Yesterday, Google announced, among other things, two new smartphones, the Pixel, and the Pixel XL. The hardware for these devices is, for the most part, similar to other current high-end Android devices on the market. But it’s the software that really makes Google’s Pixel line stand out. The devices are the first to feature Google Assistant, which was previously only available through Google’s Allo messaging app, integrated into the operating system. They also include unlimited photo storage through Google Photos, and they are compatible with Google’s new VR platform, Daydream. A cause for concern among some, however, is the fact that these devices were announced as “Verizon exclusives”.
But what does that really mean? Does it mean that if you don’t have Verizon service, you won’t be able to use these devices? Fortunately for buyers, it does not. For those that want to purchase one of these devices at the full retail price up front, they can do that directly from Google’s store page. The devices will come unlocked, which means they will work on any of the four major U.S. carriers. “Verizon exclusive” simply means that the devices cannot be purchased directly from any other carrier. Verizon offers potential buyers two purchasing options. They can either buy the devices outright, or they can split the cost up over the course of their contract term. And buyers who pre-order one of the Pixel phones from Verizon will also receive a Daydream View VR headset for no additional charge. Google, however, offers a financing option of its own with very similar pricing options. While Verizon is offering the Daydream View promotion, which may make their offer more appealing to some consumers, the term “Verizon exclusive” can be a bit confusing for those who don’t understand that these phones will still work on their carrier of choice.
The Pixel packs a 5.0-inch full HD display and the Pixel XL has a 5.5-inch QHD display. Both devices include 4 GB of RAM, Snapdragon 821 processor, and 32 or 128 GB internal storage options. They run Android 7.1 Nougat out of the box and are available in 3 amusing colors, Quite Black, Very Silver, and Really Blue. The Pixel can be purchased from Google or Verizon starting at $649.99 (or around $27 per month), and the Pixel XL can be purchased from either seller for $769.99 (or around $32 per month). The devices are not on sale yet, but can currently be pre-ordered, and are scheduled for release on October 20, 2016.