On Tuesday, Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) launched its own-brand smartphones, risking its relationship with current hardware partners.
Based on the latest statistics, four out of five smartphone users use Android, making it the leading smartphone operating system (OS) across the globe. Google, who is the creator of the said operating system held a hardware event on Tuesday where they launched their newest smartphones – the Pixel and Pixel XL , as part of a batch of new devices aimed at grabbing market share from Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN). Along with these gadgets, Google also introduced “Google Home”, a voice-responsive “smart speaker”, a VR headset, Wi-Fi routers and the latest version of its Chromecast streaming device.
Google’s Partnerships at Stake
According to analysis firm IHS Markit, Android may not be as dominant as the search giant thinks. In relation to Google’s recently launched Pixel smartphone, industry analysts say there are many factors that can potentially hurt Google’s relationship with manufacturers that currently rely on the software.
“We’re putting a stake in the ground for the Android ecosystem in terms of what we think is the best from both the software and hardware point of view, which has been developed and made by Google,” stated James Nugent, Pixel’s product manager.
The newly-launched smartphones are Google’s first devices to carry their branding without being associated with another manufacturer. A few years back the Mountain View, Calif.-based company partnered with hardware manufacturers like Samsung, LG, Motorola and Huawei to incorporate its software into other devices in an attempt to showcase the viability of Android as the leading OS choice for smartphone users. With the new release of its own hardware, Google has followed in the footsteps of Apple in terms of creating its own ecosystem. This strategy besides putting Google’s relationship with current hardware partners at stake, marks also the beginning of the fight between the two tech giants for the top premium smartphone.
Taking on Apple’s iPhone: A Quick Look at Google’s Pixel
In an attempt to take on Apple’s iPhone, Google went as far as attacking iPhone’s storage capacity. The company did that by showing a ‘storage full’ message from an iPhone, something Google said its smartphones would avoid with unlimited full res photo and video (4K included) backup using Google Photos’ cloud storage.
Google Pixel has a 5-inch screen while Pixel XL is a little bit wider at 5.5 inches, both with elegant aluminum bodies. Both the smartphones have Snapdragon 821, the latest processor from Qualcomm. They are also run by the most recent version of Android 7.1 Nougat.
The Pixel smartphones have 12-megapixel cameras which were awarded a rating of 89 by DxOMark, a camera analyst of over 9000 cameras, lenses, and mobile phones. Thanks to their large 1.55 micrometre pixels that help enhance photos taken on low light. The Pixel’s camera is currently the highest ranked smartphone camera, surpassing Apple’s iPhone 7 and Samsung’s Galaxy S7 Edge with a ranking of 87 and 88 respectively.
Another important Pixel feature is the new Google Assistant. Of course, it works just like Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri. The Google Assistant replaces Google voice search and Google Now which was previously available to other Android smartphones.
Google Pixel (5-inch) and Pixel XL (5.5-inch ) are meant to be the most powerful and most unified Android phones ever. Both models come in three different color options: Very Silver, Quite Black and Really Blue and are the same price as the iPhone 7, starting at $649 for the small one and $769 for the big one, or you can pay monthly for $27 a month. The smartphones will be available from Verizon and unlocked through the Google Store. They will be compatible with all four major U.S. carriers, too, as well as Project Fi.