UPDATE: Everything Google announced at its Pixel event
By Jeremy C. Owens, MarketWatch
Alphabet shows off new smartphones, Home speakers and Clips camera for holiday shopping season
Alphabet Inc. introduced new Pixel smartphones, Home smart speakers and a new clip-on camera called Clips at a launch event in San Francisco on Wednesday, as it looks to challenge Apple Inc. and other hardware makers in the holiday shopping season (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/pixel-launch-will-test-google-hardware-strategy-and-apple-rivalry-2017-10-02).
Google (GOOGL) (GOOGL) stressed that its software will be the key difference between its products and competitors from companies like Apple (AAPL) and Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) Google especially focused on the Google Assistant, its artificial-intelligence-powered voice-controlled service similar to Amazon's Alexa and Apple's Siri.
Here's what you need to know:
New Pixel smartphones (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/google-launches-new-pixel-2-smartphones-2017-10-04): Google introduced two new Pixel smartphones, the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL. Executives on stage played up the use of Google Assistant, which can be activated by squeezing the phone, and Google Photos capabilities including Lens, as well as virtual- and augmented-reality capabilities. The phones--available in three colors, "Just Black," "Clearly White" and "Kinda Blue"--are available for preorder immediately in the U.S. and five other countries, with the smaller version starting at $649 and the larger version starting at $849; for comparison, Apple's new iPhone 8 starts at $699, the larger iPhone 8 Plus starts at $799, and the iPhone X, when it goes on sale, will start at $999. Alphabet will keep Verizon Communications Inc. as the exclusive wireless-carrier partner for the phone, while also selling the phones at Best Buy Co. Inc. (BBY) stores and unlocked versions through its own online store. Purchases come with a code for a free Google Home Mini speaker and unlimited photo and video storage on Google Photos.
Read also: Everything Apple announced at its iPhone event (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/everything-apple-announced-at-its-iphone-event-2017-09-12)
New Home speakers (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/google-launches-new-home-smart-speakers-including-high-end-apple-rival-2017-10-04): The Google Home Mini is a smaller version of the Google Home speaker that Alphabet began selling last year, and will rival the smaller form factor Amazon has introduced for its Echo speaker, the Echo Dot. Google also introduced a new high-end smart speaker, the Google Home Max, that focused on sound quality for music and could challenge the Sonos series of speakers as well as Apple's HomePod, which launches in December. The Google Home Max will cost $399, $50 more than Apple's HomePod, and come with a free year's subscription to Google's YouTube Red streaming-music service. The Google Home Mini will cost $49 and come in three colors: "chalk," "coral" and "coal." The Google Home Mini will be available in stores Oct. 19, while the Max will offer preorders beginning Nov. 13.