International giant Google will be launching its state-of-the-art Pixel smartphone in Singapore, armed with machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities. The launch will take place on November 15 in Singapore, making it the first South East Asian country to have the device.
Google has partnered with Singtel in an exclusive deal to sell the Pixel 2 XL device in Singapore from November 15.
The second-generation Pixel smartphone is equipped with diverse features including Active Edge and Google Lens.
Elaborating on the new smartphone, Rick Osterloh, senior vice-president of Hardware, Google, said, “The search giant has invested heavily in machine learning and artificial intelligence, and it has now integrated these elements deeply with its latest handset.”
The Active Edge function allows users to squeeze it to activate certain functions such as Google Assistant. It is similar to the Edge Sense feature introduced by the HTC U11 earlier this year.
The most important feature of the smartphone will be Google Lens which is a software innovation which will debut via its Photos app first before being rolled out to Google Assistant, and available on Pixel first. It is a kind of 'a new set of visual smarts' that would allow users to, for instance, copy and share Web addresses from posters or save phone numbers and email addresses from images of business cards.
Google Lens gives users the ability to learn more about the world about them as they would be able to look up landmarks, books, music albums, movies and artwork by clicking on the icon in Photos.
“Lens builds on Google’s advancements in computer vision and machine learning, combined with our Knowledge Graph which underpins Google Search,” said Queiroz said in a Google blog post announcing the phone.
The camera of the Pixel 2 has unique features. It is possible for users to take portraits using both the front and back cameras - without needing a second camera to achieve the effect.
Google also made its first foray into the wireless earphones space with the launch of its Pixel Buds. Users can play music, make a phone call or get directions without having to pull out their phones. It can also go “eyes free” by reading out incoming notifications or messages, when necessary, said Adam Champy, product manager for Google Pixel Buds.
For launching its smartphone, Google has entered into partnerships with local telcos in Spain and Italy. In Singapore, it has partnered with Singtel.
Singtel said it will bring in the Pixel 2 XL device as Google’s exclusive telco partner, and the device will be launched on Nov 15. Those keen can register their interest for the smartphone at singtel.com/googlepixel on Oct 5.
Singtel added, “The Pixel 2 XL is a Category 11 4G LTE device, which would allow customers to experience data speeds of up to 500Mbps across Singapore. While it does not have wireless charging, as offered by rival devices such as iPhone 8 and iPhone X, Singtel said the device will come with a “long-lasting battery with seven hours of battery from 15 minutes of charge” using the provided USB-C charger.
Google said Singapore will get the Black and White and Just Black models at launch. Other details such as the retail price will be revealed nearer the local launch date.
There are diverse choices for Singaporeans in terms of having their pick of the latest and best high-end smartphones in the market, with the Samsung S8 and Apple’s iPhone 8 devices already available and the iPhoneX on its way come November 3.