After Google’s ground-breaking announcement about its first phone, our developers (specifically our Android devs) went nuts. I thought, here comes another contestant in the the ultimate smartphone battle, and it couldn’t have entered the ring at a better time than right when Samsung’s phones start melting. So far, according to Business Insider, Google's Pixel phones are already sold out; some versions sold out minutes after Google made them available for purchase in the Google Play store. And yes, while Google is arriving late to the party, the tech giant will have an uphill battle against Apple and will need to continue to innovate in both the hardware and software aspects.
Here are some of the awesome features included in the first version of Pixel and Pixel XL.
What developers are saying about Nougat
Android Nougat is new to the Android family, but has already proved itself with the 250+ major features in the software, most notably including VR mode to provide high quality experiences. The VR mode is something unique to Nougat for Android phones. These hundreds of new features put Android in close competition with iOS software, making Android phones more powerful, productive and secure.
According to Android Developers blog, “it introduces a brand new JIT/AOT compiler to improve software performance, make app installs faster, and take up less storage,” Dave Burke, VP of Engineering at Google, says. “It also adds platform support for Vulkan, a low-overhead, cross-platform API for high-performance, 3D graphics. As always, Android is built with powerful layers of security and encryption to keep your private data private, so Nougat brings new features like File-based encryption, seamless updates, and Direct Boot."
Recently, Burke announced the release of the developer preview of Nougat 7.1, and he encourages developers to get their apps ready. You can find all the developer insights on Nougat on the Android Developer blog.
Google’s power to convert an Apple Fanboy
One thing I thought was extremely interesting and could potentially be me in the next few months is the 9-year iPhone veteran Elliot Jay Stocks explaining his story about switching to Google. Here are some of the highlights of his story:
- The unbelievable camera
The main reason for switching to Android is the amazing camera abilities Pixel has to offer. “It’s the best camera I’ve used on a phone without a doubt, both in terms of the end result and the usability of the software,” Stocks says.
- A clean, organized home screen
The home screen is very customizable and much more organized than iOS. “This, in my opinion, is a far better experience than iOS, where you’re forced to find a position and / or folder for every app you have installed. If you’re like me and likes to keep things clutter-free, you’ll love this.”
- Google integrated into everything
Elliot touches on the fact that everything you do in the phone is powered by Google, and Google makes life easier.
“For example, I was making the note of an electrician’s number I saw on a van parked on our street; I called the number and hung up before it rang so that I could store it easily. Before I could save the recently-dialled number to my contacts, the company name appeared all by itself — Google had already identified it.”
- The most intelligent assistant
We all know Siri is nice, but most of the time can’t understand what you’re saying and gets information incorrectly. Google Assistant on the other hand is nothing like that.
“It’s just very fast and very accurate. And being aware of context puts it above any other AI I’ve seen. For instance, ask it to search for an actor and then ask, “what films has he starred in?” It knows you’re still talking about the same person. Impressive.”
- A few subtle, nice changes
Elliot talks a lot about the smooth, fast software (Android’s software Nougat) that runs on the phone. The animations are nice, the personalization takes the cake.
“This is hard to describe — you just need to try it. The net result is that the whole OS feels snappy and responsive; something iOS never quite seemed to master."
With the unique, advanced features combined with a smooth, secure software, Google Pixel is seeming very appealing with my phone upgrade around the corner. And while Apple loves to claim its “most innovative phone yet” at each announcement, I haven't been too impressed. I’m looking forward to the software updates and learning more about Pixel, and I know our developers are excited to start developing some Android apps with all of the Nougat capabilities.
For more insight from Erin, read her post on the 5 reasons to go with native app development.