Alphabet-owned Google unveiled the Pixel 2 smartphone in two models on Oct. 4, along with a new family of hardware products such as Google Pixel Buds (wireless headphones). The Pixel 2 is the first smartphone built with an eSIM, an embedded SIM that lets you instantly connect to a carrier network. It also features a high-end camera, all-day battery life, and an improved Assistant.
As long as you’re a Project Fi subscriber, Google will use the devices’ built-in eSIMs to authenticate your cellular account. Project Fi is a mobile virtual network operator by Google. Prior to the release of the Pixel 2, no smartphone has ever used the eSIM standard.
With the Google Pixel 2, you “no longer need to go to a store to get a SIM card for wireless service, wait a few days for your card to arrive in the mall, or fumble around with a bent paper clip to coax your SIM card into a tiny slot,” said Joy Xi, Product Manager for Project Fi. “Getting wireless service with eSIM is as quick as connecting your phone to Wi-Fi.”
Xi explains that you’ll see the option to use eSIM to connect to the Project Fi network on all Pixel 2s purchased through the Google Store or Project Fi. Those already subscribed to Project Fi can simply power their Pixel 2 to begin setup. When you’re asked to insert a SIM card, just tap the button for SIM-free set up, and Google will “take care” of the rest.
“For now, we’re piloting eSIM on the newest Pixel devices with Project Fi,” said Xi. “We look forward to sharing what we learn and working together with industry partners to encourage more widespread adoption.”
Pixel 2 comes in two sizes. The 5-inch model comes with an OLED display in Just Black, Clearly White and Kinda Blude. The 6-inch XL model has a pOLED 18:9 display and comes in Just Black and Black & White.
The phones are powered by Android 8.0 Oreo and come with an always-on display. Both are available for pre-order now starting at US$649 in the US, Australia, Canada, Germany, India and the UK. The Pixel 2 XL will be available in Italy, Singapore and Spain later in the year.
Pixel 2 features an improved camera powered by computational photography and machine learning capabilities, allowing users to take high-quality portrait shots with perfect background blurs, from both the front and rear cameras. New motion photos capture a few seconds of video around the shot so you can relive the moment around the picture, explains Mario Queiroz, VP and GM for Phones at Google.
Video capture is also improved in Pixel 2, by combining both optical and electronic video stabilization giving users smooth video capture. The smartphone also has unlimited storage for all of the photos and videos taken. In addition, with Augmented Reality (AR) Stickers, you can add emojis and virtual characters to photos and videos.
Pixel 2 owners will also get an exclusive preview of Google Lens, which builds on Google’s advancements in computer vision and MS, combined with the company’s Knowledge Graph which underpins Google Search.
Using Pixel 2, you can look up landmarks, books, music albums, movies and artwork by clicking on the Lens icon in Google Photos. You can also use Google Lens to copy URLs and contact info from a picture of a business card, for example.
Pixel 2’s updated Google Assistant can be activated with a new feature called Active Edge. By giving the phone a squeeze – even when it’s in a case – you can talk to the Assistant.
Soon the Assistant on Pixel will be able to help with daily routines, according to Mario, just by using a simple phrase. For example, when you go to bed at night, with a simple “good night” the Assistant can silken your phone, turn off the lights, set your alarm and more.
The smartphone also features battery that lasts all day, based on the use of the included charger and a mix of talk, data and standby use with always on display. 15 minutes of charging will give you up to 7 house of phone usage. It’s also water resistant to the IP67 standard and comes with important security features.