First, for the record, I want one. But, since my current smart phone is a Nexus 6, I don't need one yet. I'm fine for a while.
Google essentially invented Android, and the Nexus phones were pretty close to being Google phones, but they were not. They were simply very well designed and powerful smart phones that generally came with unadulterated Android, and likely to work best with Android because of Google's involvement.
The new Google Pixel is an actual Google phone. So, this is a bit like the iPhone of the Android world, in the sense that there is excellent and carefully engineered hardware and software integration.
I've heard that you should avoid buying your Google Pixel from Verizon. Verizon is the only service provider that can also sell the Google phones as per the normal arrangement, and everybody seems to be assuring everybody else that this means nothing, that Verizon is not going to break the phone like some service providers do, with bloatware and such. Verizon will be including a few apps that are removable, Verizon claims they will push out Android updates the very moment Google puts them out, etc. etc. So may be it does not matter.
However, the Verizon sourced phone will, it appears, have the bootloader turned off by default. If you don't know what the heck that is, then you probably don't care.
If you buy the phone from pretty much anyone, you are getting an unlocked phone because that is how these phones roll, and you should be able to use it with Verizon or any other carrier (but check with the carrier first).
A few features of the Pixel:
The battery charges up for over 7 hours of use in about 15 minutes. The best camera ever put in a phone. Google provides unlimited storage for photos and 4K videos. Super gorilla glass 4 screen. Built in VR (so you get Google Glasses without the cardboard?) Super powerful processors and other guts. Finger print sensor. Pretty much everything any smart phone ever had.
The Phone has Google Assistant built into it.
The phone also has a normal 3.5 mm headphone jack! Which is the traditional headphone jack every electronic device made since 1754 has had, up until a few weeks ago when Apple forgot to include one in their new phone.
Thre are two kinds of phones, the Pixel with a 5" display, and the Pixel XL with a 5.5 inch display. If you're getting me one, I'll take the larger one.
The phones come with either 32 or 128 gigabytes of storage.
I am very interested in this, but since I won't be doing anything until after the xmas season I'm just looking now. (The other possibility is the V20 by LG, which has been getting good early reviews).
Verizon claims they will push out Android updates the very moment Google puts them out
I hadn't heard that, and in fact it goes against what the 'tech reviewers' have been saying, which is Verizon has not said they will get system updates out on Google's schedule. What they have said is that the security updates would be on Google's schedule - completely different beast.
If you are correct that would be great.
This is also available with project FI, and I will be checking how good the coverage of that is in my home/work area and other regions I frequent.
I had heard it elsewhere, and I just also found this:
Project Fi is fabulous. Two thumbs up... Not a single thing to complain about it. Inexpensive, reliable, coverage everywhere, auto-switch to wifi...
It's primary carrier is T-mo; I had T-mo before I got the 6P, and I did have coverage issues sometimes with it. Never with Google Fi.
Being inexpensive, I found that my data usage increased quite a bit; I think that was due to no more inhibitions about getting soaked by my provider the following month.
And I love my Nexus 6P. By the time it's outdated, there will certainly be something other than the N.P. out there. I'm fine with that; I have second-best right now.
I was going to write, "If you believe that Verizon is not going to break the phone like some service providers do, with bloatware and such", I've got a nice bridge over the gulf of credibility to sell you...
By the way, I got my Nexus 6 from Verizon, and they did not break it. They didn't even install their own app. I had to do that myself.
Disclaimer: I hate Verizon. But in fact, my Nexus 6 is pure as the driven snow.
"Project Fi is fabulous."
The issue I am concerned with is that T Mobile does not have a strong presence here, and Sprint is weak. I don't think it would be an issue around home or my campus (Grand Rapids is a good sized Michigan City) but in many of the parks and nature preserves where I hike and snowshow the FI coverage map looks week - but I always have good Verizon coverage there. I wish the FI coverage was a given, but it isn't and I need to check. But I have time: my old Note 4 is still working fine.
That's the only thing about Verizon that's attractive: They bought up all the CDMA towers/equipment when GSM became the VHS of cellular. So they have coverage pretty much everywhere. Which I would only consider for a data-only plan for device connection... If I traveled that much, which I no longer do.
If/when Google Fi (itself, or as a concept) catches fire (sorry, Samsung), we'll likely see AT&T and Verizon towers join the system. Google scored contracts with Sprint & T-mo because they were the two smallest players, and it behooved them to ally themselves with Google. The other can't hold out if this explodes (sorry, Samsung) in popularity.
Brainstorms, yes the coverage is the big draw with Verizon. I've gotten good signals in the middle of the Porcupines in the Upper Peninsula, and in almost every other wilderness area/forest I've been in here. Oddly the one exception is less than 40 miles from here, a big chunk of state land to the north: coverage is good north, south, east, west of it, but very spotty in it.
But I've also been with buddies on week-to-ten-day long cycling/camping trips in Iowa, New York, Main, Vermont - with Verizon coverage when their Spring and other coverage conked out. If Google could tie Verizon in with FI it would be hot. (Apologies to the late, great, Note 7.)
Google Fi also uses US Cellular which was when it finally became relevant in Maine. Hiked the AT in Maine this Summer and almost, almost always had coverage with US Cellular on my gf's Galaxy S5. Other hikers used Verizon and had even better cell service. I had AT&T which stands for Appalachian Trail no Talk. Forget Sprint and T-Mobile. Switched to Google Fi when I got back and haven't had any trouble with lack of service since.
The only drawback I see is the lack of waterproofing. :/
Review comparing the Pixel XL with the Nexus 6P: