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 Data declare CEO Sundar Pichai sees {hardware} as the easiest way to be “protected” in opposition to the pitfalls of a altering cell market. In keeping with Google Assistant VP Sissie Hsiao, Pichai is worried Apple is taking share from Android companions like Samsung, and that antitrust regulators would possibly nix Google’s long-standing deal to make its search engine the default on iPhones.

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

Google declined to remark, The Data mentioned. Nonetheless, the corporate could have motive to take dangers with its {hardware} enterprise. Whereas Android is not about to lose its dominance, any continued shortfalls might eat into Google’s all-important cell 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 corporations is barely now approaching $1 billion in income — a tiny fraction of the $257.6 billion Google made in 2021.

The principle 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 is not but clear this has translated to improved gross sales. Google moved simply 4.5 million telephones in 2021 the place Apple and Google shipped properly over 200 million every. And whereas Google-powered good audio system have accomplished properly (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 house after a years-long hiatus.

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

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