any light, and its Smartburst feature takes a rapid-fire sequence of photos. It also boasts a Lens Blur option to achieve shallow depth of field.
The Pixel has a 12.3-megapixel camera, with an f/20 aperture – that means it captures a lot of light.
The iPhone 7’s cameras differ depending on which size you have. The iPhone 7 Plus has two 12-megapixel cameras, and shoots wide-angle photos and telephoto.
The Google Pixel is making some bold claims when it comes to battery. The company says that its new phone will last all day, and boasts super-fast charging speeds: up to seven hours of juice in 15 minutes. In contrast, the iPhone 7 has been criticized for its lack of battery life, and longer charging times. If Google can back up its claims, the company has clearly seen a potential weak point of the iPhone and capitalized on it.