The Google Pixel - what we learned

So, yesterday was the day... every year around this time, the Android fanboys kick it on Youtube and listen for what their new dream device by Google will be and when can they buy it.

In past years we followed #NexusHype and waited to see what Nexus would accompany the new Android version, and what new features that version would implement.  I've kept track of it on our 'database page'.

After today, I'm somewhat unsure where I should put this new device on that series, or should I just start a new tab... ?

Aside from the name shift from Nexus to the Pixel, there's a clear distinct shift away from the developer focused device to the mainstream user.

Let's look at this new transition of a more hardware focused Google.

If you haven't watched yet, you can jump on to the live stream recording (it'll start about the 25min mark)

Is it just me, or did I not hear the word Android... it's really "Google" this time around.

Okay, so the main feature was the new Pixel.  And I'm just going to say it.  It looks like an iPhone.  Really.  I'm not upset, but really, could they not realize what they've opened themselves up to?  This is going to be the biggest sticking point of anti-Googlers for a long time.

Most talked about for the Pixel was Google's Assistant, a new feature that takes Google Now, or Now on Tap (wait, sorry, it's called Screen Search) and gave it some steroids.  Personally, I didn't see it being that much 'stronger' than what we had already, but it's definitely more attractive.

Next up they mentioned the quality of the camera.  Hrmm... a 1.55um pixel that's not as new compared to what they've done in the past, but what they have talked up was the gyroscopic stabilization of the video wihtout that fluid-y look we've seen in others.  I also noticed they mentioned the HDR+ feature, that instead of long exposures, they were doing series of shorter bursts (still not sure how that will allow you to get enough light to resolve images ... but I'm no scientist).

The knockout punch in the talk about the phone was that it received a rating of 89 from DxO, which is higher than any other camera has gotten yet (well, from smartphones).  That's pretty impressive.  So, despite what you may think of it "only being 12MP", it'll definitely do you well.

Another neat thing they mentioned about the new device was how it would provide it's OTA updates.  Well, I thought this was how it handled it in the past, but maybe it's new.  Now, it'll download the OTA in the background and then apply the update in the background, so you'll just get a notification to restart to see the new changes.

What was especially interesting, was that when they said it, as they said in other areas as they talked about all their new services was that 'it just worked'.

That phrase was used over and over... maybe I'm just sensitive to it.

Now, it was funny how they talked all about the on screen search, or Google Photo recognition, etc.. as if it were brand new features.  From my perspective, you can definitely tell there was a shift in who they were talking to.

They are looking now at selling these devices to the average, every day user and purchaser of smartphones.  It may be a bit out of the range of the average person's wallet, but there is a distinct shift in focus on the wording.

Take the naming of the device.  Nexus was the standard for the developers.  "Hey, we have a great platform here, help us make cool stuff for it".  Nowadays, they have already made Android so mature that there wasn't that need of a 'demo line' any more.  Let's just make something that competes with everybody else.  Gone are the days of the 'Google subsidy' as well (my little joke on how Google kept the Nexus brands so cheap so to entice people to look at building their platform).  The variants of the Pixel range from $900 outright to $1179.

PixelPixel XL
Price (CDN)$899$1,049
Processor2.15GHz x2 + 1.6GHz x22.15GHz x2 + 1.6GHz x2
TypeSnapdragon 821Snapdragon 821
Storage32 or 128GB (+$130)32 or 128GB (+$130)
Rear Cam12MP (1.55um, f/2.0)12MP (1.55um, f/2.0)
Front Cam8MP (1.4um f/2.4)8MP (1.4um f/2.4)
ReleasedOct 2016Oct 2016
OtherGoogle AssistantGoogle Assistant
gyro stabilization for videogyro stabilization for video
(I was trying to figure out a 'venn diagram' type thing to show off the variants)

Now, I've had a few folks already drop hate on the Moto Z because it is going to be $900.  For the Pixel, this is $900 for a device with a lot less features.  Smaller, less resolution.

Google is being pretty balls-y with this move.  For the past while I was pretty amped up, thinking that I might be done with OEM specific phones (yes, we all know that HTC did make this phone, but they're not going to tell you that outright) and go with a "Nexus/Pixel/Google" phone so I can get proper updates.  But for $900 I can get the Moto Z, I personally don't see the edge to make me go Pixel.

Sure, it's a good phone, and like +Jace Hernandez said, there's a proven model... just look at the prices of the Samsung Note or the iPhone; people have, and will pay for it.

Will you?

You can order online at or it's starting to come up for pre-order on carriers now.  The phone will be available Oct 20.  So just 15 more days for those of you that want in on it.

I'm hoping that the mention of the embeddable Assistant SDK makes its way soon enough to other devices.  I'm not going to be using Allo.