Google is looking to elevate its smartphone game with Pixel 7 – Science & Tech

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Thomas Urban (AFP)

New York, United States ●
Sun, October 9, 2022

2022-10-09
12:00
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science and technology
Google, smartphone, Pixel-phone, Apple, AI
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Google is looking to up its smartphone game with the Pixel 7, the latest entrant into a competitive corner of personal electronics where it has traditionally been a bit of a gamer.

The device was unveiled this week in Brooklyn, where representatives from the Mountain View, Calif. giant touted top-notch features capable of reducing background noise on the phone.

First introduced in 2016, the Pixel came late in the mobile phone trend, arriving almost a decade after Apple’s iPhone and seven years after Samsung’s Galaxy model, the two products that dominate the market. current.

In 2020, global shipments of the Google phone were just 2.7 million, alongside more than 200 million for Apple and Samsung options.

Those paltry sales numbers are partly down to the limited availability of the Google phone, with the Pixel 5 sold in fewer than 10 countries as the tech giant has focused its smartphone investments on software rather than its own hardware.

While Google’s phones are comparable in quality to top sellers, the product “has often lacked Google’s backing” in terms of marketing, said Runar Bjørhovde, a research analyst at market research firm Canalys.

Google has instead focused on bolstering its Android operating system, which launched in 2008 and comprised more than 80% of smartphones sold in the first half of 2022, according to Canalys.

Maurice Klaehne of Counterpoint Research said “Google certainly has the ability and the resources to become a major player in smartphones, but that’s not Pixel’s strategy,” noting that Android’s growth remains the primary focus of Google.

But “Selling more Pixel devices could mean taking shares away from other Android gamers, and that would defeat Pixel’s purpose,” he said.

Bjørhovde noted that with the latest version of the phone, Google has pivoted somewhat, releasing a product that is compatible with wearables, headphones and other devices made by the company.

Wonders of AI

The previous version of the phone, the Pixel 6, was the first to use Tensor processing developed by Google to enable more sophisticated artificial intelligence and machine learning.

The Pixel 7 has a second-generation Tensor, the G2, which can make blurry photos clearer, remove distracting extras from photos, and remove background noise during phone calls.

The improved system can also translate language in real time, including idioms, and convey more nuanced photos of different skin tones.

At a launch event, Google Vice President Rick Osterloh said the new product “represents years of development within Google and a long-term investment in the Pixel wallet.”

The company saw an increase in sales, reaching 6.2 million pixels in the 12 months ending June 30, 2022, up 129% from the previous 12-month period, according to figures from Canalys.

That includes a doubling of market share in the US, where Pixel now accounts for just 2% of smartphone sales.

Priced at $599 in the US, the Pixel 7 is positioned as relatively affordable. The latest versions of the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy both cost around $800.

Google has beefed up its Pixel marketing by partnering with the NBA’s professional basketball league.

The company also plans to distribute Pixel 7 in 17 countries, compared to 13 markets for the previous version.

“Google has the potential to become a long-term player in the smartphone market,” Bjørhovde said. “However, it will depend on going global and penetrating new markets to achieve this and create a profitable business that can last.”


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