The Apple iPhone 15 series now faces fresh competition as Google introduced its latest smartphone, the Pixel 8, on Wednesday, alongside a new smartwatch that seamlessly integrates advanced artificial intelligence (AI) technology into its core consumer devices.
The enhancements made to the Pixel phones, which are particularly popular among photography enthusiasts and those who prefer a pure Android experience, have the potential to make them more appealing to shoppers as they plan their holiday season purchases.
Google has upgraded the Pixel lineup by equipping it with the Tensor G3 mobile processor, which includes native machine learning and generative AI models. These AI features can assist users in various ways, such as improving photography, summarising web content, and blocking unwanted spam calls. This announcement was made during the Made by Google event held in New York.
Additionally, the higher-end Pixel 8 Pro now features a temperature sensor, and Google has applied for approval from the Food and Drug Administration to enable a thermometer app for measuring body temperature.
The Pixel 8 is priced starting at $699, while the Pixel 8 Pro starts at $999, making it $100 more expensive than the previous generation models. Both models will be available for purchase starting on October 12th.
At the event, Google emphasized its commitment to mobile AI, a direction that IDC analyst Ryan Reith noted could have a significant impact on the industry, especially in the US, if accompanied by strong marketing efforts.
Notably, in the previous month, Apple launched a new series of iPhones that included improvements in design and performance but did not increase prices, reflecting the ongoing challenges in the global smartphone market.
According to IDC, Google’s Pixel ranks 12th globally in terms of smartphone shipments, holding a 0.9 per cent market share. The largest market for Pixel devices is the United States, accounting for approximately 39 per cent of global shipments, followed by Japan at 29 per cent and the UK at 9 per cent.
In addition to the smartphone and smartwatch announcements, Google also revealed plans to integrate generative AI capabilities into its virtual assistant, enabling it to assist users with tasks like trip planning and email management while also asking follow-up questions.
Furthermore, Google introduced the Google Watch 2, an upgraded version of its first smartwatch released in October of the previous year. It is priced at $349 and comes with a digital crown and advanced health tracking features powered by AI.