Verizon will be the exclusive US carrier for Google’s new Pixel phones. Google just announced the news on stage during its hardware announcement event in California. The phones will have access to Verizon's "LTE Advanced," but they'll also be available on Project Fi as well.
Verizon and Google have a long, tense history of working together with respect to Google's hardware. Five years ago, the Galaxy Nexus had a strange and slow rollout on the network. Verizon was also stingy with software updates once the phone was out. It didn't stop there — the Nexus 4 wound up being incompatible with the network, the Nexus 5 was skipped entirely, and the Nexus 6 was another product that Verizon customers had to wait for. The two sides even butted heads over Google's Nexus tablets, too. That said, leaks of the Pixel and Pixel XL showed a glimmer of hope: no Verizon branding can be found on the phones.
We spoke with a Verizon rep here at Google's event and he basically characterized that not-great history as water under a pretty old bridge. For Pixel, Verizon is very excited, and will be giving it significant presence both on its website and also in its stores. And it also has that preorder deal, he reminds me, where people who order from Verizon will get a free Daydream View headset. So: Really Blue skies are gonna clear up, is the message, and we'll see if things go better this time around. Seems like they might!
The two phones are the "first phone with the Google Assistant built in," according to Rick Osterloh, the company's hardware lead. The Pixel has a 5-inch 1080p screen, and the Pixel XL has a 5.5-inch Quad HD display. They each have a top-line Snapdragon 821 processor, which helps them power a slightly modified version of Android — one that enables Google's new mobile VR platform, Daydream. Google is touting that the phones were "Made by Google," despite the phones being physically assembled by HTC.
Updated with more details from Verizon on the ground.