While Android has expanded into a huge brand and into a big win for Google, the tech company has always struggled to spread strong roots in the hardware game. Its Nexus line frequently heralded some great devices but Google never invested 100 percent of its self into those phones. Whether they were made by LG or HTC, Google had to share both the praise and blame for all of the Nexus devices, a simple fact that never allowed it to directly compete with the likes of Apple.
On the same point, Samsung merely used the Android system as a backbone to deliver its own brand with the immensely popular Galaxy line. The Android ecosystem has always been a fragmented one to the point where fans of the OS have always had to make tough choices regarding their smartphones of choice because no two devices were certain to operate in the same way, particularly if they came from entirely different manufacturers.
On October 4, Google made a huge bet. The Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL are poised to compete directly with the iPhone. And aside from all the hardware and software inside the devices, the most important fact about them is that they will be made by Google itself. It is the pivotal point that will separate the now-disbanded Nexus line with the fresh Pixel phones and it is an experiment that will finally show us if Google is capable of being more than a software distributor, or not.
With a Google logo on the back and a tagline that secures the company as the sole manufacturer, the Google Pixel phones are out to make history; if Google succeeds in this endeavor, that is. Starting at $649 for the Pixel and $769 for the Pixel XL, the phones have been strategically placed at the highest end of the premium spectrum, complete with flagship features which Google hopes will make them stand out in the fragmented Android crowd.
Google’s wish to compete with the iPhone directly could not be more obvious either. First of all, the Pixels have what Google is calling the “best smartphone camera ever”, according to the DxOMark Mobile score of 89. In a direct jab to Apple, Google purposefully mentioned that the cameras are not protruding at all. Even the color options of ‘Quite Black’, ‘Really Blue’, and ‘Very Silver’ seem like nothing more than humorous micro-insults at the lavish options proposed by Apple and others. Of course, Google itself is also guilty of similar things so the tongue-in-cheek names lose their intended impact.
The best thing about the Google pixel, by far, is the inclusion of the Google Assistant. Backed by artificial intelligence, the Assistant promises to be a much-improved version of current iterations of digital assistants such as Google Now and Siri. However, only time will tell whether its real-life applications are as good as what the demos have shown us. In the meantime, the next couple next of months will be crucial for the Pixel line.