Google unveils Pixel 2 Telephone, voice-enabled speakers as part of hardware Drive

Alphabet Inc’s Google on Wednesday introduced the next generation of its Pixel smartphone together with new voice-enabled home speakers, redoubling its commitment to the hardware industry since it competes with a surge of devices from Apple Inc and Amazon.com Inc..

Google’s new products, such as a Pixelbook notebook, wireless earbuds and a tiny GoPro-like camera, showcase Google-developed operating systems and solutions, especially the voice helper. That means usage of these devices should stoke the provider’s core advertising sales business as buyers of the hardware use Google services such as search and maps.

Speaking at the launch in San Francisco, Google hardware chief Rick Osterloh said the new products “perfectly demonstrate our approach of re-imagining hardware from the interior.”

The Pixel 2 smartphone comes in two dimensions, with similar features, including aluminum bodies and no conventional jacks for headphones. Costs for the base model start at $649, while the high-end version begins at $849. The telephones will be available Oct. 19.

The Pixel phones lack the newest lustre and market share of similarly priced smartphones like the Apple iPhone or Samsung Electronics Co’s Galaxy S and Galaxy Note smartphones. Nonetheless, the first Pixel’s camera and applications attracted acclaim from reviewers, a lot of whom expect the line to be a strong competitor at the high end of the Android smartphone industry.

Pixelbook, priced at $999, is your first notebook powered by Google Assistant and will encourage Snap Inc’s Snapchat, the company said. The keyboard folds behind the display to flip the 12.3-inch touchscreen into a tablet computer. It’ll be available in shops from Oct. 31.

Google Home Mini, one of those newest speakers, is priced at $49 in america and might rival Amazon.com Inc’s favorite Echo Dot. It’ll be available Oct. 19. The Home Max, with dual woofers for stronger audio, is priced at $399 and with accessibility by the end of the year.

The Pixel Buds, which are priced at $149, arrive in November. Clips, that is pocket-sized camera with object detection and automated recording capabilities, “shortly” goes on sale for $249, Google said. Videos last only a couple of seconds and don’t contain audio.

The Pixel smartphone debuted a year ago, with analysts estimating earnings of over two million, forcing Google to record quantities of non-advertising revenue.

Google’s “other” revenue category, which includes both hardware and earnings of online storage services, accounted for approximately 12 percent of total sales in its latest quarter.

Last month, Google expanded its hardware development capacities by picking up a 2,000-person smartphone technology team at HTC for $1.1-billion.

“It is fairly clear Google is serious about hardware,” said Avi Greengart, research manager at consumer data company GlobalData. “Given that there’s a Pixel 2, and given the financial investment, there must be a longer-term strategic intent.”

HARDWARE CHIEF HAS SECOND GO

Google moved into smartphones five years ago with the {}12.5-billion purchase of Motorola Mobility. But Motorola’s hardware group, under Osterloh, and Google’s Android mobile operating system department remained separate. Google wanted to avoid giving it a distinctive advantage and protect its connections with Samsung, LG and other vendors of Android. The business later sold the Motorola smartphone company.

Osterloh, now working inside Google, moved to bring in-house the HTC group Google contracted to design the Pixel. He enjoys a solid relationship with Hiroshi Lockheimer, the Android branch mind. The pair have been friends since working together for many years at Great Technology in the early 2000s.

Protecting relationships with other people in the Android ecosystem is becoming less of a concern. Samsung ratched down the rivalary with Google after the companies agreed to a significant patent licensing agreement in early 2014. Other vendors have seen their market share dip.

Google’s eye is now on Apple, whose iPhone has been the smartphone to conquer.

The first Pixel surfaced a year ago with a substantial marketing push: during the last few months of this year, Google spent an estimated $110-million to broadcast 12 Pixel-related commercials, based on data from advertisements measurement firm iSpot.tv.

Apple spent $147-million during the same span, iSpot.tv stated. Apple has sustained its TV time during the previous year, while Google’s efforts have tapered off.

In the speakers marketplace, Google’s personal-assistant lags Amazon’s Echo apparatus in market share, according to investment bank Cowen amp; Co.. Last week, Amazon released several new versions of the Echo, including one with a screen as it tried to find a place in each market.

Rishi Chandra, vice president of product management for Google’s Home hardware unit, said in an interview that Google was being “a little bit more thoughtful” than the internet shopping company.

“Amazon is taking a broad approach,” Chandra said. “We are going to iterate until we’ve got a fantastic product story to tell.”

Courtesy: The Globe And Mail

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