Google is working on an upgraded Pixel smartphone line for this fall, including a model with a nearly edge-to-edge screen, seeking to boost revenue for a critically acclaimed handset that has yet to make a major sales impact in the market.
The Alphabet Inc unit is planning at least two new models, likely to be dubbed the “Pixel 3” and “Pixel 3 XL,” people familiar with the matter said.
The larger smartphone is designed with a nearly edge-to-edge screen, except for a thicker bezel, known as a chin, at the bottom of the device, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans are not yet public.
The display would also have a notch — or a cutout — at the top, they said, adding that the smaller model would look similar to the Pixel 2 and would not include the notch or edge-to-edge look.
Google’s Pixel smartphones are widely regarded as some of the best Android-based devices, but they continue to lag far behind Apple Inc’s iPhones and products from Samsung Electronics Co in sales and market share.
Google last year shipped less than 4 million units, compared with 216 million iPhones shipped in the same period, International Data Corp statistics showed.
Google intends to keep updating its Pixel line annually, as it sees the hardware division as important to the company’s long-term future.
As it has done the past two years, Google plans to roll out the new smartphones in October, about a month after Apple typically announces its new devices.
Verizon Wireless Inc, for the third year in a row, is to be the exclusive US carrier partner for the new Pixels, the people said.
Google has discussed building its smartphones for the first time with Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密), also known as Foxconn Technology Group (富士康科技集團), the same manufacturer that assembles iPhones, one of the people said.
In January, Google acquired parts of HTC Corp (宏達電), and the engineering talent it got in that deal is heavily involved in the hardware and software development of the new devices, one of the people said.
While Google plans to launch its new hardware, the company is also working on an upgraded Android operating system for release as soon as next year that takes advantage of greater artificial intelligence capabilities.
Google wants the operating system to be able to conduct more tasks without action by users.
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