Posted on Oct. 19, 2021, 7:30 p.m.Updated Oct 19, 2021, 10:07 PM
For the moment, Google is still struggling to establish itself in the smartphone market. The Californian firm remains far behind its competitors Samsung and Apple, which dominate the market for high-end laptops, while Chinese companies (Xiaomi, Vivo and Oppo) are taking over for cheaper mobiles. The software giant hopes to change the situation with its Pixel 6 smartphone, presented this Tuesday.
For the first time, Google presents two models, the Pixel 6 and the Pixel 6 Pro. This strategy is directly inspired by that of Apple, which has been declining its iPhone Pro version for two years. The Pixel 6 will cost at least 649 euros in Europe and the premium version 899 euros. Prices significantly lower than the latest models of its two big rivals.
A “very aggressive” price
“This is a very aggressive starting price for the Pixel 6,” said Google’s hardware director, Rick Osterloh, on the Mountain View campus. “We recognize that we are not in a dominant position. The premium smartphone market is dominated by two players and we need to gain the trust of consumers to sell our products to them. “
As the pressure against planned device obsolescence increases, the California giant promises that the new Pixel 6 will benefit from software updates for five years. This is more than its competitors in the Android universe, Samsung, Oppo and Xiaomi, who commit to updating their software for four years. “We would be happy if users keep them for longer,” comments Rick Osterloh. “It lowers the total cost for our customers and it’s better from an ecological point of view. “
For Dan Ives, analyst at Wedbush, this strategy could prove to be a winner for the group. Cutting the prices of its smartphones is “the right choice at a key moment for Google” which is still struggling to assert itself as a manufacturer of electronic equipment, believes the expert. “Its market share should increase, even if it faces a very competitive environment. “
Much like its rival Apple, Google decided to develop an internal chip, which gives it more control over the end product. Both smartphones contain a Google Tensor chip. Originally, this chip was developed to accelerate artificial intelligence systems, before being adapted for smartphones. It should make devices up to 80% faster, according to the California firm.
“We have spent several years developing Google Tensor and its technology is fundamentally based around artificial intelligence,” says Rick Osterloh. “Tensor was built to bring this cutting edge technology directly to our users. “
Among the new features of the Pixel 6 is the ability to erase, in the background of photos, people or elements of scenery such as electric wires. The smartphone also allows you to dictate text messages that are written as you go, or to translate text appearing on panels, for example, using the camera. So many examples of the use of machine learning in everyday life.
Combined with another chip, dubbed “Titan M2”, the Tensor processor also aims to better protect the privacy of Pixel users. “When we designed the Tensor chip and the whole product, safety was a central concern,” says Rick Osterloh.
The director of hardware also spoke of the difficulties Google faces in sourcing semiconductors. This shortage has affected the production of laptops in the Chrome OS universe, as “it has affected everyone,” he says. The shortage could last a year, or less, in case “some economies start to slow down.”