Google’s Latest Pursuit: Smartphones

On Oct. 4, the Google Pixel and Pixel Xl – featuring sharp new cameras, but lacking water resistance– were launched by the innovative Google. This phone was available in stores slightly less than a month after the Apple release of the popular iPhone 7. The reviews are in, and reports predict that Google might sell up to three million Pixel models by the end of 2016.

The Pixel will set you back $649.00, while the Pixel XL is priced at $769.00, both similar to the iPhone 7 and 7+, respectively. This was reduced to a mere $240 (at Verizon) during the Thanksgiving weekend sale, an affordable contrast to the usual price.

The Pixel has a display of 5 inches and weighs 143 grams, whereas the Pixel XL has a display of 5.5 inches and weighs 168 grams. The phones sport a full HD AMOLED display (popular Android display), Gorilla Glass 4 and feature Google Assistant. The Google Assistant can play songs, set reminders, alarms, timers and display the news, weather and latest sport updates, a feature similar to one of Apple devices – Siri. The Google Assistant feature is helpful not only for work, but also for busy teenagers that need scheduling, planning and frequent updates.  The phones also contain the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor and are available in 32GB and 128GB (+ $100)  storage options.  Also, the Pixel cameras – 12.3 megapixel rear camera and an 8 megapixel front facing camera – have sparked quite a few positive reviews.

The exploding Note 7 caused tremendous loss for the company of Samsung and provided more opportunity for other emerging smartphone models, such as the Pixel. Critics and news websites have given mixed reviews about the new smartphones. “Google’s Pixel and Pixel XL are two of the best Android smartphones money can buy right now. Well, it’s essentially the same phone that comes in two distinct sizes, competing directly against the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus — and yes, both handsets are iPhone-grade expensive”, according to BGR. On the contrary, Brian X. Chen from The New York Times claimed, “It is slower than Apple’s iPhone 7 and the Galaxy S7, Samsung’s smaller flagship phone…And Google’s built-in artificially intelligent virtual assistant, called Assistant, is still fairly dumb. But hey, the Pixel probably won’t burn down your garage or injure a child.” The last part of this comment targeted the “flammable” Samsung Note 7.

Google claims that their phones have the highest rated cameras ever, and the reviews support that claim. “Google has delivered a terrific photo and video experience on the Pixel…. [it] snaps photos quickly and easily, and its automatically-enabled HDR+ smarts ensure even exposure throughout the frame in most conditions.” wrote Darrell Etherington, writer for TechCrunch. A Pixel XL review by Edward C. Baig, from USA Today, claimed, “I detected only subtle differences between the pictures and videos I shot here (under all sorts of lighting conditions) and those I’ve captured on a Galaxy or the iPhone. Consider that high praise. I was impressed with the color and fine detail on most shots. Maybe as important as the picture quality is what you can do with the images you capture. Google is giving Pixel owners unlimited free cloud storage at full resolution for all the pictures and videos shot with the phone, including 4K video. That’s a big deal.”


While the Pixel’s cameras have top reviews, one common complaint of this phone is regarding the water-resistance. The Pixel models are not waterproof, while the competitors such as iPhone 7, 7+ and the Samsung Galaxy S7 are waterproof.

The release of this phone also brought new trendy cases to the case market. Speck, Caseology, Otterbox, Spigen and a variety of other case companies have launched tough and stylish cases. Google produces their own cases for the Pixel models that can showcase your pictures, cartoons, artwork and even specific locations on maps. While choosing the case, the customer can select a place on Google Maps to display on their case which can be further customized and then purchased on the Google website along with other Google Live cases, for $40.

The Google Pixel and Pixel IV smartphones are currently available in three colors: Quite Black, Really Blue, and Very Silver. However, Google has listed the blue as a limited-edition option, and so far, it comes with only 32 GB of storage space. The humorous choices for these color names have caused quite a controversy on social media, especially. Some sources claim that Google was poking fun at Apple, which also offers very basic color name options, while others say that the odd choice makes a bold statement.  Whatever the reason, the adverbs only increased publicity for the anticipated Pixel smartphones.

A Google Pixel XL user, who wishes to remain anonymous said, “The Pixel XL form factor is a first for me. Since I use the phone for a lot of my work, the large screen is a boon; but single hand operation is a problem. The screen and camera are awesome. Google Assistant is intriguing and I get a feeling I’ll be able to delegate more work to it/him/her pretty soon.”

While the smartphone market already contains deep-rooted models from Apple, Samsung, and other heavy-weights, Google’s newest venture into the booming smartphone industry has been successful, as the positive reviews speak for themselves. From providing a revolutionary search engine to spreading internet connectivity through hot-air balloons, Google continues to surprise us.