Google's new Pixel phones mirror industry trends

Google Pixel Slate Pen

A Hong Kong store is already selling the Pixel 3 XL

Pixel phones, though, have been a tougher sell, garnering less than 1% of the global market by shipments in Google's first two years of trying, according to research firm Strategy Analytics, and launching with glitches.

Last year, Google offered the higher-end Pixel 2 XL smartphone in Singapore for the first time, in an exclusive tie-up with Singtel.

There were few surprises at the official reveal.

The larger 6.3 inch Pixel 3 XL has a display cutout, or screen notch, like many smartphones this year.

Google Pixel 3's camera comes with the much talked about "Top Shot" feature. There aren't very many tweaks made to the design of the launcher when compared to last year's version, but something many users will notice is an Assistant button right in the Google search bar at the bottom of the screen.

Google touts a partnership with celebrated American portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz using the Pixel 3 to take photos. It also comes with a Group Selfie feature that is claimed to capture 184% more area than iPhone XS. Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL will be available in India via Flipkart and offline retail partners across India.

"If you have a Google tattoo on you, then these are the phones for you", IDC analyst Ramon Llamas said of the Pixel's limited appeal so far. It is priced at $599, aimed at competing with Apple's iPad Pro.

New to the Pixel is wireless charging, which is enabled by the Pixel 3's all-glass back. The handsets are also capable of wireless charging.

But again Google is attacking its rivals on the pricing front. The handsets are powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 octa-core processor, coupled with Adreno 630 GPU. There is no microSD card slot for expandable memory.

As we mentioned earlier there are two storage variants of the smartphone - one with 64GB onboard storage and the other with 128GB inbuilt storage. It also has a stylus for taking notes. In response, Google doubled warranties to two years. It has 8 megapixel front and rear cameras that support portrait mode.

The tablet uses the company's Chrome OS - previously seen on its Chromebook laptops. The keyboard costs US$199 (S$275) and the stylus is priced at US$99 (S$137).

The Slate is available in the United States, the U.K. and Canada.

The company's Android software has gone from being an also-ran to the brains of most of the world's smartphones, and Google topped Inc in smart speaker sales in recent quarters.

The Home Hub's screen shows useful information like the time, weather and photos.

A new Home View dashboard lets users conveniently control compatible smart home devices like lights and cameras with a simple tap on the Home Hub's display or with their voices. It'll launch for £139 and is available to pre-order from today, or available in stores from 22 October.

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