Google launches all-new Pixels; cameras highest rated ever

Source : REUTERS
By : Paresh Dave
Last Updated: Thu, Oct 05, 2017 18:52 hrs

SAN FRANCISCO: Alphabet Inc's Google on Wednesday unveiled the second generation of its Pixel smartphone along with 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 aluminium bodies and no traditional jacks for headphones. Prices for the base model start at $649 (Rs 61000 for the 64GB variant of Pixel 2 and Rs 70000 for the 128GB variant of the Pixel 2 in India), while the high-end version starts at $849 ((Rs 73000 for Pixel 2 XL 64GB and or Rs 82000 for the Pixel 2 XL 128GB in India.

The phones will be available October 19 in the US and many other markets. In India, the pre-orders commence from October 26. The devices will be available in over 1000 stores across the country and on Flipkart, starting November 1 (Pixel 2) and November 15 (Pixel 2 XL).

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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 October 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.

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.