No more leaks this time — Google’s finally officially unveiled the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.
The company formally showed off its latest flagship smartphones after weeks of leaks, including a full unboxing video from Engadget. Google teased at all the leaks in a tweet on Monday, writing, “so you think you know…”
How to watch:
The Pixel 3 will start at $799, while the Pixel 3 XL starts at $899. The Pixel Stand, a wireless charger that works with the phone, will sell for $79. US residents can buy the phone starting on Oct. 19, and it’ll be in more markets on Nov. 1.
The Pixel 3 looks to take on the best phones on the market with Google’s greatest weapon: its artificial intelligence. While much of its hardware specs have already leaked, like its 6.3 inch display and 128GB of storage, it’s the software features that Google will be boasting about for the Pixel 3.
Rick Osterloh, Google’s senior vice president of hardware, started the event by showing off all the AI tools that the Pixel 3 will be able to use with the help of Google Assistant.
“They come at the intersection of AI, software and hardware working together,” he said. “This approach is what makes Google’s hardware experience so unique and it unlocks all kinds of helpful benefits.”
He talked up the Pixel 3’s ability to use AI to improve the phone’s camera, relying more on data gathered from millions of Google Image searches than impressive hardware.
“Pixel’s camera completely rethinks how images are captured, and we can trace that intelligence back to Google Images,” Osterloh said.
On Google’s blog, the company called the Pixel 3 the “most helpful device in your life,” pointing out that the Smart Assistant can answer while the phone is charging and the camera is designed so that it “won’t miss a shot.”
That comes with a feature Google is introducing called “Top Shot,” which uses AI to pick the best moments to take a picture. Other features include “Night Sight” to take low light pictures without flash, and Super Res Zoom to improve zooming in without losing quality in images.
The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL comes in three colors with cheeky names by Google: Just Black, Clearly White and Not Pink. It’ll have a glass back with matte and glossy textures in two-tone backing.
Both phones are larger than last year’s model, with the Pixel 3 at 5.5 inches and the Pixel 3 XL at 6.3 inches.
The Pixel 3 will have two front-facing cameras for Google’s “Group Selfie Camera” to get more details and scenes in the frame. Google said the second camera captures “184 percent more of the scene” as the iPhone XS.
The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL will be Google’s third time at bat against hardware rivals like Apple, Samsung and Amazon. Google unveiled its first Pixel Phones in 2016, signalling that the company was investing more in its own branded hardware to compete with Apple and Samsung in the premium segment. It’s now one of the premier Android smartphones despite a deeper bench of phone makers in the market.
Since then, the company has invested more heavily in its “Made by Google” device lineup, which includes everything from virtual reality headset Daydream to video and audio streaming devices like its Chromecast.
The goal is to compete with Apple, Samsung and Amazon to get its gadgets into your pocket and home. Specifically, Google has been pushing its Assistant software, a digital helper akin to Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri, in a quest to meet users — and their data — everywhere in their daily lives.
“For a life on the go, we designed the world’s best camera and put it in the world’s most helpful phone,” Osterloh said.
In May, Google announced 500 million devices have shipped globally with the Assistant on them, including speakers, phones and TVs. The company also said the Assistant now partners with 5,000 household connected devices, up from 1,500 in January.
Google wants to sell you phones and smart speakers because it knows people aren’t searching for things on Google.com from their desktop computers anymore. They’re telling their Google Home devices to play curated playlists, or using maps on their smartphones to navigate to their favorite restaurants.
The more Google knows about you and your interests, the more valuable its ads become to marketers who pay the company to target potential buyers based on their likes, dislikes, age, interests and even location. The company makes about 90 percent of its $100 billion in annual sales from advertising.
Originally published on Oct. 9 at 5 a.m. PT.
Updated on Oct. 9 at 8:23 a.m. PT: To include more details on the Pixel 3, at 8:34 a.m. PT: with details from Google’s blog, at 8:57 a.m. PT: with prices, at 9 a.m. PT: with details on Group Selfie Cam, at 9:10 a.m. PT: with details on release date.
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