Google launches new phones, speakers in hardware push

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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s Google (GOOGL.O) on Wednesday denounced a second era of a Pixel smartphone along with new voice-enabled home speakers, redoubling a joining to a hardware business as it competes with a swell of inclination from Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O).

Google’s new products, including a Pixelbook laptop, wireless earbuds and a tiny GoPro-like camera, showcase Google-developed handling systems and services, particularly a voice assistant. That means use of those inclination should stoke a company’s core ad sales business as buyers of a hardware use Google services like hunt and maps.

Speaking during a launch in San Francisco, Google hardware arch Rick Osterloh pronounced a new products “perfectly denote a plan of re-imagining hardware from a inside out.”

The Pixel 2 smartphone comes in twin sizes, with allied features, including aluminum bodies and no normal jacks for headphones. Prices for a bottom indication start during $649, while a high-end chronicle starts during $849. The phones will be accessible Oct. 19.

The Pixel phones miss a code radiance and marketplace share of likewise labelled smartphones such as a Apple iPhone or Samsung Electronics Co’s Galaxy S and Galaxy Note smartphones. Still, a strange Pixel’s camera and program drew commend from reviewers, many of whom pattern a line to spin a clever aspirant during a high finish of a Android smartphone market.

Pixelbook, labelled during $999, is a initial laptop powered by Google Assistant and will support Snap Inc’s (SNAP.N) Snapchat, a association said. The keyboard folds behind a shade to spin a 12.3-inch touchscreen into a tablet. It will be accessible in stores from Oct. 31.

Google Home Mini, one of a new speakers, is labelled during $49 in a United States and would opposition Amazon.com Inc’s (AMZN.O) renouned Echo Dot. It will be accessible Oct. 19. The Home Max, with twin woofers for some-more absolute sound, is labelled during $399 and with accessibility by a finish of a year.

The Pixel Buds, that are labelled during $149, arrive in November. Clips, that is pocket-sized camera with vigilant showing and involuntary recording capabilities, “soon” goes on sale for $249, Google said. Videos final usually a few seconds and do not enclose audio.

The Pixel smartphone debuted a year ago, with analysts estimating sales of some-more than 2 million, pulling Google to record amounts of non-advertising revenue.

Google’s “other” income category, that includes both hardware and sales of online storage services, accounted for about 12 percent of altogether sales in a many new quarter.

Last month, Google stretched a hardware growth capabilities by picking adult a 2,000-person smartphone engineering group during HTC (2498.TW) for $1.1 billion.

“It’s flattering transparent Google is critical about hardware,” pronounced Avi Greengart, investigate executive during consumer information organisation GlobalData. “Given that there is a Pixel 2, and given a financial investment, there contingency be a longer-term vital intent.”

HARDWARE CHIEF HAS SECOND GO

Google changed into smartphones 5 years ago with a $12.5-billion squeeze of Motorola Mobility. But Motorola’s hardware team, underneath Osterloh, and Google’s Android mobile handling complement multiplication remained independent. Google wanted to equivocate giving it a special advantage and strengthen a relations with Samsung, LG and other distributors of Android. The association after sole a Motorola smartphone business.

Osterloh, now operative inside Google, changed to move in-house a HTC group Google engaged to pattern a Pixel. He enjoys a clever attribute with Hiroshi Lockheimer, a Android multiplication head. The camber have been friends given operative together for several years during Good Technology in a early 2000s.

Protecting relations with others in a Android ecosystem has spin reduction of a concern. Samsung ratched down a rivalary with Google after a firms concluded to a vital obvious chartering understanding in early 2014. Other vendors have seen their marketplace share dip.

Google’s eye is now on Apple, whose iPhone has spin a smartphone to beat.

The initial Pixel debuted a year ago with a poignant selling push: during a final 3 months of a year, Google spent an estimated $110 million to atmosphere 12 Pixel-related commercials, according to information from promotion dimensions organisation iSpot.tv.

Apple spent $147 million during a same span, iSpot.tv said. Apple has postulated a TV time via a final year, while Google’s efforts have slim off.

In a speakers market, Google’s personal-assistant lags Amazon’s Echo inclination in marketplace share, according to investment bank Cowen Co. Last week, Amazon expelled several new models of a Echo, including one with a arrangement as it attempted to find a place in each niche.

Rishi Chandra, clamp boss of product government for Google’s Home hardware unit, pronounced in an talk that Google was being “a small bit some-more thoughtful” than a online selling company.

“Amazon is holding a extended approach,” Chandra said. “We’re going to iterate until we have a good product story to tell.”

Reporting by Paresh Dave in San Francisco and Laharee Chatterjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Jonathan Weber and Andrew Hay

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