On Wednesday, Alphabet Inc’s Google (GOOG) launched a second generation of their Pixel smartphone together with new voice-enabled home speakers. The launch shows Google’s dedication to the hardware industry as it is competing with an abundance of devices from both Apple Inc (AAPL) and Amazon.com Inc (AMZN).
Google’s products also include a Pixelbook laptop, wireless earbuds, and a GoPro-like camera which all display the Google developed operating systems and services, particularly the voice assistant. Use of the devices can increase the company’s sales business as shoppers of the devices will use Google services like search and maps.
Rick Osterloh, chief of Google Hardware, spoke that the new products, “perfectly demonstrate our strategy of re-imagining hardware from the inside out.”
In mid-October the new Pixel 2 smartphone will be available for purchasing. The smartphone that comes in two sizes both have aluminum bodies and no conventional jack for headphones. Base model prices start at $649 and higher end version starts at $849.
The Pixel phones lack the brand lustre and market share of similarly priced smartphones such as the Apple iPhone or Samsung Electronics Co’s Galaxy S and Galaxy Note smartphones. Still, the original Pixel’s camera and software drew acclaim from reviewers, many of whom expect the line to become a robust competitor at the high end of the Android smartphone market.
The Pixelbook, priced around $999, is the initial laptop to be powered by Google Assistant. The keyboard folds behind the screen to turn into a tablet. The Pixelbook will be available to purchase on October 31.
One of the newest speakers, the Google Home Mini available mid October, priced around $49 will compete with Amazon’s Echo Dot. By the end of the year, the Home Max speaker with dual woofers and powerful sound will be available.
Pixel Buds are to arrive in November, priced at $149. Clips, which is a small camera with object detection and automatic recording capabilities is to launch “soon” according to sources at Google.
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Making its debut a year ago, the Pixel smartphone drove Google to report amounts of non-advertising revenue. Google also brings in revenue from both hardware and sales of online storage services which accounted for 12 percent of overall sales in its last quarter.
Five years ago, Google shifted into smartphones with the $12.5-billion purchase of Motorola Mobility. But Motorola’s hardware team, under Osterloh, and Google’s Android mobile operating system division remained independent. Google tried to protect their relationships with Samsung, LG and other distributors of Android. Google later sold the smartphone business.
Google’s competitor is now with Apple, whose iPhone is the smartphone to overcome.