Google launches its Pixel Watch to attack Apple’s mobile ecosystem

Posted Oct 6, 2022 4:45 PMUpdated on Oct 6, 2022 at 5:11 PM

Smartphones, headphones, and now a watch: with the official launch of the Pixel Watch on Thursday in New York, Google completes its range of connected wearables and comes to compete head-on with Apple, leader of a smartwatch market since the launch of the Apple Watch in 2015.

Unveiled last spring at the Google I/O event, the Pixel Watch is round and a little domed, whereas the Apple Watch has a more boxy and flat shape. But, for the rest, the two products have a lot of similarities: navigation in the applications is done using a crown and a button, the bracelet hangs with a proprietary system that allows you to change your style , and the functions are identical – reading notifications, the ability to take calls, GPS, etc. As for the price (379 euros in the basic version, 429 euros in the 4G/cellular version), it is halfway between the Apple Watch SE, Apple’s entry-level, and the new Apple Watch 8, launched in early September.

Like Apple, Google highlights functions related to health and sport, such as heart rate measurement, sleep monitoring or the possibility of recording performance in more than thirty sports practices ranging from running to foot to yoga, hiking, swimming or surfing. Google relies for this on the experience of Fitbit, a pioneer in connected bracelets for fitness, which it acquired in 2019 for 2.1 billion dollars.

“Of course, Google is late to this market, and of course it is not going to dethrone Applesaid Dan Ives, analyst at Wedbush. But the risk is limited, and there is still market share at hand. Connected watches are arousing more and more interest among seniors, especially for health, and Google does not intend to let Apple take advantage of it alone. » Buyers of a Google Watch get six months of free access to the Fitbit Premium service, which provides access to fitness coaching videos and health and wellness tips based on data from the watch.

No price increase

At the event, Google also launched its two new phones, the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro. Very similar in design to their predecessors, released a year ago, they are marketed at the same prices (respectively 649 and 899 euros), and with the same strategy: to offer advanced functions, available on the “premium” models of Apple or Samsung, but at a lower price. The new Pixels incorporate a new processor from Google, the Tensor G2, designed to accelerate artificial intelligence calculations, particularly in image and voice processing.

Although it provides the main operating system for smartphones, Android (70% market share worldwide), Google is still struggling in the terminal market, where it has only been offering its own products since 2016. second quarter of 2022, according to Canalys, the Mountain View giant represented only 2% of smartphone sales in the United States, far behind Apple (52%), Samsung (26%) or Motorola (9%). But they rose sharply over one year (+230%).

“After supply problems last year, sales have recovered since the release of the Pixel 6”, says Maurice Klaehne, analyst for Counterpoint Research. But for him, the group must “follow a delicate path. On the one hand, Google wants to be present in this market. On the other hand, he doesn’t want to upset other Android smartphone makers. »

A Pixel Tablet next year

In this context, the Pixel range plays the role of showcase of all that the Android operating system can do at a time when it is giving up some ground in the United States: last June, Apple exceeded the 50% of the smartphone market, according to Counterpoint.

The devices presented in New York “all work together to bring you the magic of Google”, enthused on stage Rick Osterloh, vice president in charge of the division products and services of Google. Next year, they will be joined by a tablet, unveiled Thursday, which will also integrate a Tensor G2 chip.

This idea of ​​an ecosystem of products designed to provide a better experience when used together has long been part of Apple’s strategy. With the Pixel Watch, which joins the Pixel Buds phones and headphones, Google finally has a complete panoply to offer an alternative ecosystem. It remains to be seen whether consumers will follow…

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Google launches its Pixel Watch to attack Apple’s mobile ecosystem

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