Google has unveiled its new Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL smartphones. As expected, the new Pixel smartphones are bigger and more expensive, starting at USD 799 for the 5.5-inch Pixel 3 and USD 899 for the 6.3-inch Pixel 3 XL. Verizon again gets the exclusive for the phones in the US, in addition to Project Fi and the Google Store, and the phones will also launch in the UK, Japan, Canada, Germany, France, Australia, Singapore, Spain, India and Taiwan.
The smartphones continue Google’s quest to build artificial intelligence more deeper into its devices. The Google Assistant can be launched with a simple squeeze of the phone, and Google Lens can start with a long press in the camera. New is a feature to screen calls from unknown numbers. By tapping ‘Screen call’ when the call comes in, the user can find out who’s calling and why, as well as access a transcript of the caller’s responses to decide whether to pick up, respond by tapping a quick reply or mark the call as spam and dismiss.
Pixel users in the US will also get access to Google’s new Duplex technology, which allows Google Assistant to make simple calls like appointments. This feature will initially be available later this year in New York, Atlanta, Phoenix and the San Francisco Bay Area to help people book restaurant reservations, and will roll out to other US cities in the future.
Pixel Stand for smart display
Also new is the Pixel Stand, to support the new feature of wireless charging in the smartphones. The Qi wireless charger is sold separately, and in addition to charging the phone, turns the phone into a smart desktop display for notifications, music, videos and interactions with Google Assistant.
Other features of the Pixel include dual front speakers, IP68 certification for water and dust resistance, Android 9 Pie and a security chip custom-designed by Google called Titan M. In addition, customers who activate a Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL by 31 December 2018 will receive six months of YouTube Music Premium free, while unlimited cloud storage for photos and video in their original resolution is also available to all Pixel users. Without a standard headphones jack, the Pixel 3 also comes with a USB-C adapter.
AI photo functions
For photo buffs, the Pixel 3 introduces a range of new functions to optimise pictures. Top Shot uses AI to help capture the perfect photo with moving subjects, taking several alternate shots in HDR+, then recommending the best one. Super Res Zoom helps produce sharp details when zooming in on an image, and Night Sight enables photos in dark or low-lit environments.
Photobooth is another AI-driven feature, to recognize a smile or funny expression and take a selfie automatically, and Google also added front-facing stabilisation for videos. Portrait Mode helps create bokeh effects, even after the photo is taken, and the Playground allows users to add animated stickers and captions to photos. Google also secured exclusive access to characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe for Pixel users to add to their photos. – Telecom Paper