Google's new Pixel phones mirror industry trends

Sheri Evans
October 26, 2018

The first Pixel devices reached 2.4 million shipments in the nine months ended June 30, 2017, the firm said.

There were few surprises at the official reveal. Google Pixel 3 lacks the support for a microSD card.

The Pixel phones unveiled Tuesday in NY come in two different sizes, but both feature high-definition screens that span from one edge to another.

The smartphones will be available in Clearly White, Just Black, and Not Pink colour variants. Unlike its bigger sibling, the Pixel 3 doesn't have a notch, instead it has bulky bezels at the top and bottom. Both handsets are similar in features but differ when it comes to display size battery and design. Notably, they have a single 12.2 megapixel rear camera, compared to other new smartphones, which often have two, sometimes even three cameras.

Privacy and security features also could be top talking points about the Pixel 3 as Google and other big US tech companies try to bounce back from recent data breach scandals.

Google has been working on using a lot more machine learning to improve photos beyond better lens. For instance, it is intelligent enough not to pick photos featuring human subjects with closed eyes. It's also hiring photographer Annie Leibovitz to take pictures with the new Pixel in an effort to persuade consumers its camera is superior to the iPhone XS that Apple released last month.

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Speaking of Google Pixel 3 Xl, it shares nearly all the specifications of the Pixel 3.

Google has also added a second front-facing camera to the Pixel 3 that can take ultra-wide selfies.

"The camera has always been the talking point for the Pixel series and there will be strong expectations around its camera capabilities, especially when there are more smartphones with dual cameras in the premium segment", Mr Tarun Pathak, associate director at market research firm Counterpoint Technology, told The Straits Times.

"If you have a Google tattoo on you, then these are the phones for you", IDC analyst Ramon Llamas said of the Pixel's limited appeal so far.

Google has added wireless charging to the Pixel 3 as well, which is compatible with its new Pixel Stand. The handsets are also capable of wireless charging. Placing the Pixel 3 on this stand turns it into a smart display that shows personalised information from Google Assistant. Google Pixel 3 sports dual front cameras with an 8MP wide-angle sensor with f/2.2 aperture, 97-degree field of view and fixed focus coupled with an 8MP secondary sensor with f/1.8 aperture, autofocus with phase detection, and 75-degree field-of-view. The smartphone runs Android 9.0 Pie out of the box. The smartphone is powered by the most powerful processor in the world - Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 clubbed with 4GB RAM along with Adreno 630 GPU. It also has a stylus for taking notes.

The tablet uses the company's Chrome OS - previously seen on its Chromebook laptops.

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