Google Launches Pixel 2 XL, Pixel 2 Smartphones With Squeezable Sides - Page 2

The handsets are sold unlocked, which enables them for use on GSM or CDMA carrier networks around the world. In the U.S., the phones are compatible with all GSM networks and the Verizon and Sprint CDMA-based networks, according to Google.

Built with aluminum unibody construction, both models meet IP67 standards for water and dust resistance. The Pixel 2 XL comes in Just Black or Black & White colors, while the Pixel 2 comes in Just Black, Clearly White or Kinda Blue colors.

The Pixel 2 XL is 6.2 inches long, 3 inches wide, 0.3 inches high and weighs 6.2 ounces, while the Pixel 2 is 5.7 inches long, 2.7 inches wide, 0.3 inches high and weighs 5.01 ounces.

Several analysts told eWEEK they have mixed views of the new Pixel 2 phones.

"Google is not breaking any new ground in design nor does it seem interested in doing so because this is about software," said Avi Greengart, a mobile device analyst with research firm GlobalData.

"Google seems less focused on hardware or design certainly than Samsung or Apple. The Pixel 2 looks rather pedestrian, while the Pixel 2 XL does have the modern minimal bezel and long, rectangular aspect ratio. It looks a lot like an LG V30," Greengart said.

One surprise is that Google appears to only be planning to sell the phones in six markets around the world, including the U.S., said Greengart. That strategy is particularly interesting since Google just spent $1.1 billion to acquire some 2,000 engineers from HTC to work on mobile products for Google, he said.

Another analyst, Rob Enderle of Enderle Group, said Google will have quite a chore marketing the Pixel 2 XL and Pixel 2 phones as iPhone 8 and iPhone X competitors.

"Given the lock-in that Apple enjoys with its customers, Samsung will likely be hit harder as collateral damage," by sales of the new phones from Google, he said.

One thing Google did that is in stark contrast to Apple is it provided the top features to both Pixel models, instead of just plugging them into the higher-priced Pixel 2 XL, as Apple did with the iPhone X, Enderle observed.

"They'll lag a bit on appearance as they are function over form, while Apple is form over function, but the capability of these phones is arguably unmatched," said Enderle.

Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, said that for Google, it's not all about phones.

"In the case of Google, financial success is always nice but the new Pixel smartphones are just one part of a broader hardware ecosystem, including Pixel Chromebooks, Google Home speakers and Daydream VR headsets which often leverage the company's evolving content and services ecosystem," said King. "Apple and Samsung are also delivering multiple devices but neither one has anything that approaches Google's content and service capabilities." 

The first-generation Google Pixel smartphones debuted in October 2016 with the first Pixel and Pixel XL models, along with the first Daydream View VR headset. Designed and engineered by Google, the first Pixel phones also started at $649.