- Google yesterday showcased its latest smartphone at an event that also introduced a voice-enabled smart display and its first Chrome tablet, according to a company blog post. The Pixel 3 (starting price $799) and Pixel 3 XL ($899) have a dual-lens selfie camera and software updates such as Top Shot, which takes multiple pictures in rapid succession and uses machine learning to select the best shot, per PCWorld.
- The Google Camera app also provides real-time analysis of images using Google Lens, whose computer vision technology helps to recognize objects, VentureBeat reported. That means users can automatically perform searches for shoppable products like clothing or fashion accessories by pointing the smartphone's camera at them.
- Google also introduced its first tablet and smart display. The Pixel Slate ($599) runs on the Chrome operating system and will be available later this year with an offer for three free months of YouTube TV. The company's Home Hub ($149) uses Google Assistant to respond to voice commands and is automatically integrated with YouTube, per The Verge.
Google is among the tech giants that have debuted their latest gadgetry ahead of the busy holiday shopping season. Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Samsung and even Facebook have rolled out hardware devices of one kind or another, including smartphones, tablets, smart displays and speakers, laptops and a range of smart home appliances. Each company touts the strengths of their devices, especially as innovation reaches an impasse in maturing categories like smartphones.
Google's new Pixel 3 smartphone is notable for having a dual-lens selfie camera, but most of the mobile innovation is in its camera software with features that help amateur photographers take brilliant pictures. The inclusion of real-time Google Lens functionality could offer marketers another way to offer shoppable experiences and follows Google's recent expansion of its visual search features.
The smart display subset of the smart speaker market is growing increasingly crowded with Google's latest Home Hub device rolling out one day after Facebook introduced the Portal, which offers in-home video chat and voice-enabled apps for Amazon Alexa. Lenovo, JBL, LG and Sony are among the electronics giants that have announced plans to develop smart displays powered by Google Assistant, the search giant's voice-enabled platform, Android Central reports. Google's key advantage among voice assistants is the support of its search engine that helps users find accurate information quicker than they can with Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa or Microsoft's Cortana, according to a study by researcher Stone Temple.
While Google is steadily gaining market share in the smart speaker space, it's struggled for similar gains in the smartphone category. The company sold about 3.9 million Pixel devices last year, according to an estimate by the International Data Corporation — twice as many as it did in 2016. Still, Google hasn't made a significant dent in the global smartphone market, with Huawei, Samsung, Apple and Xiaomi leading the way in Q2 2018, per IDC estimates.