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Pixel plan against Apple – that's behind Google's new calculus

Google wants to be more like Apple - and is continuing to expand its hardware offering.

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Pixel plan against Apple – that's behind Google's new calculus

Google wants to be more like Apple - and is continuing to expand its hardware offering. On Thursday, the group not only presented two new pixel phones, but for the first time also a pixel smartwatch with a round design and its own pixel tablet.

All devices work in a similarly well-integrated way as only Apple can do with its tight control over hardware and software.

The two Pixel phones are the seventh iteration of Google's smartphone. The predecessors Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro were a restart of the series and for the first time also really commercially relevant for the group.

Google itself stated that the Pixel 6, with its radically revised design and the really good triple camera, has so far been sold significantly more often than the two previous generations combined.

But compared to the two smartphone market leaders Apple and Samsung, Google is still far from a real breakthrough. According to a market analysis by IDC, the group has so far sold just under 28 million pixel devices in total, Samsung delivers that many within two months.

But Google is not only investing in the development of new pixel devices because of the relatively meager hardware sales. With the expanded portfolio of devices, the group is also creating an ecosystem with which it can try out and show new functions of its Android operating system.

With Nest, Google has its own smart home brand whose devices are integrated into the Android system. Two days earlier, Google showed a new Nest router called Wifi Pro and a new video doorbell that can be operated seamlessly via the Android system's "Home" app.

The Pixel Buds Pro headphones, which Google presented in the summer, are also integrated directly into the operating system and can be easily controlled or searched for - functions that only Apple can otherwise provide. In this way, Google keeps its Android system relevant and to some extent avoids other manufacturers building their own apps for smart home functions and thus excluding Google.

The Pixel series is important for Google in the USA, because there is now a lack of competition in the smartphone market for Android phones. If you don't want to buy Apple, you almost inevitably have to go to Samsung, because the Chinese manufacturers are either no longer present on the market there due to various sanctions or are no longer technically up-to-date.

LG stopped producing smartphones last year, Nokia is irrelevant in the US, and Sony is currently not competitive either. In order for Google not to become completely dependent on Samsung for the distribution of the latest Android version, the company has to bring the latest Android functions to its own devices.

Google wants to show what's possible and thus put all other manufacturers under pressure to release relatively complex software updates for their devices as well.

Accordingly, the two new Pixel 7 smartphones have been running Android 13 right from the start with its new security and privacy options and even tighter integration of Google apps.

Some new functions should already be familiar to Apple users, such as the simultaneous pairing of headphones with multiple devices. Conversely, Google allowed itself a dig at Apple and, during its presentation on Thursday, listed several functions that Apple recently presented as new on the iPhone 14, but which have long been standard on Google devices, such as automatic accident detection.

Hardware-wise, the new Pixel phones are more of an iteration than a revolution this time. Google installs its new Tensor-G2 processor in the devices, which can shine especially for functions with artificial intelligence, such as call recognition or photo post-processing.

But in the first tough application benchmarks, the chip is significantly slower than current chips from Apple or Qualcomm, for example. This is not relevant for 99 percent of users. Qualities like the longer battery life, the new displays, which are supposed to be brighter and yet more energy-efficient than before, and the new cameras count more.

During the presentation, Google particularly emphasized the zoom function, which, with the help of artificial intelligence, should enable the Pixel 7 Pro to be enlarged up to 30 times. Macro shots are also possible with it, the lens can get up to three centimeters from the subject.

In 2021, Google took over Fitbit, a company specializing in fitness trackers. Now the group can incorporate its technology into its own products for the first time and is supplying a watch with a powerful heart rate sensor, stress detection and sleep monitoring. A version with an integrated cellular module can also take calls or make emergency calls without a smartphone.

The new phones will be available from mid-October and will cost 649 euros (Pixel 7) and 899 euros (Pixel 7 Pro), the watch will cost from 379 euros and can be ordered immediately. The Pixel tablet was first shown, but won't be available until 2023.

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