Google on Wednesday introduced the latest edition of its Pixel smartphone by touting an improved camera, a stronger digital assistant and better battery life.
The Pixel 2, rolled out in partnership with Verizon, will be available with 5-inch or 6-inch screens and in 64 GB or 128 GB sizes. The 5-inch Pixel 2 will retail for $649.99 at the 64 GB size and $749.99 at 128 GB, while the larger Pixel 2 XL will sell for $849.99 and $949.99, respectively.
“We want you to be able to ask even more from your phone,” Google Vice President and General Manager for Phones Mario Queiroz wrote in a blog post introducing the device.
The tech giant said that the camera in its latest smartphone improves on the industry-leading camera in the initial Pixel and includes better video capture and the ability to grab a few moments of footage before and after a picture is taken.
The phone will eventually allow users to add augmented reality “stickers” to photos and offers a preview of Google Lens, which can gather a wide range of information about items in a photo with the click of an icon.
Queiroz also wrote that the Google Assistant on the new phone can be summoned with a simple squeeze of the phone and will be able to manage more apps, dictate text messages more accurately and complete many tasks with a single command.
The screen will also display notifications without requiring the user to activate the phone, and a new “Now Playing” feature will display what song is playing nearby.
The Pixel 2 boasts “all-day” battery life and the company said that as little as 15 minutes of charging gives the phone a quick 7-hour boost to the battery. The Android 8.0 Oreo operating system also comes with “baked in” security features.
The introduction of the new Pixel comes as Google bolsters its efforts in tech hardware, and the company also rolled out new in-home assistant systems, earbuds, a Pixelbook laptop and virtual reality headset.
The equipment arrived just weeks after the company announced it will acquire part of Taiwanese tech company HTC’s smartphone workforce — many of whom were reportedly already working on the Google device — for $1.1 billion.
“Google’s hardware business is just getting started, and we’re committed to building and investing for the long run,” wrote senior vice president for hardware Rick Osterloh.