San Francisco: Alphabet Inc’s Google on Wednesday unveiled the second generation of its Pixel smartphone along with Google Home Max - new voice-enabled home speakers, redoubling its commitment to the hardware business as it competes with a surge in devices from Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc.
The new devices, which include a Pixelbook laptop, wireless earbuds and a small GoPro-like camera, showcase Google-developed operating systems and services, notably the voice assistant. That means usage of those devices should stoke the company’s core ad sales business as buyers of the hardware use Google services like search and maps.
The Pixel 2 smartphone comes in two sizes, with comparable features, including aluminum bodies and no traditional jacks for headphones. Prices for the base model start at $649, while the high-end version starts at $849. The phones will be available Oct. 19, according to Reuters.
Pixelbook, priced at $999, is the first laptop powered by Google Assistant and will support Snap Inc’s Snapchat, the company said. It would be available in stores from Oct. 31.
Google Home Mini, the new speaker, is priced at $49 in the United States and would rival Amazon.com Inc’s popular Echo Dot. It will be available by the end of the year.
The Pixel debuted a year ago, with analysts estimating sales of more than 2 million, pushing Google to record amounts of non-advertising revenue. Google’s “other” revenue category, which includes both hardware and sales of online storage services, accounted for about 12 percent of overall sales in its most recent quarter.
As for the features, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL will offer major upgrades in the camera department, squeezable displays, and stronger software integration to deliver a more personalised experience to the user.
The two smartphones aren't too different from each other, like the Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL, with the display size and battery capacity being the biggest differences. However, fans will miss out on the 3.5mm headphone jack, which has given way to USB Type-C for both charging and music.
Google Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL price in India
The company has confirmed that Pixel 2 price in India for the 64GB variant will be Rs. 61,000, and Rs. 70,000 for the 128GB variant.
The prices in India of Pixel 2 XL for the 64GB and 128GB variants are Rs. 73,000 and Rs. 82,000, respectively. While the smartphones will be available from over 1,000 offline stores in the country, they will be exclusively available online via Flipkart.
India pre-orders for the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL start from October 26; the former will then go on sale on November 1 and latter on November 15.
Last month, Google expanded its hardware development capabilities by picking up a 2,000-person smartphone engineering team at HTC for $1.1 billion.
Still, Google has a large gulf to cross before matching the 215 million iPhones sold by Apple in the last four quarters.