Google's new smartphone is a slim, sleek device with plenty of perks for businesses. That includes an improved virtual assistant, seamlessly security updates and tons of productivity-boosting software changes. It's set to launch exclusively on Verizon on Oct. 20 in the United States starting at $649 or $27 per month, and it'll also be available to buy unlocked on the Google Play Store. It's available for pre-order today in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Germany and the UK.
Here's a rundown of the features that will benefit business users.
1. Premium hardware
The newly-announced Pixel smartphone comes in two sizes. The standard Pixel has a 5-inch display, while the Pixel XL has a 5.5-inch display, which will make multitasking more comfortable.
Other hardware highlights include a sturdy aluminum design; a sharp and colorful AMOLED display; speedy performance from the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor and 4GB of RAM; and a fancy new camera with such features as image stabilization.
2. Software updates
The Pixel will run on Android 7.0 Nougat — the latest version of Google's mobile operating system — right out of the box. Nougat adds a bunch of business-friendly features, including new multitasking tools like split-screen multitasking, and a quick-switch feature that lets you switch between two apps with one tap. You also get enhanced security, including the ability to encrypt your system at the level of individual files; longer battery life thanks to a new automated low-power mode; and an improved messaging interface that makes it quicker and easier to fire off replies.
3. Google Assistant
Google Assistant is Google's version of Siri. It's essentially an updated version of Google Now, the company's existing virtual assistant software. Like Google Now, the Google Assistant app will let you schedule appointments, set reminders, place a phone call, hail a cab, perform simple web searches and a lot more with simple voice commands. Google Assistant improves that functionality by being more conversational. In other words, it keeps track of your conversation and lets you ask context-sensitive follow-up questions using natural language.
Say you're trying to schedule a dinner meeting with a client at a nearby restaurant. After asking Google Assistant to show you the restaurant's location on a map, you can say "book a table there." Your phone will know that you're talking about the same restaurant, and can then initiate a booking via the OpenTable app.
4. Seamless updates
Gone are the days of staring at a progress bar while waiting for a new system update to install. On the Pixel, system and security updates are downloaded as soon as they're available, then installed silently in the background. You'll be running the updates as soon as your reboot your device. Making security updates faster and easier to install means your work phone will always be as secure as possible.
5. Fast charging
The best work phone won't do you much good if it's always running out of juice. That's why fast charging is such a perk for workers; it lets you recharge your smartphone in just a few minutes. Google says Pixel will get up to 7 hours of extra battery life with just 15 minutes of charging, which will really come in handy for charging up during a short business flight layover. We'll have to wait to get our hands on the Pixel before we can comment on the phone's overall battery life, though.
6. Fingerprint security
Sure, plenty of smartphones come with fingerprint readers these days. But the rear-mounted reader on other Google smartphones is one of the best we've used. The sensors on Google's Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P are quicker and more reliable than any other smartphone fingerprint reader we've tested, and they're rear-facing orientation makes them really easy to reach. A fingerprint reader is a nice bonus for workers, since it lets you keep your work phone locked down without fussing with a password screen.