Discover Google’s Latest Technology: A Connected Watch

By Samantha Murphy Kelly, CNN Business

Google on Thursday unveiled its new Pixel 7 line of smartphones and its first-ever Pixel smartwatch, which comes with tracking and health features from its subsidiary Fitbit.

At a press event in New York, Google showed off the new Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro devices, which largely resemble the previous year, but with new camera features, an improved screen and battery, and a processor Google Tensor updated.

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Although many updates are iterative, the range will likely appeal to tech enthusiasts who want the latest version of Android and an alternative to Apple or Samsung smartphones, as well as those who haven’t updated their Pixel device for a few years. .

Discover the new Pixel 7

The 6.3-inch Pixel 7 has a glass back, an aluminum frame, and a sleek rear strip with black cutouts for the camera system. Its always-on OLED display allows for quick checking of widgets that highlight useful information, such as airport baggage claim details or when packages arrive (much like what was recently made available on the new iPhone 14 line with the lock screen).

Google said the Pixel 7’s screen is now 25% brighter for indoor visibility, and the device can last a full day on a single charge (or 72 hours in extreme battery saving mode) ). It comes in three colors — Obsidian, Snow, and Lemongrass — and starts at $599, which is $200 less than a base iPhone 14 with the same amount of storage.

“We want people to try the Pixel, so while phones at this level typically start at $799, we’re starting the price at $599,” Brian Rakowski, Google’s vice president of product management, said on stage. during the event.

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And also the Pixel Pro

The larger 6.7-inch Pixel Pro – which comes in a matte aluminum finish – features an always-on display, the same long-lasting battery as the Pixel 7, and a new triple rear camera system, which includes a 5x telephoto lens, 30x super zoom resolution and an improved ultra wide lens. The ultra-wide lens has autofocus capabilities to support new features, including macro focus that captures the finest details.

Both models run on Google’s new Tensor G2 processor, which powers the device’s machine learning and voice recognition capabilities, as well as several camera features. With Night Sight, for example, the camera now processes photos twice as fast. The technology also drives Cinematic Blur, a new dramatic blurring effect for videos.

A new accessibility feature called Guided Frame helps visually impaired users take better selfies by vocally instructing them to move the device in specific directions. Google also announced updates to making calls, including background noise reduction and the ability to transcribe audio messages into text messages.

The Pro model, available in Obsidian, Snow, and Hazelnut, starts at $899. Pre-orders begin Thursday for both models, and the devices hit shelves Thursday, October 13.

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Gain market shares ?

Google’s Pixel line remains a niche product. Its global market share for smartphones has never exceeded 1% on an annual basis, according to data from IDC Research. Google is also limiting sales to just a handful of countries, so keeping volume low has been strategic as Google remains primarily a software company with many partners running Android. (Google, however, said the Pixel 7 lineup will launch in several new countries, including India, Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands.)

Google probably won’t take much market share from Apple with these Pixel updates, as iPhone owners are known to be loyal to the brand. However, other Android smartphone makers, such as Samsung or smaller Chinese manufacturers, may be feeling the pressure of consumer interest in Google hardware, according to CC Insight analyst Ben Wood. “But given the incremental updates, there may be less excitement than in the past,” he said.

At the event, Google also unveiled another preview of its upcoming Pixel tablet, which will feature the Tensor G2 processor, and is expected to launch in 2023.

Fitbit CEO vows to protect user data as company becomes part of Google empire

Discover the Pixel connected watch

But one area where Google could have a bigger impact this year is with the introduction of the Pixel Watch. It’s the first wearable device from Google that leverages Fitbit’s strengths in health, fitness and wellness since closing its $2.1 billion acquisition of the smartwatch company earlier this year. last. Until now, Google has been silent on how the Fitbit brand will integrate with its Wear OS software.

The new 41mm Google Pixel Watch features a circular domed Gorilla Glass display that is scratch and water resistant. It promises up to 24 hours of battery life and is compatible with Android 8 and newer devices. Built with Fitbit’s tracking capabilities, the Pixel Watch can monitor a user’s heart rate and sleep quality, offers 40 workout modes, and learns user behavior over time.

The device also supports Emergency SOS and supports a handful of Google services, including Google Wallet, Gmail, and calendar updates, as well as messaging and 4G chat. The Pixel Watch is available in black, gold, and silver finishes. It will cost $349 for Bluetooth and $399 for 4G LTE.

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Be careful?

“The Pixel Watch poses no threat to the Apple Watch, but it does have an important role to play in educating Android smartphone owners about smartwatches,” Wood said. “Given the success of the Apple Watch, there must be a bigger market for smartwatches in the Android segment and, along with Samsung’s Galaxy Watch, the new Pixel Watch should be a key driver of growth.”

However, it may take a few generations for the Pixel Watch to catch up to the Apple Watch in terms of usability, as Apple’s smartwatch is now in its ninth iteration. But coupled with the acquisition of Fitbit and the formation of Wear OS in collaboration with Samsung, Google is showing its greater commitment to the smartwatch market and perhaps hoping that the time will finally be right.

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