Google is reportedly shifting its focus to hardware at Assistant’s expense

Google’s flurry of {hardware} launches could also be half of a bigger defensive technique. Sources chatting with The Info declare CEO Sundar Pichai sees {hardware} as the easiest way to be “protected” in opposition to the pitfalls of a altering cellular market. In accordance with Google Assistant VP Sissie Hsiao, Pichai is worried Apple is taking share from Android companions like Samsung, and that antitrust regulators may nix Google’s long-standing deal to make its search engine the default on iPhones.

This can be coming on the expense of help for non-Google merchandise. Whereas Android help apparently stays intact, the corporate is claimed to be investing much less in Assistant for vehicles and third-party {hardware} typically. Hsiao and different execs have reportedly explored transferring staff away from Assistant and Google TV.

Google declined to remark, The Info mentioned. Nonetheless, the corporate might have motive to take dangers with its {hardware} enterprise. Whereas Android is not about to lose its dominance, any continued shortfalls may eat into Google’s all-important cellular advert income even when its iPhone search deal continues unchallenged. In distinction, Hsiao supposedly famous that the Android Automotive platform in use at BMW, Volvo and different firms is barely now approaching $1 billion in income — a tiny fraction of the $257.6 billion Google made in 2021.

The primary query is whether or not or not Google can develop its {hardware} efforts sufficient to function a hedge in opposition to any issues. Whereas Google revitalized its cellphone lineup with final yr’s Pixel 6 and the just-launched Pixel 7, it isn’t but clear this has translated to improved gross sales. Google moved simply 4.5 million telephones in 2021 the place Apple and Google shipped nicely over 200 million every. And whereas Google-powered sensible audio system have executed nicely (they’re second solely to Amazon in lifetime gross sales), the corporate is barely simply making its first in-house smartwatch. It is also reentering the pill area after a years-long hiatus.

There’s additionally a fear Google may play favorites. The Info maintains that Google is concentrating on offering one of the best providers to “premium” Android companions like Samsung, OnePlus and Xiaomi. That might harm different manufacturers which may not get equal entry to Assistant and different key options. In case you’re involved in regards to the long-term well being of the Android ecosystem, the reported focus shift won’t be very reassuring.

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