Just hours ago, Google unveiled a batch of new tech, everything from TV dongles to smart speakers all the way to smartphones. Pixel, Google’s latest flagship smartphone, was just introduced. Here’s what’s coming!
Google took center stage today in San Francisco where they announced the much-anticipated Pixel smartphone for 2016. Although we got most in which was expected, there were some things Google surprised us with during its unveiling of the phone. Some new to Pixel, some new to Google and some new to the industry. Have a look at them below.
The Google Assistant
The biggest addition to this year’s Google smartphone, Pixel, is without any doubt, the Google Assistant. Currently, the only way to access the Google Assistant is through a preview build of it inside Google Allo, the company’s messaging app. However, Google was sure to let us know that its Assistant technology built using AI is about to be present everywhere, whether that be on your TV, in your home, on your wrist, or on a smartphone or tablet.
The Pixel phones will be the first to incorporate the Google Assistant with many other smartphones to come. This addition left many questions unanswered, what will happen to Google Now? How can the Google Assistant be accessed? Does it work using voice, and what about Now on Tap? We can’t justify every question as of yet, because our dose thus far of the new smartphone has been minimal. However, there are some things Google went over in its demonstration of the feature.
So, what it Google Assistant? Basically, it’s a search function that provides you with or assists you with the best possible information when and where you need it. It works with both text and through voice. On the Pixel smartphone, you’ll be able to access it by holding on Google’s newly designed nav buttons, the home key in the middle to be exact. Now On Tap is still present, and can be accessed by simply holding on the button and swiping upward. We’re a bit unsure about the future of Google Now, the feed with cards designed to provide information for you, as it wasn’t shown off in the demonstration. However, we believe it’s highly doubtful Google removed the feature entirely, as they worked long years on improving it. We’ll check up on you when we discover more.
Feature-wise, Google Assistant is pretty much everything we saw in the demonstrations shown back at I/O in May. Google did however mention the seamless connection with Now on Tap, that can be used to answer questions based on what’s on-screen. It’s also likely that the Pixel phones will unleash the full functionality of the Google Assistant on Pixel, unlike in Allo. This means that booking restaurants, ordering take out and purchasing tickets to a movie within Google Search will now be a possibility.
While Google used the same 12.3MP rear-facing camera and 8MP front-facing camera present on last year’s Nexus devices, they did bring some noteworthy enhancements as listed below.
During its presentation, Google announced a new feature coming to the camera app called ‘SmartBurst.’ This allows users to take several photos in a short amount of time and pick the sharpest one. It’s not new to the industry, but it’s new for Google’s own camera app.
HDR+ is a setting that can be set to automatic on the Pixel phones, which will adapt all lighting conditions of the shot just after you take it. The team will use surrounding conditions to produce the best possible shot. Again, not revolutionary, but more of a step up over standard HDR.
Google didn’t take much time on this, but it was in there. Image stabilization has come to video, which will now increase the steadiness when recording clips on your Pixel smartphone. No more shaky videos when walking or bouncing videos when filming from the backseat of your car.
Zero Shutter Lag
Perhaps the biggest addition announced for the camera was zero shutter lag. This will make a big difference when trying to capture short moments. Google claims that the camera on its Pixel phones is the fastest among all it tested, meaning that you’ll be able to open, focus and snap a photograph in the littlest of time and still get a good shot off.
It’s worth noting a few other facts disclosed. First, that Pixel owners will get unlimited photo and video backup in original quality using Google Photos. This offering will be exclusive to Pixel owners, whereas other Android users as well as iOS users will have to compress images and videos to what Google claims as “high quality.” This means that with a Pixel smartphone, you’ll be able to shoot and store unlimited 4k video content free of charge. If you can find someone else hosting that deal, call me on my cell.
Google was extremely proud to announce that DXOMark, the camera benchmarking company, gave the Pixel smartphone a rating of 89. This makes for “the best” camera on any smartphone available today. This beats even Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 and Apple’s brand new iPhone 7. Google says that this has been made possible through specific tweaks that only it has figured out how to implement. We can’t wait to get our hands on the phone to try it out.
Improved Quick Charge
Google’s new Pixel smartphones come with improved quick charging via USB Type-C. The port is included at the bottom and is reversible, meaning you can plug-in either direction and the cable will still fit. Google claims that just a 15 minute charge using the handset’s included cable will provide a whopping 7 hours of battery life. Again, we can’t wait to get our hands a unit to see this in action.
‘Automatic updates’ is a software feature embedded into Android Nougat. It allows devices running the software to update automatically. This means, the next time you get a minor software update such as monthly security patches for instance, your phone will handle the update automatically without you manually having to download and install the update. This could prove worthy for both people who are lazy and for one’s safety who may not know exactly how to update their phone. You never know when a virus is coming.
Support Tool – 24/7 Customer Care
All Pixel owners will get a new support tool provided by Google. No other manufacturer has created such a thing yet, making Google the first to do so. The Pixel Support Tool, what we’re calling it for now, is a customer care app that will be active 24/7 to provide Pixel owners with help if/when they need it. Waiting on a line at a store location or calling on the phone and being put on hold can sometimes be frustrating, which is why Google has created a customer service app dedicated to some of its most loyal fans in those who will soon own a Pixel smartphone. Most interestingly, is the way in which the app works. Basically, you get paired with a Google Pixel expert, and are asked to share your screen with him/her so that they can better assist you. Google is hoping this will be a more efficient route to helping Pixel owners solve problems associated with their device. Best of all, it’s completely free from what we have heard.
Google’s pair of Pixel devices are the first qualified as “Daydream-ready.” This means that they can be used for Daydream, Google’s new virtual reality platform. The formula includes an app, which Google has provided to us via a Play Store download, and a Daydream View headset (more news on this coming soon). Using both in addition to the Daydream remote, users will be able to play games, watch footage, look at photos, and lots lots more, but most importantly, from an all-new perspective in 360-degrees. The headset will sell starting in November for $79.
Like other manufacturers do after launching a new product, Google announced a slew of accessories to go along with their new phones. Google will probably sell additional cases, screen guards, wallets, chargers, and more. The company already mentioned two accessories coming in the near future, a new batch of Live Cases designed for each Pixel smartphone, as well as a transfer tool, named the ‘Quick Switch adapter,’ to help satisfy those moving over from another mobile platform like iOS. The status of them is currently unknown.
Bookmark this page as the day precedes, as we’ll provide more info when we get it. Pre-order info will be passed along soon! We’ll keep you updated on everything important right as it happens! For up to the minute updates, follow us across social media. Keep it tuned to Droid Turf for extensive coverage of Google’s October 4th event.
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Full details on Google’s new Pixel smartphone! -> [Click here]
Watch the official announcement if you missed it here -> [Click here]
Watch all the official introductory videos here -> [Click here]
See the full spec sheets and our best insight here -> [Click here]
Read our Google Event Wrap-up here -> [Click here]
UPDATE: Google’s Pixel is now up for pre-order! [Click here for full details]