Google Unveils Pixel, the 'First Phone Made by Google'

Alex Spencer

Google Pixel
Google has unveiled its Pixel smartphone, the long-rumoured replacement for Nexus, the company's previous flagship Android device line, which it has been producing since 2010.

The Pixel is being pitched as 'the first phone made by Google inside and out', as opposed to the Nexus devices, which were produced with hardware partners – though Google still isn't manufacturing the phones itself but through a partnership with HTC. Google told Ars Technica that there are "no plans" for any more devices with the Nexus name.

The handset is available in two sizes, standard (5”) or XL (5.5”), with a '2.5D' curved-edge Corning Gorilla Glass screen. The back of the device is partially glass, housing the 12.3MP camera and LED flash; a basic touch sensor which users can swipe to access notifications; and a 'Pixel Imprint' fingerprint sensor, "on the back of the phone where your finger expects it," as VP product management Brian Rakowski put it, in a non-too-subtle dig at the iPhone.

On the software side, Pixel will ship with Android 7.1 (Nougat) and promises to get all Google updates as soon as they are available, and is the first phone to come with Google Assistant – the company's Siri-style AI virtual assistant, introduced at the same San Francisco event.

This isn't the first time Google has used the Pixel name on its devices. There is already a Pixel C tablet on the market, though Google doesn't seem to be selling it as part of the same range. "We've used the Pixel name in the past for consumer hardware products that represented an overall premium Google experience," said Rakowski.

The Pixel will launch on 20 October in the US, UK, Canada, Germany, India and Australia, with the price starting at $649 (£599 in the UK).