Google looks to raise its smartphone game with Pixel 7 – Science & Tech

Thomas Urban (AFP)

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

12:00 p.m

Science & Technology
Google, smartphone, pixel phone, Apple, AI

Google is trying to up its smartphone game with the Pixel 7, the latest entrant in a competitive corner of personal electronics where it’s traditionally been a minor player.

The device was unveiled in Brooklyn this week, where representatives from the Mountain View, California-based giant highlighted top-of-the-line features that can reduce background noise on the phone.

First introduced in 2016, the Pixel was a latecomer to the portable phone trend, coming nearly a decade after Apple’s iPhone and seven years after Samsung’s Galaxy model, the two products that dominate today’s market.

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

These paltry sales numbers are partly due to the limited availability of the Google phone, with the Pixel 5 being 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 qualitatively comparable to the top sellers, marketing-wise the product has “often missed Google’s support,” said Runar Bjørhovde, a research analyst at market research firm Canalys.

Google has instead focused on improving its Android operating system, launched in 2008, which Canalys said powered more than 80 percent of smartphones sold in the first half of 2022.

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

READ :  Artificial intelligence here as friend and foe and both - Llewellyn King

But “selling more Pixel devices could mean stealing stakes from other Android players, and that would go against Pixel’s goal,” he said.

Bjørhovde noted that Google has taken a certain turn with the latest version of the phone, releasing a product compatible with the company’s wearables, earbuds and other devices.

Miracles of AI

The previous phone version, 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 features a second-generation tensor, the G2, which can make blurry photos clearer, remove distracting extras from photos, and remove background noise on phone calls.

The updated system can also translate speech in real time, including idioms, and transmit more nuanced photos of different skin tones.

At a launch event, Google VP Rick Osterloh said the new product “represents years of development at Google and a long-term investment in the Pixel portfolio.”

The company saw an increase in revenue, reaching 6.2 million pixels in the 12 months ended June 30, 2022, up 129 percent from the previous 12 months, according to Canalys figures.

That includes doubling market share in the US, where Pixel now accounts for just 2 percent 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 increased its pixel marketing and has entered into a partnership with the professional basketball league NBA.

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

READ :  Vietnam Ministry of Science and Technology Unveils AI4VN

“Google has the potential to become a long-term player in the smartphone market,” said Bjørhovde. “However, achieving this and creating a profitable business that can last will depend on global reach and penetration into new markets.”