Google releases the Pixel smartphone

Image: kieferpix via iStock

Google has released its own smartphone designed to compete with Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy S7 Edge.

The Pixel and Pixel XL were revealed this week, the first devices to be made entirely by Google without outsourcing to a different manufacturer.

One of the features receiving the most attention since the announcement of the Pixel is the Google Assistant, which is an exclusive integrated personal assistant, replacing Google Now and Google voice search on other Android devices.

Google Assistant is a “contextually aware” assistant, which users are able to talk to and ask questions. It can also provide information when it thinks it will be relevant.

Ana Corrales, vice-president of Google global operations and Google Store, said: “We’re leveraging 18 years of search and evolving it into an assistant powered by machine learning and artificial intelligence that we believe will be the next wave of computing for the next ten years or so and it will get better and better as people use it.”

Another of the Pixel’s most headline-grabbing features is the unlimited photo storage that comes with it. During the unveiling of the Pixel, Google specifically pointed out that iPhones often run out of storage space.

The Pixel smartphones both have 12 megapixel cameras with 1.55 micrometre pixels for better performance in low light. The cameras will also feature Electronic Image Stabilisation. Camera analysts DxOMark have rated them better than those on the iPhone 7 and the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.

Charging is another area that Google wants to highlight with the Pixel. It is reportedly able to last for hours or even days on Lithium-ion power packs and supports fast charging, which Google says can deliver a 70 per cent charge after just 15 minutes.

Starting at £599, the Pixel is priced similarly to the current smartphone leaders.

Along with the Pixel, Google also announced the release of an intelligent speaker, a Wi-Fi router, a media-streaming dongle and a virtual reality headset.