Can they break the grip of Apple and Samsung?
Google this week threw its weight behind breaking the Apple-Samsung smartphone duopoly, unveiling its first true ‘Google phones’, the Pixel and Pixel XL.
Unlike its Nexus series, where the device hardware made by manufacturers like Huawei and LG, the Pixel is the “first phone made by Google inside and out”.
“Since 2010, we’ve partnered closely with mobile handset partners around the world to bring you the best of Android,” product management vice president Brian Rakowski said.
“Through Nexus, the goal was to work with these various partners to push the boundaries of what’s possible with a smartphone.
“We’ve now decided to take the next step and provide our take on the best Google experience, by bringing hardware and software design together under one roof.”
Though Google has now brought smartphone hardware in-house, many of the drawcard features of the Pixel are in software.
One of those is the inclusion of Google Assistant, the company’s take on virtual assistant software.
Google touted Assistant’s natural language capabilities at the Pixel launch in San Francisco this week.
“Ask it for a brief update on your day or to play a video on YouTube,” the company said.
“If your friend texts you to meet up at a new restaurant, you can just say ‘navigate there’.”
Early reviews of the Pixel – mostly based on limited time afforded to reviewers at the launch – confirmed Assistant as one of the key reasons to look at the Pixel.
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