Google launches Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL: AI first phones for $649, $849
Google's bet is that smartphone hardware is a commodity and artificial intelligence will win the day. Can Google lead its hardware parade with Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL and compete with iPhone X and Samsung Note 8?
Google launched the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL phones in a move that shows how it aims to embed its artificial intelligence knowhow, be a serious hardware player, and ultimately compete with Apple's iPhone 8 and iPhone X as well as Samsung's Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8.
Toss in smartphones from the likes of Lenovo's Motorola unit and LG and you get a feel for what'll equate one helluva battle. Google's pitch is that it'll win with AI. Google's Pixel will be smarter and more simple in 6-inch and 5-inch versions with three colors: Kinda blue, Black, and Clearly white, according to the company. Pixel 2 will start at $649 and Pixel 2 XL will start at $849.
Simply put, Google, Amazon and Apple are increasingly in a face-off between mega vendors. The reality though is that hardware is the vessel for AI and "how computing should work." That reality is why Google bought its way back into hardware via a deal with HTC. "Computing should adapt to how people live their lives," said Pichai.
Pixel 2 first look: Google's launch event scene by scene (pictures)
AI first increasingly means hardware. "We've been working on hardware and software together," said Pichai, who added AI into the mix. "We're confident on our approach."
Google's AI-first goals include being conversational, ambient, contextual, and adaptable. "The rate we are seeing improvements with AI is incredible," said Pichai.
Here's the problem: Google's Pixel and Pixel XL look like other smartphones, so a tech buyer will have to get out of spec mode when making a purchasing decision. Rick Osterloh, head of Google's hardware unit, said components have leveled off. "We're taking a different approach. The next big innovation will happen at the intersection of AI, software and hardware," he said.
The specs of Google's Pixel pair may not wow you, but there's a leap of faith needed to spend money on AI's promises today. Indeed, Google emphasized AI over specs with the Pixel launch. Compared to recent Samsung and Apple flagship smartphone launches, Google barely mentioned specifications.
Google said both devices have the same specs because the company doesn't save better features for the larger device.