Alphabet, Inc. Dials-Up ‘Pixel’ to Launch Google’s AI Thrust
by Tim Higgins and Nathan Olivarez-Giles
SAN FRANCISCO, CA—Google, ubiquitous in internet search but long trailing in consumer hardware, announced today its new line of smartphones and detailed its latest efforts to infuse artificial intelligence (AI) into more of its products.
The unit of Alphabet Inc. unveiled its Pixel smartphone, touting its camera and quick charging ability—Google says the Pixel can derive seven hours of battery life from 15 minutes of charging. The phone, which will be Google’s first with a digital assistant built in, will retail beginning at $649. Google also said a bigger version, the Pixel XL, would be available.
That digital assistant is part of Google’s broader effort to integrate its work in artificial intelligence, which allows software to make inferences and decisions, to make products more useful with voice commands that may represent the next step in search.
Google also revealed details of its Home device, a personal assistant that aims to rival the Echo speaker, Amazon.com Inc.’s surprise hit that allows users to ask a virtual assistant named Alexa to answer questions and to perform tasks. Home, a voice-controlled speaker, will be powered by what the company calls Google Assistant.