Google Pixel & Google Pixel XL - silver & black

Focus is on Google Assistant with launch of two new Pixel smartphones

Google has delivered a keynote presentation which offered hints about the future of the company. The whole event was centred around artificial intelligence, and more specifically, Google Assistant.

Google Assistant is a digital helper which has been designed to make users’ lives easier, offering a more personal and friendly approach than the existing product Google Now.

Two new smartphones were introduced, the Pixel and Pixel XL, both of which have Google Pixel heavily integrated into their architecture.

When it comes to standout hardware features of the two Pixel handsets, Google clearly wanted to highlight the camera. Much was made of the Pixel’s DXOMark score of 89 – the highest-ever rating for a smartphone.

The Pixel is a 5-inch smartphone, while the Pixel XL has a 5.5-inch display. Apart from screen size, the new smartphones are identical in terms of specs.

Google has justified its move into the realm of designing smartphones by pointing to the benefits of being able to fuse hardware and software together. This means, however, that while Google Assistant will appear on future non-Google smartphones, it is unlikely to be made available to existing hardware.

Little attention was paid to Android itself, other than a brief mention that the new Pixel smartphones will run Android Nougat. This could very well have been a Samsung event, given how little emphasis was placed on the operating system.

There have been rumours that Google is planning to move away from Android towards a rumoured OS codenamed Andromeda. But those hoping for an unveiling of Andromeda were left disappointed, as no light was shed on Google’s mobile OS strategy.

Google also showed off Daydream View – a virtual reality headset that has been designed for comfort. And there was an update to Google’s much-loved streaming-media dongle, with Chromecast Ultra offering support for 4K video.

The Google Home speaker and Google WiFi router were also announced, although it appears that these two products will not receive a wide international release for the time being.