Google Announces New Privacy Tools, Drops Price of New Pixel Phone

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Starting at US$399, the Pixel 3a could help the company reverse flagging sales of more premium phones.

Alas, wireless charging has (understandably) been dropped from the 3a and XL, as the all-glass design has been replaced by a more cost-effective polycarbonate chassis on both phones - which is now available in a new color, Purple-ish, in addition to the standard Clearly White and Just Black. The newly announced Pixel 3a and 3a XL are expected to be more widely available - but only if you're buying it outright. The company also said it would not use video footage, audio recordings or other sensor readings to target users with advertisements. The previous version of the device, the Pixel 3, sells for $799.

It will be available in the United States in T-Mobile and Sprint stores for the first time in addition to Verizon outlets. But Google and AT&T continue to discuss the possibility of stocking smartphones in the future, one of the people said.

Upgrades like those will enable SADA and other Google partners to deliver to customers "a wider array of forward-looking use cases and services", Youshia told CRN.

The Pixel 3a phone, which includes numerous artificial intelligence features of its flagship devices, is priced from $399, executives said as Google opened its annual I/O developers conference near its headquarters in the Silicon Valley city of Mountain View.

Google Pixel 3a phones are displayed at the Google I/O conference in Mountain View, Calif., Tuesday, May 7, 2019.

The major attraction of the devices is the Pixel camera which comes with the Night Sight mode and Portrait features.

But Android partners have seen little threat as demand slowed for phones priced above $500.

On the AI front, Google said its digital assistant will get a series of updates this year, including one that lets it book rental cars and movie tickets.

"Up until now, Pixel was more like a hobby than an actual business", said Ben Wood, chief of research at market research firm CCS Insight. The Pixel 3A comes with a 5.6-inch Full HD+ OLED display while 3A XL comes with a 6-inch Full HD+ OLED display and has 4 GB of RAM.

"It's like walking a tightrope", said Wayne Lam, an analyst with IHS Markit.

Queiroz, the Google VP, declined to comment on profit margins for the new models, which will keep features like a headphone jack that are obsolete in higher-priced smartphones.

The bleeding-edge technology ships machine-learning models directly to a device, then sends only the model updates to the cloud-not the data itself, Google's CEO explained. "Our bet is that our software capabilities are better than our competitors".

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