BREAKING: Google launches Pixel 2 and 2 XL with water resistance, ‘dual-pixel’ camera , and always-on display

Google has announced the second generation of its Pixel smartphones, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. While the Pixel 2 looks almost identical to its predecessor, the 2 XL has seen some substantial design changes: it’s jumping from a 5.5-inch display up to a 6-inch display, and that display now covers almost the entire face of the phone. It’s not a perfectly edge-to-edge look, but there are just the trimmest of bezels at the top and bottom of the screen.

The smaller Pixel is sticking with a 5-inch display, squared-off corners, and thick bezels. The difference is on the back, where on both new phones the glass accent at the top has been shrunken down, so that it no longer encases the fingerprint sensor. The Pixel’s camera lens has gotten larger and it now juts out from the back of the phone.

Both phones also support “Active Edge,” which means you can squeeze their sides to trigger certain actions. By default, it’ll launch the Google Assistant and silence phone calls. And then there are the Pixels’ cameras. They gave the Pixel 2 to DXO for early testing, and the phone apparently got a record-setting score of 98. For context, the iPhone 8 Plus comes in second with a 94.

Google is also adding its own version of the iPhone’s Live Photos, here called Motion Photos. They work pretty much exactly the same: Google will record a three-second clip around each photo and bundle it into the file. All Pixel owners will get to store all of their photos and videos in original quality, forever, on Google Photos.

The Pixel camera is also getting support for various augmented reality features. You’ll be able to add 3D characters and emoji into photos and videos and see them move around as you’re capturing the scene. Google is going to be partnering with third parties to add in some famous faces, starting with some cute re-creations of characters from Stranger Things. There are also supposed to be _Star Wars _stickers on the way.

Google has made some minor tweaks to the phone’s home screen, too. The most notable change is that there’s now a search box at the very bottom of the screen, beneath even the app dock. Up top, there’s now an “at a glance” agenda widget, which displays your upcoming meetings, as well as the date and temperature.

The phone will support an always-on display this year, to show the notifications and time. And this year’s Pixel will take advantage this to listen for music and display what you’re listening to on the screen, even if it’s something on the radio. Pixel phones will also be the first to get Google Lens. When you active it, you’ll be able to point the camera at various objects, like books and landmarks, and have Google automatically pull up information on them.

The Google Pixel 2 will ship in a trio of colors: Kinda Blue, Just Black and Clearly White, while the XL is clad in either Just Black or Black and White. Pricing for the smaller device with 64GB memory begins at $649, while the XL is $849. Pre-orders begin today, with every user who does pre-order getting a Google Home Mini as a bonus. The company has announced that it has Verizon on hand as a launch partner, and you'll also be able to buy it on the company's own Fi network.
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