Google on Tuesday unveiled two new smartphones, the Pixel and Pixel XL, during an event in San Francisco. The Pixel will have a 5-inch screen, while the larger model will include a 5.5-inch display.
The Pixel is available for preorder immediately. The lineup starts at $649, or $27 per month. Verizon is the exclusive carrier partner in the United States, though Google is also selling unlocked versions directly to customers.
These are the first Google-branded phones that were designed solely by the company. This marks a new approach for Google, which typically outsources the design and production of its branded devices to other smartphone makers like HTC and LG. Those Google phones were previously given the “Nexus” moniker.
The way Google created its new Pixel devices is similar to the way Apple develops its iPhones. Apple designs its smartphones in-house, while outside manufacturers takes care of assembling the components.
Rick Osterloh, Google’s hardware chief, said building its own hardware allows Google to “take full advantage of capabilities like the Google Assistant,” the company’s new virtual aide. “This is a natural step and we’re in it for the long run,” Osterloh said during the event.
The Pixel has a more premium design that some of Google’s previous Nexus phones, with a glass-covered back and polished aluminum casing. It will also be among the first smartphones to include Google’s new Google Assistant, a Siri-like app activated by pressing and holding the home button or saying a trigger word.
The Pixel will be available in three colors: Quite Black, Really Blue, and Very Silver.
Google is also talking up the Pixel’s camera, which has a 12.3 megapixel sensor and an aperture of f/2.0. Users will be able to capture multiple photos at once with a new burst mode. The company claims it captures photos faster than any other smartphone it has tested, which would make it an ideal choice for snapping action shots. Pixel buyers will also get free unlimited photo and video storage at full resolution through the Google Photos app.
Another new feature coming to the Pixel is quick charging, which has become increasingly popular on modern Android smartphones. The Pixel‘s quick charging capability will enable it to get seven hours worth of battery life after 15 minutes of charging, says Google. Buy here.
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