Google's is launching its first Google-branded phones.
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Google is getting back into making phones.
The search giant and creator of the Android operating system debuted its two newest flagship phones--the Pixel and the Pixel XL--at an event in San Francisco, CA today.
Google has previously helped design "Nexus" phones like the Huawei-made Nexus 6P and LG-made Nexus 5X, but the Pixel and Pixel XL will be the first phones to bear the Google brand, with the tagline "Phone by Google."
From a design and specification standpoint the two phones are similar to other current flagship smartphones on the market, with large high definition displays, 12-megapixel f/2.0 rear cameras, and metal bodies. The Pixel will offer a 5-inch display while the Pixel XL will have a 5.5-inch screen.
The first two features that Google focused on during the announcement were the built-in Google Assistant and the improved camera software. The Google Assistant allows you to have Siri-like interactions that can leverage the full power of Google's search results and the smart integration found in things like the Google Now launcher.
The camera was perhaps even more exciting. Google claimed the new phone was the best smartphone camera yet, and showed off numerous software features that can capture multiple images and either intelligently combine them to improve image quality or select the sharpest photo from a quick burst of shots. The Pixel also comes with Google Photos pre-installed, and will offer unlimited free storage of photos and videos at full quality.
Like the older Nexus-branded phones, the new Pixel phones will run a lightly modified version of the Android operating system, which will be cleaner than the "skinned" versions of Android you find on popular phones like the Samsung Galaxy S7. This typically results in faster performance thanks to the lack of pre-installed, redundant applications that usually just replace Google's own applications.
Google had briefly been involved in manufacturing its own phones when it acquired Motorola back in 2012, though it sold Motorola Mobility on to Lenovo in 2014. Though Motorola did make Nexus phones during that time, none of those phones featured the Google brand.
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