Google adopts an Apple-like approach for its Pixel products

May 11, 2022, 12:12 PM | Updated: May 13, 2022, 2:50 pm
This photo provided by Google shows the Pixel Watch.  Google on Wednesday, May 11, 2022 took a big ...

This photo provided by Google shows the Pixel Watch. Google on Wednesday, May 11, 2022 took a big step toward pushing its Pixel product line-up down a road already paved by Apple and its array of trendsetting phones, tablets and watches. (Google via AP)

(Google via AP)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google on Wednesday took a big step toward pushing its Pixel product line-up down a road already paved by Apple and its array of trendsetting devices.

The latest additions to its six-year-old Pixel brand will include Google’s first smartwatch that draws upon the features and expertise it has gained from last year’s $2.1 billion acquisition of fitness gadget maker Fitbit.

The new watch, targeted for an autumn release, marks Google’s first major attempt to make its mark in wearable technology, a market that has been growing steadily since Apple introduced its smartwatch in 2014. Until now, Google’s presence in the smartwatch market had been limited to making a version of its mobile Android operating system for watches made by other companies.

Google also used its annual I/O developers conference to tease a Pixel tablet that it is scheduled for release next year to compete against Apple’s market-leading iPad.

Besides showcasing its upcoming devices, Google also previewed the next version of its Android operating system, which runs most of the world’s smartphones outside Apple’s iPhone. It also highlighted several advances in the field of artificial intelligence.

Google’s emphasis on new devices signals that a company best known for its dominant search engine and other popular internet software is confident it now has a better handle on how to design and manufacture hardware. It released its first Pixel smartphone in 2016.

“It takes a long time to build the capabilities, and now you are seeing very visibly that technology be expressed through many different products,” Rick Osterloh, the executive in charge of Google’s device division, told reporters earlier this week. “It was like an iceberg in that you didn’t see a lot what was happening underneath, but now you can really see all these things coming to the surface.”

Because it already brings more than $200 billion annually in digital ad sales, Google can afford to branch out into different directions and find new ways to connect with people, said Gartner analyst Tuong Nguyen.

Adding more products to the Pixel line-up “gives them another touch point to learn and experience things with people more directly,” Nguyen said. “Now, they not only be in your pocket, but now they can be on your wrist, and in your ears, too.”

Before launching its smartwatch, Google will be fleshing out its selection of Pixel phones with a new budget model called the 6a coming out in late July, along with its first set of wireless ear buds to include noise cancellation.

The Pixel 6a will include Google’s top-of-the line processor but sell for $449 — a 25% discount from the slightly more sophisticated Pixel 6 released last fall. The Pixel Buds Pro will sell for $199. Both products are scheduled for a July 28 release.

Because it already brings more than $200 billion annually in digital ad sales, Google can afford to branch out into different directions and find new ways to connect with people, said Gartner analyst Tuong Nguyen.

Adding more products to the Pixel line-up “gives them another touch point to learn and experience things with people more directly,” Nguyen said. “They not only be in your pocket, but now they can be on your wrist, and in your ears, too.”

The watch will be the first product to test a privacy pledge that Google made to gain regulatory approval for its Fitbit takeover 16 months ago. As part of the deal, Google promised not to collect the health and fitness information accumulated through Fitbit features to sell digital ads that generate most of its revenue — a commitment that the company said it will honor with the new Pixel Watch.

Although they still aren’t anywhere as popular as phones, smartwatches continued to make significant inroads with projected worldwide shipments of 31.3 million units this year, up from 18.5 million in 2019 before the pandemic helped stoke even more demand for internet-connected gadgets.

Even after pouring billions of dollars into a hardware division that now employs thousands of people, Google hasn’t made major inroads.

Despite occasional glowing reviews, Pixel smartphones have less than a 1% share of the global market for the devices, according to the research firm International Data Corp. All told, IDC estimates that fewer than 30 million Pixel smartphones have been sold since the release of the first model nearly six years ago. By contrast, Apple shipped more than 56 million iPhones during the first three months of this year alone, according to IDC.

But IDC analyst Nabila Popal said there are signs that the Pixel smartphone line is starting to gain more traction. She believes the Pixel 6 would have sold even better than it already has were it not for chip shortages that have hurt a variety of products, increasing the chances that the lower priced 6a model will be “very well received.”

For its part, Google says the Pixel 6 already has outsold the Pixel 4 and Pixel 5 combined during its first six months on the market.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street in London, Wednesday, July 6, 2022. A...
Associated Press

UK’s Johnson defiant even as opponents tell him time is up

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has rejected clamors for his resignation from his Cabinet and across the Conservative Party, digging in his heels Thursday even as dozens of officials quit and previously loyal allies urged him to go after yet another scandal engulfed his leadership. A group of Johnson’s most trusted Cabinet […]
24 hours ago
Painter Hassan Naderali greets a resident as he paints an old building in the historic neighborhood...
Associated Press

Iran’s outdoor painters seek to capture, preserve old Tehran

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Tehran residents accustomed to seething at slow-moving traffic, sweltering in summer heat and suffocating in smog may be surprised to find a growing number of outdoor painters reveling in the Iranian capital’s historic charm. The overcrowded metropolis may be dusty and in need of beautification, but the honeycomb of alleyways that […]
24 hours ago
Currency traders watch monitors at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquart...
Associated Press

Asian stocks higher after Fed says rate hikes may be needed

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets gained Thursday after the Federal Reserve said higher U.S. interest rates might be needed to cool inflation. Shanghai, Tokyo and Sydney advanced. Hong Kong declined. Oil prices edged higher after falling below $100 per barrel this week. Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index gained 0.4% on Wednesday after notes […]
24 hours ago
A girl reaches out from a window of her home built on squatted land that is occupied by hundreds of...
Associated Press

Inflation pushed 71M people into poverty since Ukraine war

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A staggering 71 million more people around the world are experiencing poverty as a result of soaring food and energy prices that climbed in the weeks following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the United Nations Development Program said in a report Thursday. The UNDP estimates that 51.6 million more people […]
24 hours ago
FILE - Sumo wrestler Takayuki Ichihara from Japan, left, fights against Keisho Shimoda from Japan, ...
Associated Press

Pandemic-delayed World Games open in Birmingham a year late

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Delayed a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Games open Thursday in Alabama featuring more than 3,600 athletes participating in non-Olympic events including sumo wrestling, gymnastics, pickleball, martial arts and tug of war. The opening ceremony, set for Thursday night at Protective Stadium in Birmingham, includes performances by Nelly […]
24 hours ago
Associated Press

Sentencing set for 2 in Arizona ballot harvesting case

YUMA, Ariz. (AP) — Two women are scheduled to be sentenced Thursday in southern Arizona for their conviction for illegally collecting four early ballots during the 2020 primary election. Authorities say Guillermina Fuentes and Alma Juarez participated in “ballot harvesting.” That’s a practice once used by both political parties to boost turnout but was made […]
24 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
...
Christina O’Haver

BE FAST to spot a stroke

Every 40 seconds—that’s how often someone has a stroke in the United States. It’s the fifth leading cause of death among Americans, with someone dying of a stroke every 3.5 minutes.
Google adopts an Apple-like approach for its Pixel products