Google announces new Pixel smartphones

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Google announces new Pixel smartphones

The Pixel phones are the first built by Google itself.

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Google announces new Pixel smartphones

Thomas J Donegan , USA TODAY 12:19 p.m. EDT October 4, 2016

Google's teaser for its October 4 event.(Photo: Google)

Google is getting back into making phones.

The search giant and creator of the Android operating system debuted its two newest flagship phones--the Pixel and the Pixel XL--at an event in San Francisco, CA today.

Google has previously helped design "Nexus" phones like the Huawei-made Nexus 6Pand LG-made Nexus 5X, but the Pixel and Pixel XL will be the first phones to bear the Google brand, with the tagline "Phone by Google."

From a design and specification standpoint the two phones are similar to other current flagship smartphones on the market, with large high definition displays, high resolution rear cameras, and metal bodies. The Pixel will offer a 5-inch display while the Pixel XL will have a 5.5-inch screen.

Like the Nexus-branded phones, the new Pixel phones will run a stock version of the Android operating system, which will be cleaner than the "skinned" versions of Android you find on popular phones like the Samsung Galaxy S7. This typically results in faster performance thanks to the lack of pre-installed, redundant applications that usually just replace Google's own applications.

Google had briefly been involved in manufacturing its own phones when it acquired Motorola back in 2012, though it sold Motorola Mobility on to Lenovo in 2014. Though Motorola did make Nexus phones during that time, none of those phones featured the Google brand.

This story is developing.

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