UK press gathered in great numbers at an atmospheric warehouse conversion in East London to watch the live cast of Google launching its latest and greatest hardware in front of a live audience while those across the world watched the live stream.
While we've been used to Google hosting annual Nexus launch events every year to give phone buyers a pure Android experience, today we witnessed the internet giant following the course by launching two new phones next month, except that the company doesn't like the Nexus name anymore. The new phones are named Pixel and Pixel XL.
In terms of looks, there is very little separating Pixel phones with last year's Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P phones. The phones feature similarly-sized displays, curve smoothly on all four ends and the cameras are located where they were in Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P phones, thus continuing the Nexus design format while addressing performance issues and introducing new features. Google have taken a leaf out of Samsung’s book and gone for the glass back on the Pixel but obviously not carried it through. So while the top is round edged glass, the bottom half is all metal.
The entire camera stack in Pixel and Pixel XL have be resesigned and the phone received a rating of 89% on image quality from DxO. The cameras feature 1.55micron pixels, HDR+ for clear and vivid pictures. There is zero shutter lag and you can can keep capturing pictures using SmartBurst which helps you select the best, and the most sharp picture from the burst you might have clicked. Video stabilisation helps record stutter free videos so you can help avoid the halo effect. Google Photos is available on all Pixel phones.
On the software front, Pixel and Pixel XL run the latest Android 7.0 Nougat operating system and feature Google's two new apps- Allo and Duo for instant messaging and video calling. Thanks to the latest operating system, the phones also feature swipe-down and notification options and a few new toggles in settings. The phones will be compatible with Google's Daydream VR and it is possible that Google may ship free Daydream View headsets with Pixel and Pixel XL purchases for a limited time.
Hardware-wise, the 5-inch Pixel smartphone arrives featuring a Full HD display, a 64-bit octa-core Snapdragon 821 processor, 32GB to 128GB of internal storage, 4GB of RAM and a 2,770 mAh battery. Both the larger 5.5-inch Pixel XL, which was earlier code-named Marlin, and the smaller 5-inch Pixel (code-named Sailfish) phones come with Sony's IMX378 (12-MP) main cameras and IMX179 (8-MP) front cameras.
Thge larger Pixel XL phone, which is now the successor of the popular Nexus 6P flagship phone, features a larger display and a more powerful battery compared to Pixel and the differences end there as both phones feature similar software and hardware suites.
We always love surprises, and given that Nexus phones have never been spectacular hits, it will be interesting to see how Google will market the new phones and how it intends to make users picture the Pixel or Pixel XL as better offerings compared to the latest iPhones or Samsung's Galaxy S7 range.
Google also launched its neew Dardream VR headset made from soft microfibre which not only makes it soft and cozy but also 30% lighter than other VR headsets. The headset fits nicely over eye glasses and connects wirelessly with phones to make getting into VR easy.
Hidden inside the Daydream VR headset is a bunch of sensors that respond to how you move and which is really powerful so you can draw with it. J.K Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and where to find them experience is available to explore on DayDream and Netflix, Hulu and HBO are onboard as partners. Google Play Movies, Google Photos, Streetview and YouTube are all on Daydream, thus making VR more universal than it ever was.