Google unveils latest smartphone offering

By REUTERS
October 5, 2016 05:59
1 minute read.

Google's product launch on Tuesday was as much a jab at Apple Inc's iPhone as a sales pitch for its new Pixel phones, with executives from the Mountain View internet search company taking shots at their competitor at every turn.

But any gains Google makes with the $649 Pixel, billed as completely designed in-house, may come not at the expense of Apple, but phone manufacturers running its Android software, a list topped by Samsung Electronics Co Ltd.

"A premium Android strategy is really a strategy to take market share from Samsung," said analyst Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research. The South Korean company already is reeling from a highly-publicized recall of its Galaxy Note 7 phones due to battery fires.

"Obviously Google doesn't want to explicitly compete with its own partners, but this product is much more likely to compete with Samsung than Apple," Dawson said.

Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc, clearly has its sights set on the iPhone and the luxury consumer base that it commands.

"There's no unsightly camera bump," hardware chief Rick Osterloh said to laughter from the audience at the phone's debut, alluding to the iPhone's raised camera, a feature lamented by some design aficionados.

Newly released ads for the Pixel phones land some blows on the iPhone. A rundown of the phones' new features concludes with "3.5mm headphone jack satisfyingly not new," a reference to Apple's decision to eliminate the port in the iPhone 7, which riled many customers.


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