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To the excitement of the tech industry, Google have recently unveiled the brand new Pixel smartphone. The device reflects the company’s first attempt at vertical integration, taking on full responsibility from top to bottom, software to hardware, of a product that looks extremely likely to take on the big names in the smartphone market.

Google could not have planned the release of the Pixel at a better time. Apple is amidst a public backlash over the proposed iPhone 7 and its lack of hardware features, while Samsung is dealing with a humiliating series of events which has seen their Note 7 called back due to accidents involving spontaneous combustion. Airlines have now banned the Note 7 device over safety concerns, and Samsung have set up temporary swapping booths in various airports so users can exchange or receive a refund for their devices.

In comes the Pixel.

At first glance the device looks like a well-designed iPhone counterfeit you might find in one of China’s many fake Apple shops, and maybe that was intentional. Google wants to go toe-to-toe with Apple and have conceded to the fact that people have taken very well to Apple’s aesthetic design in recent years. With the iPhone model closing in on double digits, it comes as no surprise that Google has taken a leap of faith to leave the Nexus behind and start from scratch with their sleekly built device.

The Pixel is to be released alongside its bigger brother the Pixel XL. Both boasting 4GB of RAM, a 12megapixel camera and a quad core CPU, the only difference between them being an extra 0.5inch display with the Pixel XL. The new smartphone was shown at Google’s Pixel event that also saw the unveiling of other products including Google Home and the company’s attempt at a virtual reality, Daydream VR.

Throughout the event there was strong recurring themes of artificial intelligence, something both you and I have been contributing to over years and years of using Google’s renowned search engine. According to Google CEO, Sundar Pichai, “We [Google] have got really good at helping people figure out what they want to know”, and the improvement of their AI is now a feature of all Google’s hardware ventures, including the Pixel. Google assistant is the companies’ version of Siri, and they fully intend to compete with the likes of Amazon and Facebook to become the commercial standard for voice-enabled AI in the near future.

Google has put a lot of effort into its new flagship smartphone and it will be interesting to see how the battle for top spot will transpire once it is released to the public. For Samsung the Pixel can only come as bad news with a never ending saga surrounding its Note 7, Google will look to topple them as Android’s top dog and to take on Apple in the coming years.

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