Goodbye Nexus; Hello Pixel...

What a busy day if you are a Google or Android fan!

Google has brought the heat with their announcements today. Some pretty exciting stuff coming in the form of home automation, AI and new phones.

Let's talk about the phones. The Pixel and Pixel XL being announced bring the Nexus phone to the end of the line.

Starting in 2010 with the Nexus One, made by HTC, we have seen many different takes on the Nexus brand. All in all we saw 8 phones, four tablets, and two media players. In its infancy the Nexus program was supposed to give developers a reference device to show what the pure Google/Android experience is. It was how Google felt Android phone should be built.

The Nexus phones were popular amoung the small, yet vocal, enthusiast group of Android users, but failed to break into the mainstream like Samsung devices have. I wouldn't blame this on the phones specifically, as they were always good in their time, but they were typically only available through Google directly. Rather than be subsidized by carriers

Due to this and several other factors all culminated with the assumption that Google would sunset the Nexus brand and seek to go full Google with Google branded devices. Google has said, they do not plan to revive the Nexus brand.

It is sad to see the Nexus brand disappear, but at the same time, it is exciting to see Google continue to push directly into the market to combat the likes of Apple and their own Android OEM rivals.

So what are the Pixel phones?

They are not that dissimilar than the Nexus devices of days past. Much like last years Nexus devices, we have been given two different device. The Pixel and the Pixel XL. Sticking in line with the name of Googles new Pixel tablet device.

The biggest change is the removal of the Nexus branding, plus the addition of "G" for Google on the back of these devices. There is a lot of "made by" and "built by" Google floating around as well.

The Pixel devices are made by HTC, ship with Android 7.1 and have Google's new "Google Assistant" built into the device, replacing the Google Now branding and system.

Specs on the Pixel are as follows;

  • Android 7.1
  • Aluminum body
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 821, 2.15Ghz Quad-core processor
  • 5.0 inch, Quad HD (1080 x 1920p pixels,441 ppi) with Gorilla Glass 4
  • 4GB RAM
  • 32GB or 128GB internal storage, MicroSD expandable up to 2TB with Flex Storage
  • 12.3MP megapixel camera (1.55um big pixels f/2.0, OIS, 4K video recording)
  • 8MP front-facing camera
  • Fingerprint sensor, Gyroscope, Proximity, Ambient Light
  • Bluetooth 4.2
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • 2,770 mAh battery with fast charge
  • 143.8 x 69.5 x 8.6 mm
  • Weight: 143 grams
  • Colours: Really Black, Really Blue, Really Silver

Not too much changes for the XL; screen size and battery really.

  • Android 7.1
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 821, 2.15Ghz Quad-core processor
  • 5.5 inch, Quad HD (1440 x 2560p pixels, 534 ppi) with Gorilla Glass 4
  • 4GB RAM
  • 32GB or 128GB internal storage, MicroSD expandable up to 2TB with Flex Storage
  • 12.3MP megapixel camera (1.55um big pixels f/2.0, OIS, 4K video recording)
  • 8MP front-facing camera
  • Fingerprint sensor, Gyroscope, Proximity, Ambient Light
  • Bluetooth 4.2
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • 3,450 mAh mAh battery with fast charge
  • 154.7 x 75.7 x 8.6 mm
  • Weight: 168 grams
  • Colours: Silver, Black, Blue

Pricing, in Canada, is in the top tier with the likes of the iPhone 7 and Samsung Galaxy Note 7;

Google Pixel:
32GB: $899 (CAD)
128GB: $1,029 (CAD)

Google Pixel XL:
32GB: $1,049 (CAD)
128GB: $1,179 (CAD)

The new Pixel devices should be shipping in the next "2-3 weeks" and will be available from Google directly and from Rogers, Bell, Koodoo, Telus and Best Buy.

In the US pricing will start at the $649 USD point, up to $869 for the top tier XL model.

What do you think of the new Pixel devices? Does Google stand to gain ground by pushing the Google name over Nexus?