Google’s new smartphone models, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, are designed to do one thing really well – connect to Google’s services.
It is a year since Google’s original Pixel smartphone was launched, marketed as Google’s first own-built phone to compete with Samsung and Apple.
Other than forgoing the headphone jack in lieu of a USB-C port dongle, the design of the Pixel 2 departs considerably from Apple’s devices.
Google has moved the fingerprint sensor into the centre of the phones’ back, and the devices look and feel different to iPhones and Samsung devices.
Their plastic-like coating is a sensory departure from the metallic and glassy covers of other phones – certainly the handsome all-glass slab look of the iPhone X.
The smaller model will set consumers back £629 when it is released on Friday, with the XL costing £799 – although that won’t be released until 15 November – but consumers will be purchasing the in-development Pixel 2 for its function, not its design.
Google and Apple are racing against each other to develop key augmented reality (AR) functions for smartphone devices.
While the different devices that Android runs on makes Apple’s work lighter, Google has the leeway to concentrate on the Pixel phones now following its acquisition of HTC for $1bn in September.
Google began as a web search engine and its capacity to direct internet traffic had a profound effect on the digital world.
As its users have moved to mobile devices to interact with its services, the company is again hoping to assert its centrality to modern technology with a search function.
Google Lens is a visual search engine feature which uses computer vision technology – a form of artificial intelligence – to bring up information about an object from a photograph of it.
At first, Google Lens will help users identify landmarks, objects and shops on the high street – bringing up reviews, opening hours and contact information – but the ability to use the phones’ AR to live-translate different texts is rumoured too.
Next month, wireless headphones called Pixel Buds may offer real-time audio translation as well.
Reviewers have celebrated the Pixel’s long battery life and camera – as well as its functionality.
Its crash-test dummy colour schemes might put off those already holding out for the luxury-branded iPhone X, as may its limited release with EE but for others, especially Android fans, its unfinished qualities will remain a major selling point.