Alphabet Inc’s Google will unveil the third edition of its Pixel smartphone series at 10 media events across the world on Tuesday, a hint that it is ready to expand geographic distribution of a device it hopes someday is as popular as the iPhone of Apple Inc.
Google free android software operates most of the world’s smartphones. However, three years ago, the company branched into hardware to have products where it could have full control of the performance of its applications and the revenue they generate, like Apply.
Even though Google has succeeded in selling lower priced devices such as smart speakers and home routers, the phones have been a tougher sell.
Google shipped 2.53 million Pixel 2 and 2 XL devices through the nine months that ended on June 30, garnering lower than 1 percent of the global market for smartphones, according to research firm Strategy Analytics.
The first Pixel devices hit 2.4 million shipments in the nine months that ended on June 30, 2017, according to the firm.
Limited adoption has reflected Google’s hesitancy to go as wide and big in distributing and marketing the Pixel as Apple, which launched its last two iPhone line ups in about 50 countries.
Going from a small experiment to a polished product backed by large sales, support, and technical teams has been a part of Google’s challenge.
Last year’s Pixel 2 arrived with bugs that prompted user complaints about unwanted noises during calls, a crashing camera app, and an unexpected screen tint.
Google at first sold the Pixel 2 and its larger twin, Pixel 2 XL, in 6 countries, including the United States, Australia, Germany, and India, after unveiling it in San Francisco.
This year, Google is hosting events for the Pixel 3 in cities such as New York, London, Paris, Tokyo, and Singapore, according to spokesman Kay Oberbeck.
Google Assistant, which is the signature virtual helper feature on the Pixel that was available in six languages a year ago, now supports 16.
Privacy and security features also could be top talking points about the Pixel as Google and other big US tech companies try to bounce back from the most recent series of data breach scandals.
A US regulatory filing indicates Google matching on Tuesday competitors such as Amazon.com Inc and Facebook Inc with a smart speaker that has a display to show virtual responses to various voice-activated commands.
Amazon shipped 21.5 million smart speakers, including those with displays, in the 12 months that ended on June 30, compared with 18.3 for Google, according to research firm Canalys.
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