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Android Oreo Helps Google's Pixel 2 Smartphones Outperform Other Android Flagships (hothardware.com) 91

MojoKid highlights Hot Hardware's review of Google's new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL smartphones: Google officially launched it's Pixel 2 phones today, taking the wraps off third-party reviews. Designed by Google but manufactured by HTC (Pixel 2) and LG (Pixel 2 XL), the two new handsets also boast Google's latest Android 8.0 operating system, aka Oreo, an exclusive to Google Pixel and certain Nexus devices currently. And in some ways, this is also a big advantage. Though they are based on the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor as many other Android devices, Google's new Pixel 2s manage to outpace similarly configured smartphones in certain benchmarks by significant margins (Basemark, PCMark and 3DMark). They also boot dramatically faster than any other Android handset on the market, in as little as 10 seconds. Camera performance is also excellent, with both the 5-inch Pixel 2 and 6-inch Pixel 2 XL sporting identical electronics, save for their displays and chassis sizes. Another notable feature built into Android Oreo is Google Now Playing, an always-listening, Shazam-like service (if you enable it) that displays song titles on the lock screen if it picks up on music playing in the room you're in. Processing is done right on the Pixel 2 and it doesn't need network connectivity. Another Pixel 2 Oreo-based trick is Google Lens, a machine vision system that Google notes "can recognize places like landmarks and buildings, artwork that you'd find in a museum, media covers such as books, movies, music albums, and video games..." The Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are available now on Verizon or unlocked via the Google Store starting at $649 and $849 respectively for 64GB storage versions, with a $100 up-charge for 128GB variants.
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Android Oreo Helps Google's Pixel 2 Smartphones Outperform Other Android Flagships

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    google optimizes *their* mobile os for *their* hardware.

    • This is not a case of some sort of optimization hidden deep in Google's OS that's meant benefit just Google brand hardware. Pixels and Nexus phones are now running Android 8, and those are the only phones having Oreo, besides phones running custom third party firmware.

      Nobody is stopping Android hardware manufacturers from providing Android 8 on their hardware.

  • They also boot dramatically faster than any other Android handset on the market, in as little as 10 seconds.

    And my Xperia running Sailfish X [jolla.com] (by the former Nokia engineer who were developing Maemo/Meego before the whole Elop/Microsoft blunder happened), boots even faster, in a couple of seconds.
    Yay for GNU/Linux OSes ! (in this case, using systemd as a init system).

    The whole "boot loader unlocked" warning that Sony displays is actually longer than the OS boot procedure.

  • A strategy of deliberately fragmenting the user-base across OS versions based on the hardware they're running is not good from a UX, security or privacy perspective

    • Phone vendors fragment themselves already. They try to differentiate themselves with custom launchers and apps for everything. I'd love for my V30 to get this new software without getting a hacked OS or APK, but I really don't see Google as being a primary contributor to fragmentation.

      • by BronsCon ( 927697 ) <social@bronstrup.com> on Tuesday October 17, 2017 @06:56PM (#55386817) Journal
        Google could put an end to it by simply not allowing it in the license agreement. Of course, more than a handful of features have made their way from vendor overlays into vanilla Android, and I'm not sure Google would have considered those features for inclusion had they not been proven beforehand, so maybe there's some benefit to the current system.

        I'm honestly torn on the issue. On one hand, the vanilla experience does lend itself to system updates more readily than what we have now; on the other hand, innovation has to come from somewhere and most of what Google adds to Android isn't originating from within Google.

        Perhaps, at the very least, Google should require vendors to submit any proprietary drivers so that Google can release vanilla builds for every device; they would also need to require that any carrier- or vendor-specific apps be released on the Play store, to prevent any model-specific features from being locked behind those apps. Then, you could have the vanilla experience on any phone without losing and vendor- or model-specific functionality which may have made you choose that phone in the first place.
        • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Tuesday October 17, 2017 @07:31PM (#55386973) Homepage

          Well project Treble is supposed to make it so that they can update Android separate from the vendor implementation, from what I understand one side effect is that all phones could run stock Android. Whether vendors will let you is another story, but hopefully at least now you'll get timely and long lasting updates.

        • by swillden ( 191260 ) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Tuesday October 17, 2017 @09:03PM (#55387351) Homepage Journal

          Google could put an end to it by simply not allowing it in the license agreement.

          No, they really couldn't. Google has to walk a fine line, especially with Samsung, but with several of the major players. Push too hard and they're perfectly capable of pulling an Amazon... but far more likely to be successful. Even the smaller players could potentially band together, or make a deal with Amazon.

          You think Android fragmentation is bad now? It's nothing compared to what we'd have if Google pushed too hard and lost control. Eventually it would re-consolidate, I think, though probably not entirely. In the short term it would be a mess.

          Of course, more than a handful of features have made their way from vendor overlays into vanilla Android, and I'm not sure Google would have considered those features for inclusion had they not been proven beforehand, so maybe there's some benefit to the current system.

          This is true.

          most of what Google adds to Android isn't originating from within Google.

          This is not true. Google does pick up a lot of ideas from other OEMs, but it's definitely not the majority.

          Perhaps, at the very least, Google should require vendors to submit any proprietary drivers so that Google can release vanilla builds for every device

          Treble is a better approach, I think. The idea is to provide a standard hardware interface that is tested and validated, both with a set of low level tests (the Vendor Test Suite) and by flashing a vanilla AOSP system image and running the app-level API tests (the Compliance Test Suite). So Google doesn't have to release vanilla builds, you (or your favorite community) can just build your own -- assuming, of course, that you can unlock your device's bootloader.

          • You think Android fragmentation is bad now? It's nothing compared to what we'd have if Google pushed too hard and lost control. Eventually it would re-consolidate, I think, though probably not entirely. In the short term it would be a mess.

            Or they would just abandon the platform since they have no product differentiation. This was one of the (many) reasons windows phone failed; every phone was pretty much the same as every other phone in that there was no customization of the OS permitted at all, and they all had to run on the same qualcomm SoC and other hardware components, only being allowed to change the camera, display, battery, and outside casing. They were also required to use the same navigation button layout fixed on to the display (i

            • Or they would just abandon the platform since they have no product differentiation.

              Exactly right. It's more likely though they'd just get out of the business entirely. Even if they somehow managed to build an OS on feature parity w/ Android they'd have to figure out how to get devs to write apps for it.

        • Google could put an end to it by simply not allowing it in the license agreement.

          I'm glad they don't, personally. But if they did, the license agreement is only for Google apps, not for Android itself.

          • the license agreement is only for Google apps, not for Android itself

            There is, in fact, a license agreement for Android, as well. It just happens to be very permissive at the moment, but Google could change that tomorrow if they wished.

            We should be thankful for every day that they don't.

            • Android proper is open sourced under the Apache 2.0 license, (and the kernel under the GNU GPL2 license). Google cannot change the licensing for versions they've already released. They could, of course, remove future versions from those licenses and do whatever they wish -- but everyone could just continue to use the old versions or their forks.

              Google Apps, however, are not open sourced.

              • They could, of course, remove future versions from those licenses and do whatever they wish

                Which is precisely what I was implying.

                but everyone could just continue to use the old versions or their forks.

                With no updates from Google. Old versions with no security patches (okay, the community might handle that -- maybe it's even likely) and no feature updates, might be fine on old hardware, but isn't that the situation we're all complaining about right now? That's hardly an improvement, then, you see?

                Forks might add new features, but they won't be the same features Google adds to new versions, so we'll end up with fragmentation. Isn't that also what we're all complaini

                • That's hardly an improvement, then, you see?

                  I wasn't saying that it would be an improvement, only that manufacturers are likely to go that route if Google gets too pushy about what they can or can't do.

                  Isn't that also what we're all complaining about right now?

                  Not all of us. I'm not. As a user, I don't see fragmentation as being a huge issue. I understand how it is annoying to developers, though.

                  people could develop multiple forked versions

                  Not only could they, they already have. I have one running right now.

        • Google could put an end to it by simply not allowing it in the license agreement.

          Here we go again.

          If Google did that, manufacturers would migrate to another OS. If Google had those terms from the beginning Android would be a fading memory. No company (Samsung, HTC, and so on) is going to cripple their options by signing some restrictive license with Google. The only reason Android was a success is because:

          1) Manufacturers own all the source. It's theirs sitting on their servers to do with as they please. Google can't take it away.
          2) They have wide reign with regards to customizing the O

    • And how did you conclude that Google encourages fragmentation in the OS? The bottom of this story is that Google's phones are the only ones released with Android 8. There is nothing stopping other hardware manufacturers from shipping phones with Android 8. In fact, Google would only encourage that.

      • by jabuzz ( 182671 )

        Fake news I am afraid. Brand new Xperia XZ1 Compact brought last week according to Settings/System I am running Android 8.0.0.

      • by shilly ( 142940 )

        The article says: "the two new handsets also boast Google's latest Android 8.0 operating system, aka Oreo, an exclusive to Google Pixel and certain Nexus devices currently. And in some ways, this is also a big advantage"

        Sounds like encouraging fragmentation to me. YMMV

  • Wow, great. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nightfire-unique ( 253895 ) on Tuesday October 17, 2017 @06:47PM (#55386757)

    I mean it's great that it can monitor your audio 24/7 and can make some nice numbers flash up in a benchmark and all...

    But, uh.

    Replaceable battery? Rugged/IP68? SD card slot? Headphone jack? You know.. things that actually matter?

    • Replaceable battery? Rugged/IP68? SD card slot? Headphone jack? You know.. things that actually matter?

      Also:

      Google's new Pixel 2s manage to outpace similarly configured smartphones in certain benchmarks by significant margins (Basemark, PCMark and 3DMark).

      Why would I care? Any mid-price Android phone works fine in 2017.

      They also boot dramatically faster than any other Android handset on the market, in as little as 10 seconds

      I can't remember the last time I restarted my phone. If it takes 60 seconds twice a year why would I care?
      Also, that's a pretty ugly phone. Also it costs way too much.

      • They also boot dramatically faster than any other Android handset on the market, in as little as 10 seconds

        I can't remember the last time I restarted my phone. If it takes 60 seconds twice a year why would I care?

        Well, you should be restarting your phone at least monthly, when the monthly security update arrives. Your phone does get regular security updates, right?

        The ultra-fast boot time is really nice for me, because I run pre-release builds and get updates daily, sometimes more. In the bad old days (three years ago) an update meant ten minutes of installing, two minutes of booting, and then a one-hour "optimizing apps" marathon, during all of which my phone was unusable. ART got rid of the "optimizing apps", A

        • Almost no phone on the market gets updates, as a percentage. Even some flagship models in the very recent past were left to languish after the first 6 months of release.

    • Re:Wow, great. (Score:4, Informative)

      by swillden ( 191260 ) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Tuesday October 17, 2017 @08:51PM (#55387303) Homepage Journal

      Replaceable battery? Rugged/IP68? SD card slot? Headphone jack?

      There are phones on the market that have all of those things. You should buy one of them.

      You know.. things that actually matter?

      You know those phones I mentioned above? You should check the sales figures on them. The features you mention are important to you -- and that's fine, you should buy what serves your needs, and the great thing about Android is that you have lots of choice -- but they apparently aren't important to most people. You're trying to claim that they are, but objective evidence clearly indicates that you're wrong.

      • by jabuzz ( 182671 )

        What's the sales figures for Android phones without a headphone socket? My guess is that phones with a 3.5mm jack wildly outsell those without. As for waterproof that has been an increasing trend in the Android market starting with the Sony Z four years ago. Removal batteries I will give you but the rest I would argue you are dead wrong the market has spoken and it's said all those features are important.

        • What's the sales figures for Android phones without a headphone socket? My guess is that phones with a 3.5mm jack wildly outsell those without.

          Since there are so few models without an audio jack, it's really not yet possible to tell what the market thinks about that. We'll see over the next couple of years.

          My personal take (YMMV, of course): I've been using the Pixel 2 XL for a few months now, and the only place I even sort of miss the audio jack is in the car, but I just put the dongle in there. My truck has Bluetooth audio. For headphones, I already mostly used Bluetooth, but I've found USB-C headphones to be a perfectly good alternative when

          • Have you experienced the display grain many complain about with the 2XL? It's the one thing holding me back from choosing the larger phone.
            • Have you experienced the display grain many complain about with the 2XL? It's the one thing holding me back from choosing the larger phone.

              Once I heard people complaining about it and looked for it, I can see it. Sometimes. The only thing that has ever actually bothered me about the display is that at the default brightness setting it's a little bit dim. I turn the brightness to about 75%, though, and it's fine. And I've never had a situation where I couldn't set it bright enough (other than cases like full sunlight where no backlit phone display is bright enough).

              • Appreciate the reply. I have only seen the smaller phone in store. When they get a 2XL display model, I'll compare them and decide if I can live with the grain effect. I tend to be a little OCD and I might have to stick with the Samsung panel on the smaller phone. I've spent 3 years on a similar panel.
          • I've been using the Pixel 2 XL for a few months now

            So you're either a Google employee or stole it from a Google employee. It was released on Oct 17.

            • I've been using the Pixel 2 XL for a few months now

              So you're either a Google employee or stole it from a Google employee. It was released on Oct 17.

              I'm a Google employee.

      • Replaceable battery? Rugged/IP68? SD card slot? Headphone jack?

        There are phones on the market that have all of those things. You should buy one of them.

        Not that I personally care about any of these features, but there is in fact just 1 android phone ever released [gsmarena.com] that has all of those if you include the need for a fingerprint reader (modern phone).

    • Replaceable battery? Rugged/IP68? SD card slot? Headphone jack? You know.. things that actually matter?

      Those are all hardware features. Hardware is difficult and costs. Software is easy and cheap.

  • by u19925 ( 613350 ) on Tuesday October 17, 2017 @06:49PM (#55386775)

    A while ago, people had issues with "Google" Nexus 5 after the Android OTA upgrade. Despite the fact that Google called this as Google Nexus 5 and was sold from Google website, it refused to take the blame and told customers to contact LG as it was LG which made the phone and it was responsible for any issue with the phone. Pixel 2 is made by HTC. Who will be responsible for servicing and support? I upgraded by Nexus 5 to iPhone. 11 months later, I had issue with headphone jack (it was detecting as headphone connected even when it was not). I took it to Apple store and told them that I am traveling and need urgent fix. They gave a brand new phone. Can we expect Google to do the same? If not, you are just buying an HTC phone advertised by Google.

  • Lack (Score:5, Insightful)

    by markdavis ( 642305 ) on Tuesday October 17, 2017 @06:59PM (#55386823)

    >"with both the 5-inch Pixel 2 and 6-inch Pixel 2 XL sporting identical electronics, save for their displays and chassis sizes"

    And they also share the:

    * Lack of headphone jack
    * Lack of wireless charging
    * Lack of swappable batteries
    * Lack of SD card support
    * Lack of serviceable battery?

    But not the lack of price... so, go ahead and cough up $650 or $850, anyway, because we are giving the public what they want. And to think I am STILL using a Nexus 5 which has at more than half of the above lacking features, and was around HALF the price.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      My last Android tablet cost me $50 and includes 1GB/mo of mobile Internet service for free, fantastic!

      But it runs an old Android 5.0 vendor locked ROM that I can't OTA update ever since rooting and I can't replace it with an up-to-date open source ROM. So, I'm always in fear of having my tablet hacked. Android 5.0 also had memory leaks that I wish I could fix but alas can not.

      With respect to Android theoretically being open source, it's really very disappointing how locked up we are in practice.

    • by trawg ( 308495 )

      But not the lack of price... so, go ahead and cough up $650 or $850, anyway, because we are giving the public what they want. And to think I am STILL using a Nexus 5 which has at more than half of the above lacking features, and was around HALF the price.

      Ditto. I waited for the Pixel announcement before upgrading from my Nexus 4, because I wanted to see if they were going to make something significantly better. The Pixel looks great but not 2x as much as the Nexus 5X I ended up getting.

      I wasn't seriously looking at the Pixel 2 (I only got my 5X like a year ago) but was still interested to see if it was going to be worth it. Basically though my take is if I'm going to drop a fortune on a phone, I think I'd rather it be an iPhone at this point - the new neur

  • I don't get this claim: Google Now Playing, an always-listening, Shazam-like service ... displays song titles on the lock screen if it picks up on music playing ... Processing is done right on the Pixel 2 and it doesn't need network connectivity. Where does it get the song catalog to match to, if not the Internet?
  • Google pixel2 - with features so advanced, although you think you own it, it actually owns you...
  • Sony Xperia XZ1, Android 8.0 Oreo

    On the market since weeks.

    https://www.androidcentral.com... [androidcentral.com]

  • Please please please make a "small" version of the Pixel 2! I was fine with the 3.7" of the Nexus One, but the 4.7" of the Moto X was tolerable as well! I'd happily accept anything in that range!

    Also, a curved back like the Moto X and a headphone jack would be great too! K THX BYE!

    (Yes, i know i'm shouting into the wind and the odds of getting what i want are probably indistinguishable from zero.)

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