Google launching Pixel 3 smartphones in more markets

The new Pixel 3 smartphone at a Google event on Tuesday in New York. The phones go on sale from Oct 18 in the US and Nov 1 elsewhere.
The new Pixel 3 smartphone at a Google event on Tuesday in New York. The phones go on sale from Oct 18 in the US and Nov 1 elsewhere.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Google's new Pixel 3 smartphones will be available in 13 markets, four more than earlier models.

The tech giant told a briefing in New York yesterday that France, Ireland, Japan and Taiwan will also get the device when sales start on Nov 1. Google, which launched the Pixel 2 XL model last year in Singapore, said it will sell both Pixel 3 variants here this time.

"With Pixel 3, we should see less of the supply issues that impacted the initial sales of the Pixel 2," said Mr Mark Hung, research vice-president at market research firm Gartner.

He noted that Google has significantly increased its hardware capabilities with the acquisition of Taiwanese firm HTC's smartphone team earlier this year.

Google has added StarHub as a second telco partner for the Pixel 3 launch here. Last year's Pixel 2 XL was exclusive to Singtel.

The telcos plan to reveal their price plans for the Pixel 3 devices closer to the launch date. The smartphones are also available online at the Singapore Google Store.

Ms Cynthia Duan, a senior analyst at Euromonitor International, said launching the Pixel 3 alongside the Pixel 3 XL here "allows Google to appeal to a much wider customer base", a similar strategy to the one Apple used for its three iPhone models.

Without a contract, the Pixel 3 XL costs $1,399 (64GB) and $1,549 (128GB), while the Pixel 3 costs $1,249 (64GB) and $1,399 (128GB).

Ms Cynthia Duan, a senior analyst at Euromonitor International, said launching the Pixel 3 alongside the Pixel 3 XL here "allows Google to appeal to a much wider customer base", a similar strategy to the one Apple used for its three iPhone models.

"The tie-up with telcos helps to offset the upfront cost for consumers and should make Pixel phones more attractive to consumers in Singapore," she added.

The official unveiling in New York had few surprises. The Pixel 3 had been the subject of many leaks, which turned out to be accurate, in the lead-up to the launch.

The new models retain the two-tone design of their predecessor but the backs of the phones are now made of glass to enable wireless charging.

Google also put in a new chip in the Pixel 3 that is used by its Android 9 mobile operating system to protect personal data.

The Pixel 3 has two screen sizes - 5.5 inches and 6.3 inches - but identical features and performance. Both versions use Oled (organic light-emitting diode) displays that are also found in high-end smartphones from Apple and Samsung.

There is a single 12.2-megapixel rear camera on the Pixel 3, with Google relying on its software and a dedicated image-processing chip to compete with rivals that tout two or even three rear cameras.

In addition to the Pixel 3s, Google introduced a new Pixel Slate tablet to compete with the Apple iPad Pro and the Microsoft Surface.

A Google Home Hub smart display that functions like a touchscreen-equipped version of the Google Home smart speaker was also announced at the event.

Both the tablet and the smart display are available in a few markets, including the United States and Britain.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 11, 2018, with the headline 'Google launching Pixel 3 smartphones in more markets'. Print Edition | Subscribe