The company’s Android operating system is the dominant one in the smartphone world but attempts to get users to take a Google-branded phone to their hearts in the same way that the Apple zealots cherish their iPhones have met with limited success.
The new handset has been dubbed the Pixel, and Google is hoping that the inclusion of a virtual assistant and a voice-activated speaker will be enough to make a splash in the highly competitive smartphone market.
There are actually two Pixel handsets being launched, one with a 5” screen and 32 gigabytes (GB) of memory and the other with a 5.5” screen and 128GB of memory.
Both feature the Google Assistant, which the spin doctors at Google claims has certain advantages over similar features on rivals phones, such as Siri on the iPhone.
Google says its Assistant can hold a conversation, with one question or command following on logically from the previous one, plus it also has access to Google’s Knowledge Graph database, which is a repository of more than 70bn facts.
It’s well known that smartphones are more frequently used as music players-cum-internet devices than as phones, so the inclusion of a headphone jack – something you won’t find on Apple’s latest models – will please music buffs.
The controversial company, disliked in many quarters for its tax avoidance strategies, is also making a late entry into the “smart speaker” some two years after another tax specialist, Amazon.com, released its Echo speaker.
The Google Home speaker is voice-activated and can answer questions, control Internet of Things home appliances, play music and act as a kind of alarm clock.