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Last Updated Tuesday June 27 2017 09:07 AM IST

Google announces its Pixel and Pixel XL flagship smartphones | Video, pix

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Google unveils Pixel, says it has the 'best smartphone camera ever' Rick Osterloh, SVP Hardware at Google, introduces the Pixel Phone by Google during the presentation of new Google hardware in San Francisco, California, U.S., Tuesday. Photo: Reuters

Key points

» Google Pixel phone features unlimited photo and video storage, 7 hours battery life on 15 minute charge

» Google Pixel phones to come in two models, price starting at $649

» In India, the price of Google Pixel phones will start at Rs 57,000

» Pixel is available for pre-order from Tuesday in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Germany and the U.K.; In India, pre-orders start on October 13 and it will be available via Flipkart, Croma and Reliance Digital

» Google also introduces 'Daydream View', a virtual reality headset that can also be worn over spectacles

» Pixel is the first Daydream View-ready phone, with sensors and displays all tuned for virtual reality. It comes with a headset and controller and can be worn over spectacles

» Google also announces Google WiFi router

» Pixel phones come in black, blue and silver; it will have 5 and 5.5 inch (12.7 cm and 14 cm) screens

San Francisco: Alphabet Inc's Google announced a new 'Pixel' smartphone at an event Tuesday, the company's latest effort to sell consumers on a Google-branded device and to challenge Apple Inc's iPhone at the high end of the $400 billion global market.

Pixel smartphone will be availabile with a five-inch display or a 5.5 inch display, starting at $649 for US customers, at similar prices to the latest iPhone models.

The phone's price in India will start at Rs 57,000. The pre-ordering of the device will start in India on October 13.

"It's the first phone made by Google inside and out," said Sabrina Ellis of the Pixel product management team.

Google's decision to launch with a single carrier echoes Apple's agreement to launch the original iPhone with AT&T, a deal that gave Apple unprecedented control over the look of the phone and how it worked.

While most vendors other than Apple use Google's Android operating system, the company has for years toyed with various approaches to building its own hardware without alienating manufacturers such as Samsung Electronics, the world's top smartphone maker.

Daydream - virtual reality platform

Google also announced a 'Daydream View' virtual reality headset, which will be available in November for $79, in time for the end-of-year shopping season.The web giant announced Google Wifi too at the event.

Along with being the first smartphone to ship with Google Assistant, it will come with unlimited storage for photos and videos and be compatible with the company's new Daydream virtual reality platform.

Pixel also has a special program to make it easy for users to switch operating systems, say from an iPhone to and Android, by simply transfer contacts, content and even iMessages, according to Ellis.

Google Daydream View Clay Bavor, VP of Virtual Reality for Google, introduces the Daydream View VR headset during the presentation of new Google hardware in San Francisco, California, U.S., Tuesday. Photo: Reuters

Google announced an exclusive deal with US telecom provider Verizon for Pixel sales. Ellis said the company is working with service providers in other countries.

The version for sale at Google's online shop is 'unlocked' to work with various carriers.

'Next big innovation'

Google hardware chief Rick Osterloh announced the Pixel phone shortly after the event began, adding that the camera was the best available on a smartphone. The new phone can get a 7-hour charge in 15 minutes, the company said.

"We are building hardware with the Google Assistant at its core," said Osterloh, head of a new hardware division at the California-based internet giant.

"We believe that the next big innovation is going to take place at the intersection of hardware and software, with AI at the center."

Pixel phones will come in black, blue and silver and will have 5 and 5.5 inch (12.7 cm and 14 cm) screens.

Google Pixel Sabrina Ellis (right), Director of Product Management at Google, speaks about the new Pixel phone during the presentation of new Google hardware in San Francisco, California, U.S., Tuesday. Photo: Reuters

Google has sold Nexus phones since 2010, but the devices have gained little traction in a market dominated by Samsung Electronics.

Analysts attribute the lackluster sales to poor distribution, as the phones typically are not available through network carriers, the channel most U.S. consumers rely on. Google also owned the Motorola smartphone business briefly before selling it to Lenovo Group.

Because its mobile software is available so widely, Google has struggled to distinguish its own devices, said analyst Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research.

Shares of Alphabet were up about half a percent in midday New York trade.

The Pixel phone represents an important move in an intensifying battle between Google and other tech giants to establish the dominant 'digital assistant'.

Google Assistant, Amazon's Alexa and Apple's Siri are vying for supremacy as more people search the web and make purchases online through voice commands, which may eventually supplant keyboards and touchscreens as the primary means of controlling some digital devices.

(With agency inputs)

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