Google goes global with 10 events for new Pixel phones


SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s Google will unveil the third edition of its Pixel smartphone at 10 media events across the world on Tuesday, a hint that it is prepared to expand geographic distribution of a device it hopes someday is as popular as Apple Inc’s iPhone.

Google’s free Android software operates most of the world’s smartphones. But the company three years ago branched into hardware to have products where, like Apple, it could have full control of the performance of its applications and the revenue they generate.

Though Google has succeeded in selling lower-priced devices such as smart speakers and home routers, the phones have been a tougher sell.

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WUZHEN, CHINA – DECEMBER 03: Sundar Pichai, chief executive officer of Google Inc., speaks during the 4th World Internet Conference on December 3, 2017 in Wuzhen, China. The 4th World Internet Conference – Wuzhen Summit themed with ‘Developing digital economy for openness and shared benefits — building a community of common future in cyberspace.’ is held from Dec 3 to 5 in Wuzhen of Zhejiang. (Photo by Du Yang/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images)

WUZHEN, CHINA – DECEMBER 03: Google CEO Sundar Pichai attends the opening ceremony of the 4th World Internet Conference on December 3, 2017 in Wuzhen, Zhejiang Province of China. The 4th World Internet Conference – Wuzhen Summit themed with ‘Developing digital economy for openness and shared benefits — building a community of common future in cyberspace.’ is held from Dec 3 to 5 in Wuzhen of Zhejiang. (Photo by VCG via Getty Images)

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Sundar Pichai, chief executive officer of Google Inc., speaks during an event at Google’s Kings Cross office in London, U.K., on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016. After being criticized for not paying its fair share of British tax, Alphabet Inc.s Google unit is trying to show its a good corporate citizen by offering five hours of free digital skills training to all U.K. residents. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sundar Pichai, chief executive officer of Google Inc., speaks during an event at Google’s Kings Cross office in London, U.K., on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016. After being criticized for not paying its fair share of British tax, Alphabet Inc.s Google unit is trying to show its a good corporate citizen by offering five hours of free digital skills training to all U.K. residents. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sundar Pichai, chief executive officer of Google Inc., pauses during an event at Google’s Kings Cross office in London, U.K., on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016. After being criticized for not paying its fair share of British tax, Alphabet Inc.s Google unit is trying to show its a good corporate citizen by offering five hours of free digital skills training to all U.K. residents. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sundar Pichai, chief executive officer of Google Inc., listens to a speaker during an event at Google’s Kings Cross office in London, U.K., on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016. After being criticized for not paying its fair share of British tax, Alphabet Inc.s Google unit is trying to show its a good corporate citizen by offering five hours of free digital skills training to all U.K. residents. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images




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Google shipped 2.53 million Pixel 2 and 2 XL devices through the nine months ended June 30, garnering less than 1 percent of the global market for smartphones, according to research firm Strategy Analytics.

The first Pixel devices reached 2.4 million shipments in the nine months ended June 30, 2017, the firm said.

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 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 initially sold the Pixel 2 and its larger-sibling, Pixel 2 XL, in six countries, including the United States, Australia, Germany and India, after an unveiling in San Francisco.

This year, Google is hosting events for the Pixel 3 in cities such as New York, London, Paris, Tokyo and Singapore, spokesman Kay Oberbeck said.

Google Assistant, 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 3 as Google and other big U.S. tech companies try to bounce back from recent data breach scandals.

A U.S. regulatory filing points to Google’s matching on Tuesday rivals Amazon.com Inc and Facebook Inc with a smart speaker that has a display to show visual responses to voice commands.

Amazon shipped 21.5 million smart speakers, including those with displays, in the year ended June 30, compared with 18.3 million forGoogle, according to research firm Canalys.

(Reporting by Paresh Dave; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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