Hello, Google Pixel
31 Jan 2017
Let me get this out of the way — I am a huge Apple fan and own pretty much the entire product line. I love Apple because of their control over hardware and software. So, when Google announced the Pixel last year I was curious to give it a try. We are working on an app for Brightpod so I used that as an excuse to get my hands on the Google Pixel (unadulterated Android + hardware controlled by Google) and decided it was time to give Android a spin.
Towards the end of last year, I watched the launch of the Pixel and felt that Google wants to take smartphones to another level — machine learning, deep learning, AI, virual reality and all the other hardcore mathematics stuff. Bottomlime, a phone should feel good as well as be super smart — contextually aware.
The hardware on the iPhone 7 and the Google Pixel is similar, give or take a few specs. You don’t make a decision on hardware but on the software and the ecosystem. This got me thinking….Siri does not know much about me as I use mostly Google services (even on the iOS) — Gmail, Google Apps, Google Maps, Google Calendar, Docs etc. If Google already has all this data then why not see if it helps me in my everyday life. Plus, I have never been impressed with Apple’s core software (Mail, Calendar, Numbers, Pages…).
Switching to Android was seamless. Transfer of data was smooth.
Phone has a good feel. Looks like the iPhone 6. The fingerprint scanner at the back is a nice touch. You can even swipe on the fingerprint scanner to drop down the notification bar on the screen.
The homescreen with the customization and widgets (a core feature of Android) lets your clear things up. My daughter loves it that you can actually see the wallpaper in the unlocked mode.
The ambient display notifications are great. I check this phone far less now which helps with focus.
Google Now reminds me to leave the office to pick up my daughter and tells me how much time it will take me to get to her class (map included). It even showed me a stock when it was down 2% today.
I think the best part of the Pixel is the contextually- aware Google Assistant. It beats Siri hands down. I asked Siri for my flight details this week and it asked me if it should check on Uber. Google Assistant quickly pulled it up. The assistant is contextual and answers follow-up questions very intuitively. I changed a calendar event without any trouble.
We have reached a sort of commoditization in smartphones so the future will be won by tailoring a unique personalized experience by the use of contextually aware smart software.
I do miss the sleekness of the iOS and how the iPhone feels and “it just works”. I have told myself that I am going to give Pixel a fair shot and see if it actually helps me in my day to day work.
Being curious is good :)
More on my experience in the next post. Stay tuned.