Can Google’s new smartphones lure away iPhone buyers?

Google's new Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro will be powered by the company's first chip called Tensor   | Photo Credit: Google

This week, Google unveiled its latest Pixel smartphones, which will be powered by the company’s own custom-designed chip. The two phones, Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, have a slight difference in size and features, but are built to deliver on the search giant’s strengths in artificial intelligence and image processing.

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The Tensor chip, which has been four years in development, is optimised to deliver faster and accurate speech recognition, and longer battery life. Among Android-based alternatives, the custom-built silicon is a strong differentiator. Other brands like Oppo, Xiaomi and Vivo run on either Qualcomm or Mediatek’s semiconductors.

Google’s two new phones will have enhanced video features that include long-exposure option, moving object blur, and a reverse action mode. Upgraded camera software allows better capture of skin tones, and can reduce stray light in photos, which can make dark skin appear ashy. Some of these features overlap with Apple’s latest cinematic mode feature in its newer iPhones.

Pixel 6 and 6 Pro will also come with the latest Titan M2 memory chip that are better at protecting passwords and securing transactions in apps. Between the two models, the Pixel 6 Pro has more memory at 12GB, offers an extra 4x camera zoom, and a faster refresh rate. This puts the phone in direct competition against the iPhone 13 Pro Max.

Beyond the custom-designed chip, camera, assistant and AI features, what makes Google’s latest devices more attractive than Apple’s iPhone is the pricing. The Pixel 6 Pro is priced at $899, significantly lesser than iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max, which sells for $999 and $1,099, respectively.

Also Read | Apple to sell fewer iPhones as chip crisis bites

Google’s earlier Pixel phones have been better than its competitors’ in the Android smartphone market, but what lagged its sales is the company’s limited efforts in marketing the devices. Despite owning the operating system that powers top smartphones across the global, Google has a small share in the handset market.

The U.S. smartphone market continues to be dominated by Apple at 53% in the September ending quarter 2021, followed by Samsung, Lenovo, and LG, according to Counterpoint research. Pixel has less than 5% of the market. That’s a lot of catching up to do, and lot more cash to throw into its marketing budget.

But Google is making its hardware ambitions clear with custom-built chip, personalised software and affordably priced Pixel 6 and 6 Pro smartphones.

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2021 5:36:19 PM |

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