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It's time to talk about Google, the Pixel phones, and feelings of abandonment

First, I'd like to invite everyone to take a deep, calming breath. I mean that sincerely, not sarcastically: Google's Pixel phones have proven rather literally to be an emotional topic in the tech community over the last few days. In looking over Android Police's comments, the sentiment around these phones has been a veritable tidal wave of negativity - and not all of it is unwarranted. There are clear and legitimate reasons to find Google's new smartphones uncompelling as a consumer.

But much of the anger, the frustration, the rage seems directed not at the Pixel phones themselves. And of that which is, is often through the lens of Nexus, not of the Pixel phones as products in their own right.

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Pixel available from Project Fi, plus a range of other international partners

As expected, both the 5-inch Pixel and the 5.5-inch Pixel XL are compatible out of the box with Project Fi, Google's MVNO (it would be news if they weren't). Google also announced just over a dozen of other international partners around the world.

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[Update: Live] Best Buy will give you a $100 gift card and a Chromecast when you pre-order and activate a Pixel on Verizon

The Pixels were announced today, and there's no other way to put it - they're pretty expensive. The line starts at $649.99 for the smaller, 32GB Pixel and maxes out at $869.99 for the 128GB XL. That's iPhone-esque pricing (the devices literally cost exactly the same as comparable iPhone 7s do). However, if you're a Verizon customer, you have an option to ease the pain; Best Buy is offering customers who pre-order and activate the Pixel and Pixel XL a $100 gift card and a free Chromecast.

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Google's 24/7 live support for the Pixel phones comes complete with screen sharing

The Pixel and Pixel XL are seriously expensive phones, aiming directly at the iPhone and Galaxy devices at the top of the market. To help set them apart, Google announced that it would offer live support for owners 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It comes in call or chat form, and users can even share their screen with support agents in real time. Amazon has tried something similar, and just like the Fire tablets, this is pretty clearly intended to help out non-technical users. The feature was leaked back in the summer.

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Google Pixel and Pixel XL hands-on: Google takes on the iPhone... by becoming the iPhone

Google's new smartphones were, well, exactly what we expected. They're expensive, they have high-end components, and they feature industrial design by Google. There's a big one and a small one, and the only real differences between the two are those of proportion (battery size and pixel density).

Pricing for the 5" Pixel starts at $649 with 32GB of storage, and the 128GB Pixel XL runs all the way up to $869. They can be substantially more expensive depending on where you live, too. As such, there is no doubt that Google is uninterested in being a champion of the "phone of the people" pricing model in 2016.

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Android 7.1 Nougat's changelog is here, includes both Pixel-exclusive and non-exclusive changes

Android 7.1 Nougat was unveiled earlier today alongside the Pixel and Pixel XL, but there's still a fair bit we don't know about it. Now, thanks to a source from Google, we've got a list of both Pixel-exclusive and non-exclusive changes. (It's unclear which category the Pixel C falls under.)

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The 'Really Blue' Pixel is only a temporary US exclusive, will come to other regions later

Phone makers have long given device colors unnecessarily esoteric names, but Google is going for raw descriptiveness with the Pixel phones. You have Quite Black, Very Silver, and Really Blue. The blue offering is certainly bold, and probably the most divisive choice. However, you don't even have the option of getting a Really Blue Pixel unless you're in the US. That will change, though.

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Android 7.1 is coming to current Nexus devices and the Pixel C, will land before the end of 2016 as a dev preview

For those of you who were worried about Google's current Android devices not receiving Android 7.1 Nougat, don't be; Google has confirmed that the Pixel phones' current software version will be arriving on Nexus devices and the Pixel C before the end of the year. However, these devices won't be receiving some Pixel-exclusive (Pixelsclusive?) features.

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Nexus Protect has become Device Protection for Pixels

The branding change with Google's in-house smartphones this year means more than different names for the phones. All the stuff related to the phones has to change too. For example, Nexus Protect. The device insurance program started last year has been renamed to just "Device Protection." The details appear to be mostly the same, though.

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Pixel and Pixel XL will support T-Mobile and Verizon WiFi calling

In recent years, WiFi calling has become increasingly prevalent on various carriers and devices; the recently-announced Pixel and Pixel XL back up this fact. Google has confirmed that the Pixel smartphones will support WiFi calling for both T-Mobile and Verizon upon launch.

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