Shortly after Google officially introduced its two newest smartphone offerings -- the Pixel and the Pixel XL, reports immediately surfaced that Verizon Wireless was to be the exclusive carrier of the devices in the United States mobile market. But there are other reports too saying that the Pixel handsets will be made available as unlocked devices that can work on other networks. Some consumers now may be wondering which is which.
So to dispel any confusion, the new Pixel phones are indeed available as exclusive devices through the Big Red, with customers free to purchase them either online or in Verizon Wireless’ outlets. But this does not necessarily mean that the smartphones will only work on Verizon’s network (more on this later). The exclusive part of this whole refers to the carrier distribution aspect, meaning Verizon is named as the only wireless carrier out there selling the devices. In other words, users will not be able to buy any Pixel handset from AT&T, T-Mobile, or Sprint.
Now for the unlocked part -- even though Verizon Wireless is the only carrier selling the Pixel devices, people can still purchase them directly from Google. Technically speaking, all Pixel devices that are for sale come unlocked (yup, even those purchased from Verizon Wireless). As unlocked devices, the Pixel phones can basically work on any major wireless carrier in the US -- people just need to get a carrier’s SIM card and pretty much that is it. With Verizon, what happens is that even if the Pixel orders is unlocked, the Big Red forces buyers to also get a Verizon plan. So for those who are looking to take full advantage of the unlocked attribute of the Pixel devices, they may want to order from Google directly, so that their device will not have to be tied to a Verizon plan. However, if the user is already a subscriber of the Big Red, buying a Pixel handset from Verizon Wireless has its advantages. For one, the carrier is offering up to $300 savings (i.e. account credit) for trading in an old smartphone.
Preorders for the Pixel and the Pixel XL are already being accepted by Verizon Wireless and Google, with the devices officially launching on October 20th. The Pixel’s price starts at $649 for the 32 gigabyte edition. Both Verizon and Google offer financing options for the device. Verizon’s deal involves paying $24.08 a month for a couple of years, while Google’s offer is $24.04 a month for two years also. Those who are preordering a Pixel phone will be offered a Daydream View virtual reality headset (normally priced at $79) absolutely free of charge.
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