©Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A view of the main lobby of the BV200 building, during a tour of Google’s new Bay View Campus in Mountain View, California, United States. May 16, 2022. REUTERS/Peter DaSilva/File
By Paresh Dave
OAKLAND, Calif., Oct 6 (Reuters) – Google’s first smartwatch will go on sale on October 13 for $350, the unit of Alphabet (NASDAQ:) Inc. said on Thursday, entering a field dominated by Apple. Watch as consumers shy away from all forms of expensive wearables amid high inflation.
Priced $100 higher than the cheapest Apple Inc (NASDAQ:) model. and limited to people with Android phones, the Google Pixel Watch faces huge stumbling blocks to adoption, market analysts say. Even sales of the Apple Watch have fallen this year as consumers delay purchases or select cheaper rivals.
“The market is not as robust as it used to be,” said Jitesh Ubrani, research manager at market intelligence firm IDC, adding that aggressive discounting will be crucial for Google.
Google apps already work with watches from companies like Apple, Samsung Electronics (KS:) Co and Fitbit (NYSE:), which Google bought last year and whose devices are known for personal health tracking.
The new round-faced Pixel Watch, made of stainless steel and glass with dozens of strap options, enables contactless payments, music control and turn-by-turn travel directions. A model with cellular connectivity costs $50 more.
The watches will be sold in the United States and other countries. They won’t pair with iPhone phones because Apple gives its own watches exclusive access to messaging and other important features that users would want, said Sandeep Waraich, Google’s director of product management.
Hardware sales are a growing part of Google’s sales, the profits of which also come from more opportunities to sell ads and service subscriptions.
Google also said its latest smartphones would go on sale in 17 countries from October 13. They include a $599 Pixel 7 with a 6.3-inch screen and a brighter $899 7 Pro with a 6.7-inch screen, plus camera zoom and extra RAM.
Although it’s a small player in smartphones in general, Google’s sales are accelerating. It shipped 3 million phones in the first half of this year, up 131% from a year ago, according to tracking company Canalys.
(Reporting by Paresh Dave; Editing in Spanish by Vicente Valdivia)
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