Google Gives Huawei a US Device Boost
Huawei's gadget mojo in the US got a boost Tuesday with a Google Nexus flagship smartphone launch amongst a deluge of other devices and software updates that the search giant unveiled.
Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. is already the third-largest smartphone maker in the world after Samsung Corp. and Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), according to IDC . The company, however, has previously been accused of not taking the US market -- where it sells phones directly to consumers rather than through carriers -- seriously.
The new all-metal Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) Nexus 6P smartphone could help to change that. The 5.7-inch screen device has a 12.3 megapixel camera with large pixels that Google says will let the camera take better pictures at night or indoors in lower-light conditions. The 6P will be available later in October, starting at $499 for the 32GB model, up to $649 for the 128GB version.
The 6P is just one of the many device and software updates Google made Tuesday. A second smartphone, the 5X -- from LG Electronics Inc. (London: LGLD; Korea: 6657.KS) -- rounds out the new Nexus line-up.
Google is also building on the success of its Chromecast TV streaming dongle with new and revamped models. The search giant revealed that it has sold more then 20 million of the gadgets since the initial launch in 2013. (See Chromecast Gives Google a Home Run and Chromecast & the Battle for the Living Room.)
Now, the Chromecast TV dongle has been revamped with a new rounded look and updated apps. Google is going after Sonos and others that produce dedicated -- and often expensive -- audio systems for streaming music in the home.
Google is introducing a $35 Chromecast Music unit that connects to traditional stereo speakers and allows them to interface with PCs and other devices in the home and stream music via WiFi. Its logic is that that only 5% of US homes have speakers that can connect to the Internet, whereas most every household probably has a stereo system or two knocking about.
Google people talk in depth about Chromecast and the other devices in this YouTube launch video, if you have an hour and a half to kill!
[Ed note: Google originally had live chat comments scrolling on the right-hand side of the video but that option was stopped late in the presentation... possibly because they were so needlessly personal and unpleasant?]
If that wasn't enough, Google also introduced a gaming-friendly two-in-one tablet -- the Pixel C -- with a detachable $149 keyboard. The high-end tablet looks more like a Microsoft Surface device than an iPad, although Google must hope that it fares more like the Apple tablet in the marketplace. The tablet will arrive in the coming months.
You can top off this rich stew of Android devices with the official launch of version 6 of the operating system next week. Google says that a new power-saving mode can eek up to 30% more battery life out of existing Nexus devices. (See Google Updates Android, Delays Project Ara, Walks the Robots.)
Google didn't forget its own Project Fi virtual mobile network operator (MVNO) project either. Both the new Nexus devices are unlocked when bought and can be used with the Google service. (See Google's WiFi-First Mobile Service 'Fi' Is Here.)
In fact, if you had been wondering if Google was going to get out the of the device business, the answer appears to be: Not in the foreseeable future, chum.
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading