At their live event today, Google officially revealed the next generation of Pixel smartphones, the Google Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL. With all of the leaks over the last few months there is not much to be surprised by, but we do have all of the official details. In terms of an overall strategy with the devices, Google did move to differentiate the two models in the line by increasing the size of the Pixel 2 XL from last year’s 5.5-inch screen to a 6-inch screen. Meanwhile, the Pixel 2 carries forward with the same 5-inch screen as last year’s model.
From a design standpoint, Google carries over the glass panel on the back but it has been shrunk down in size. This did result in moving the fingerprint sensor out of the glass panel portion. Although slight, the camera lens does jut out slightly now as well. Otherwise, the design is very similar to last year’s devices. In one interesting little change, Google made the power button on the Pixel 2 a different color – a bit of pop – just to be fun.
One new feature that has been added is “Active Edge” which clearly comes from HTC’s technology incorporated into the HTC U11. Perhaps due to the recent deal to acquire portions of HTC, Google was able to extend this capability to the larger Pixel 2 XL despite it being from a different manufacturer.
Another new feature will be support for an always-on display that shows information like time, date and notifications. Google also noted that they are incorporating an always-on microphone. One use of this will be to constantly listen for music being played and display information like title and artist on the always-on display.
Google spent some time during their presentation today showing off the camera. Among the highlights was the announcement that the new camera achieved a DxOMark score of 98, the highest ever for a smartphone camera. Google also noted that the camera will support depth in pictures via software algorithms instead of relying on a dual lens setup like most other manufacturers do.
Both phones will be available for pre-order starting today. The regular Pixel 2 starts at $649 and the larger Pixel 2 XL will start at $849. Google indicated that in addition to the Google Store, pre-orders can be placed through Verizon. The initial launch countries for the Pixel 2 devices include Australia, Canada, Germany, Indai, the U.K. and the U.S. The devices will be coming soon to Italy, Singapore and Spain. In some markets, Google is throwing in a free Google Home Mini with pre-orders. The Pixel 2 will be available in Just Black, Clearly White and Kinda Blue. The Pixel 2 XL comes in Just Black and Black & White.