UPDATE: Pixel launch will test Google hardware strategy and Apple rivalry
By Max A. Cherney
Alphabet expected to show off new Pixel smartphones and other gadgets Wednesday
Alphabet Inc. will look to impress gadget lovers Wednesday with a new line of devices for the holiday shopping season, but the company's event will also be important to determine if the money Google is spending to produce its own hardware and challenge Apple Inc. is worth the cost.
Much of what Google will unveil at the San Francisco event has been reported, thanks to a series of leaks last month. Two new Pixel phones (https://www.droid-life.com/wp-content/cache/page_enhanced/www.droid-life.com/2017/09/19/google-pixel-2-xl-exclusive/_index.html) -- one larger than the other -- a new high-end Chromebook (https://www.droid-life.com/wp-content/cache/page_enhanced/www.droid-life.com/2017/09/19/google-pixelbook-chromebook-price-release-date/_index.html), a mini version of Google's Home smart speaker (https://www.droid-life.com/wp-content/cache/page_enhanced/www.droid-life.com/2017/09/19/google-home-mini-exclusive/_index.html) and an updated Daydream virtual-reality setup (https://www.droid-life.com/wp-content/cache/page_enhanced/www.droid-life.com/2017/09/19/new-google-daydream-view-exclusive/_index.html) are expected.
While the surprise element may be missing from the event, there is still much anticipation to see what Alphabet (GOOGL) (GOOGL) can do in challenging Apple (AAPL) directly with its own high-end hardware. More than anything, Wednesday's event will need to convince investors and the media that the company's hardware strategy is a bet worth making.
"I think they need to convince everyone that their hardware strategy is justified, this is a very expensive endeavor," said Creative Strategies Principal Ben Bajarin. "If this is a strategy they need to remain committed to, they need to take meaningful share. These new products need to be able to compete with some of the other strong product lineups, and it's not as easy as it once was."
Google appears to be doubling down on the bet it made last year in introducing the Pixel to challenge Apple's iPhone, after previously leaving most hardware design and manufacturing to partners like Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (005930.SE) . Last month, Alphabet committed $1.1 billion in a deal with HTC Corp (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/google-htc-sign-11-billion-cooperation-agreement-2017-09-20).(2498.TW) that will bring hardware talent and licensing from the hardware partner that has been essential to the Pixel line.
See also: Why Google's HTC deal may be different than the Motorola bomb (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/why-googles-htc-deal-may-be-different-than-the-motorola-bomb-2017-09-21)