Alphabet’s Google unveiled its latest offerings on Wednesday, introducing the Pixel 8 smartphones and a new smartwatch, marking a significant integration of its artificial intelligence (AI) technology into its flagship consumer devices.
The enhancements made to the Pixel phones, known for their popularity among photography enthusiasts and those who prefer the unadulterated Android experience, could prove enticing for holiday season shoppers.
Google has bolstered the Pixel lineup with the Tensor G3 mobile processor, its latest innovation, which natively incorporates numerous machine learning and generative AI models right into the device itself.
At the Made by Google event in New York, company executives highlighted the AI capabilities of these devices, underscoring their prowess in areas such as photography enhancement, webpage summarization, and spam call blocking.
In a noteworthy addition, the higher-end Pixel 8 Pro comes equipped with a temperature sensor. Google has taken steps to secure approval from the Food and Drug Administration for the Thermometer app to measure body temperature.
The Pixel 8 starts at $699, while the Pixel 8 Pro is priced at $999, representing a $100 increase compared to the previous generation models. Both models are set to hit the market on October 12.
Ryan Reith, an analyst at IDC, commented on Google’s strategic focus, stating, “Google was clearly focused on driving the mobile AI message in today’s event, and having AI on the device/client will be a big topic for the industry going forward. If supported by strong marketing, Google could drive higher market share with this lineup, specifically in the U.S.”
Last month, Apple introduced a new series of iPhones that featured a titanium shell, a faster chip, and enhanced gaming capabilities. Notably, the iPhone 15 did not raise prices, a move reflective of the overall downturn in the global smartphone market.
According to IDC, Google Pixel ranks 12th globally in terms of shipments, holding a 0.9% market share. The United States leads as the largest market, accounting for approximately 39% of Pixel’s worldwide shipments, followed by Japan at 29% and the UK at 9%.
In addition to its smartphone and smartwatch announcements, Google revealed plans to imbue its virtual assistant with generative artificial intelligence capabilities. This enhancement will enable the assistant to assist users in planning trips, catching up on emails, and posing follow-up questions.
The company also unveiled the Google Watch 2, an upgraded version of its first smartwatch launched in October of the previous year. With a starting price of $349, this watch features a digital crown and advanced health tracking functionalities powered by AI.