Google Pixel and Nexus: a visible historical past of each mannequin up to now

Several years in the past, if somebody advised you they’d an Android cellphone, then it could have been secure to imagine they weren’t speaking about Google’s Pixel. Until just lately, “Android” had a a lot stronger affiliation with {hardware} from Samsung, OnePlus, Huawei, and even LG when it was nonetheless making telephones. But that mindset might lastly be shifting because the Google Pixel slowly good points extra identify recognition amongst the Galaxies of the world.

The objective of the Pixel is to deliver out one of the best of Android and invite producers and shoppers to see what Google’s working system might — and even perhaps ought to — seem like. After all, the iPhone’s at all times been recognized for its constant interface and cohesive ecosystem throughout Apple’s gadgets, whereas Android telephones have lengthy suffered from fragmentation resulting in main variations in how the OS felt throughout producers.

For Google, its technique to push out gadgets that it sees as the right type of Android is a feat deserving of recognition, regardless if it’s a runaway success amongst shoppers or not. The 2010 Nexus One, for example, bought Apple and Steve Jobs’ consideration. And Android as an OS was capable of tackle the iPhone in a manner that Blackberry, Palm, and Microsoft had been unable to do. Google discovered from among the finest within the business on find out how to construct telephones just like the Nexus line by partnering with producers like HTC, Samsung, LG, and Motorola — an organization Google owned for a short while.

Let’s take a stroll down reminiscence lane and see not solely each Pixel cellphone Google has made but additionally the telephones that result in it:

Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

The Pixel 6A is the most recent cellphone launched by Google and is a part of the inexpensive lineup that usually focuses on having one of the best accessible digital camera. But with the Pixel 6A, Google is as an alternative specializing in efficiency by together with its new Tensor chip. That means the 6A makes use of final 12 months’s 12MP sensor. The cellphone is slightly smaller than the 6 with a 6.1-inch display screen, and it solely has a 60Hz refresh charge. There’s no wi-fi charging, much less RAM, and Google eliminated the headphone jack that got here with each A-line cellphone earlier than it. Like the Pixel 6, the 6A has the brand new digital camera bar design and under-display fingerprint sensor, although it’s utilizing plastic as an alternative of glass on the rear. But at $449, $150 cheaper than the Pixel 6, it’s among the best offers in smartphones proper now.

Pixel 6 Pro and Pixel 6

Photo by Becca Farsace / The Verge

Google went for a complete redesign with the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro in an effort to deliver its telephones again to aggressive flagship standing. It makes use of premium steel and glass supplies, has a definite new digital camera bar design, and lets go of the dependable rear fingerprint scanner in favor of a slower under-screen one. The firm debuted its customized Tensor chip, which powers AI and Machine Learning on the Pixel 6, and it has new digital camera sensors for the primary time in years. Both have extensive and ultrawide cameras, however the Pro has a telephoto and in addition a wider and higher 11MP front-facing digital camera. They’re big in comparison with the 5: the Pixel 6 ($599) has a 90Hz 6.4-inch display screen, and the Pro ($899) has a 6.7-inch 120Hz one with curved edges. The Pixel 6 helps Sub-6GHz 5G and mmWave, although the latter shouldn’t be on the unlocked mannequin. The Pixel 6 Pro has each 5G choices it doesn’t matter what mannequin and in addition has 12GB of RAM vs the common 6’s 8GB.

Google Pixel 5A.

Photo by Allison Johnson / The Verge

The Pixel 5A did midrange proper. For $449, you bought a bigger-than-ever 6.3-inch show, wonderful battery life, IP67 waterproofing, a headphone jack, 128GB of storage, a steel physique, and the identical Snapdragon 765G from the Pixel 5. There’s no wi-fi charging, although, and though the 5A had 5G, it didn’t have help for mmWave like some 4A 5G fashions, plus it lacked C-band 5G regardless of Google admitting the {hardware} is there. It additionally got here in only one shade known as “mostly black,” although it seemed like a darkish inexperienced and was complemented by a mint-green energy button.

The Google Pixel 5

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Google launched only one model of the flagship Pixel in 2020, and it fully let go of the experimental Project Soli options that the Pixel 4 telephones had. Gone was the massive brow that additionally had the infrared face unlock characteristic; now there was only a hole-punch digital camera and skinny bezels throughout. The Pixel 5 was introduced on the identical day because the 4A 5G, however the latter shipped a month later. Both telephones shared the identical Snapdragon 765G processor and in addition the actually good extensive and ultrawide cameras. The Pixel 5 at $649 was $200 greater than the 4A 5G, although, however you bought IP68 waterproofing, 8GB of RAM in comparison with 6GB, a premium aluminum design, wi-fi charging, and a 6-inch 90Hz OLED display screen in comparison with an solely barely larger 6.2-inch at 60Hz on the 4A 5G.

Pixel 4A and Pixel 4A 5G (2020)

The power button on the Pixel 4A 5G is the only playful part of the design

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

The Pixel 4A was launched about two months earlier than the 4A 5G, and the Pixel 5 was launched in between the 2. The 4A was probably the most inexpensive Pixel but at $349 and got here with a large 5.8-inch display screen with a hole-punched entrance digital camera that lastly gave the Pixel thinner bezels. You bought one digital camera on the 4A, however just like the 3A, it was superb regardless of missing a picture processor that sped issues up between snaps. The 4A 5G had a much bigger 6.2-inch display screen and included an ultrawide digital camera that took the place of the Pixel 4’s telephoto. The 5G model was costlier at $499, but it surely additionally had a quicker processor and bigger battery than the Pixel 4A. Google did avoid wasting cash by not including water resistance scores and wi-fi charging to the 4A pair, however in alternate, you bought the headphone jack once more.

Verge Score: 8 out of 10 and seven.5 out of 10 (5G)

Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL (2019)

A Pixel 4 XL displaying the Android 11 logo

Photo by Dieter Bohn / The Verge

If I needed to describe the Pixel 4 and 4 XL in a single phrase, it could be “ambitious,” however that’s not in one of the best of how. Google determined to make its Project Soli radar expertise the star of the present that 12 months, which enabled options like waving your hand to snooze your alarm or skip music tracks. It might even inform when you had been sitting close to your cellphone or reaching for it with a characteristic known as presence, and it might get up forward of time as you choose it up. The concepts had been cool, however they didn’t work very reliably. Combined with a brand new infrared sensor for face unlock, the Pixel 4 pair needed to be designed with a powerful brow and nonetheless had a little bit of a chin on the underside. You did get a pleasant 90Hz display screen, and Google added a telephoto digital camera as nicely — although an ultrawide would most likely have been extra welcome. On the software program facet, the telephones shipped with Android 10 and had a helpful Live Transcribe characteristic. All these options, together with lower than stellar battery life and beginning with 64GB storage, may very well be had for $799 and $899 for the XL — the costliest Pixels but.

Verge Score: 8 out of 10 and eight.5 out of 10 (XL)

Pixel 3A and Pixel 3A XL (2019)

Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

Google began releasing inexpensive A-line variations of the Pixels earlier within the 12 months, and the Pixel 3A and 3A XL had been the primary within the pattern. At $399 and $479 (XL), the telephones took a very powerful elements of their flagship counterparts and made them accessible to extra individuals. The screens had been nonetheless OLED and sized at 5.6 inches and 6 inches, respectively, however the processor was downgraded to a Snapdragon 670. They additionally lacked the devoted picture processor, however the high quality of the digital camera remained legendary, and the gadgets sport nice battery life. You can’t simply inform that the our bodies are product of cheaper plastics than the costlier Pixel 3 telephones, however there are different compromises like no wi-fi charging and no waterproof ranking. Finally, Google additionally stopped providing free full-quality photograph backup it supplied with earlier fashions, however you’re nonetheless getting one of the best bang in your buck right here.

Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL (2018)

Photo by James Bareham / The Verge

The Pixel 3 ($599) and the Pixel 3 XL ($699) gained wi-fi charging and bigger, larger high quality OLED screens — however the XL mannequin bought an enormous notch chopping into it. The 12.2MP rear digital camera is similar sensor from the earlier mannequin, however Google upgraded the devoted picture processor from 2017’s Pixel 2, making footage come out quicker and higher. The telephones additionally had a large front-facing digital camera so you would selfie with extra individuals. There had been nonetheless comparatively massive bezels in comparison with the competitors, however the nice front-facing audio system stay and sound even higher. The headphone jack didn’t come again, however a minimum of it got here with wired USB-C headphones. Google debuted its name screening characteristic with the Pixel 3 that lets a robotic discuss to the caller to substantiate it’s not a advertising and marketing name.

Verge Score: 8.5 out of 10

Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL (2017)

Photo by James Bareham / The Verge

The Pixel 2 welcomed IP67 waterproofing and an incredible digital camera with AI processing that might set the bar for years. Google dropped the headphone jack however included a dongle to hook up your individual headphones. You might squeeze the Pixel 2 to activate Google Assistant, and the lock display screen had a Shazam-like characteristic that displayed what tune was enjoying round you. The XL mannequin had a vivid 6-inch display screen, however the common mannequin’s 5-inch display screen high quality was missing in high quality. There was nonetheless no wi-fi charging, and whereas the entrance nonetheless had big bezels, it a minimum of housed superb high quality front-facing audio system.

Verge Score: 8.5 out of 10 and eight out of 10 (XL)

Pixel and Pixel XL (2016)

Google Pixel and Pixel XL

Google’s Pixel ($649) and Pixel XL ($769) had been the corporate’s first telephones to be developed internally and served as a blueprint for the “pure” Android expertise. Other producers continued to push their very own customized launchers and options, however the Pixel served as a technique to remind them what Android ought to seem like. Google Assistant was the star of the present, and it appeared leaps forward of what Siri was able to — and that hasn’t modified up to now. It seemed just like the iPhone 7 and seven Plus, but it surely nonetheless had a headphone jack. The Pixels had wonderful battery life and OLED screens (5-inch, and 5.5-inch for the XL) however lacked waterproofing. Google enticed clients with free full-quality photograph storage on Google Photos for the lifetime of the cellphone.

Nexus 6P by Huawei (2015)

Nexus 6p

Our journey down reminiscence lane doesn’t finish on the first Pixel; Google has a minimum of 10 extra telephones it’s had a hand in making. The Nexus 6P was Google’s ultimate kind for the road that preceded its Pixel, and it was one of the best cellphone the corporate made on the time. Built by Huawei, this large cellphone had a pure Android 6.0 Marshmallow expertise, had an enormous AMOLED display screen, and had a fingerprint sensor on the rear. It had USB-C, which was unusual on the time however would later turn out to be ubiquitous. The digital camera high quality was wonderful, although it was one of many first so as to add an enormous digital camera bump to accommodate it.

Verge Score: 8.8 out of 10

Nexus 5X

LG’s Nexus 5X has a design based mostly on the Nexus 5 from 2013, however now it’s quicker and has a much bigger 5.2-inch display screen. It was nonetheless straightforward to make use of with one hand regardless of the expansion, had higher battery life, and was much more inexpensive at $379. It felt low cost total, although, and it had a sluggish digital camera — although picture high quality was good. If you needed a better-built cellphone, you’d must go for the Nexus 6P that launched alongside the Nexus 5X.

Verge Score: 8.3 out of 10

Nexus 6 by Motorola (2014)

Nexus 6 2

The “phablet” pattern, spearheaded by Samsung, turned the main target of Motorola’s go on the Nexus line. Its 6-inch display screen was bigger than the iPhone 6 Plus, and at $649, it was $100 cheaper, too. It had stereo front-facing audio system and 32GB of inner storage however no SD card enlargement. Stock Android Lollipop with the “material design” interface was an enormous concentrate on this cellphone, and it was additionally the primary to work with Google’s Fi MVNO mobile community.

Verge Score: 8.6 out of 10

Nexus 5 1024px

With the success of the Nexus 7 pill, Google began getting critical about advertising and marketing Nexus telephones to shoppers somewhat than simply builders / energy customers. It had an enormous 4.95-inch 1080p display screen, however Samsung’s Galaxy S4 had a barely bigger one which had higher high quality. The Nexus 5 did lastly get LTE, and it was the primary to get Android KitKat. The new OS was smoother than ever and continues to be the oldest system that helps Google Play providers.

Google Nexus 4 pictures

The Nexus 4 is LG’s first go on the Nexus line, and it centered on construct high quality. While it was a strong cellphone, the Gorilla Glass rear was a priority for shattering, and just like the iPhone, the battery was now not detachable. Phones on the time had been beginning to achieve LTE, however this didn’t benefit from that. It has a 4.7-inch IPS display screen with a 1280×768 decision, and it got here with Android 4.2 Jellybean, which introduced widgets to the lock display screen and a fast settings menu that allow you to entry Wi-Fi and Bluetooth in a number of swipes. It additionally had a swipe-like keyboard for simple typing. The system supported wi-fi induction charging, a flagship characteristic of the Palm Pre (nobody says “induction” anymore, however they did on the time).

Verge Score: 8.3 out of 10

Galaxy Nexus by Samsung (2011)

Galaxy Nexus

Samsung’s second Nexus cellphone was the primary to get Android Ice Cream Sandwich, which had cool new options like transferring information by way of NFC and facial recognition for unlocking. It later bought the Jellybean replace, with options like expandable notifications. The Android menu buttons turned a part of the system as an alternative of the {hardware}, showing on the underside of the 4.65-inch Super AMOLED display screen that made the iPhone 4S look tiny. It had a teardrop form design and a 5MP digital camera with flash, but it surely didn’t have an SD card slot — though 16GB built-in storage was sizable for the time.

Verge Score: 8.6 out of 10

Nexus S by Samsung (2010)

Samsung Nexus S Google (STOCK)

Samsung Nexus S Google (STOCK)

Before the Galaxy, there was the S. The Nexus S was Samsung’s first Nexus cellphone and the second Nexus cellphone ever. Samsung put in an enormous 4-inch Super AMOLED display screen within the Nexus S, and the show was barely curved, which gave it a novel look. The physique of the system was made principally of plastic and had a shiny end. The cellphone was the primary to ship with Android 2.3 Gingerbread, including a much-improved interface. The energy button on the suitable and a headphone jack on the underside had been distinctive design decisions on the time.

Nexus One by HTC (2010)

The Google Nexus One(L) smartphone with iPhone

Image: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP by way of Getty Images

The Nexus One is the cellphone that made Steve Jobs’ blood boil. “I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this,” Jobs mentioned, in response to his biography by Walter Isaacson. It’s the cellphone that might stand as much as the iPhone 3GS, with a bigger display screen than Apple’s at 3.7 inches. It was barely thinner as nicely. HTC and Google made a cellphone that actually may very well be the “Google Phone,” and it broke away from provider lock-in and branding. Android controls had been capacitive buttons beneath the display screen (a pattern that continued for a number of years), and bodily controls had been diminished to a sleep button and a trackball — making this probably the most touch-oriented Android cellphone up to now.

HTC Magic / T-Mobile myTouch 3G (2009)

A woman presents Vodafone’s Smartphone H

Photo credit score ought to learn NIGEL TREBLIN/DDP/AFP by way of Getty Images

The second Android cellphone ever ditches the Keyboard, navigating nearer towards the full-screen iPhone design. Released broadly because the T-Mobile myTouch 3G within the US, it had a 3.2-inch display screen, which was smaller than the iPhone’s 3.5-inch and didn’t have an excellent software program keyboard as compared. While it solely had 4GB of storage, you would lengthen it by way of microSD and get extra footage and music on it, although you’d have to attach a dongle to plug headphones in.

HTC Dream / T-Mobile G1 (2008)

T-Mobile G1 Phone Goes On Sale In San Francisco Ahead Of Nat’l Launch

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

You’ve made it to the begging of time — nicely, a minimum of for Google’s {hardware} story. Before the Phones by Google — the Pixels and Nexuses of the world — there was the cellphone with Google. That’s what was printed on the rear of the HTC Dream because it was the primary cellphone to run Google’s new Android OS. The Dream was recognized extra broadly because the T-Mobile G1 as a result of many telephones bought within the US on the time wanted a provider companion with its personal advertising and marketing and branding to succeed. The HTC Dream was designed for individuals who needed to cautiously step into the full-screen cellphone world that Apple was promoting. It included a built-in slide-out keyboard like some Windows Mobile telephones had on the time, plus a Blackberry-like trackball to assist navigate.

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