Google Says It's Finally Serious With Pixel 6

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Google says it’s serious about gaining share with its new Pixel 6 smartphone, equipped with a custom Tensor chip.

Google has made Pixel phones for five years now, and never made a dent in the smartphone market. My assessment of why: Google was late to the smartphone party and wasn’t ever playing to win; instead, it was playing to keep Samsung from taking over the Android ecosystem.

Five years ago, Samsung was ramping up its own software ambitions with Bixby and its SmartThings acquisition, and looked like it might “fork” Android and try to sideline Google from its own party. Pixel was Google’s way of making sure that wouldn’t happen. If Samsung got too ambitious, Google had its pure-Android, fully updated Pixel line ready. At a moment’s notice it could ramp up marketing spend to peel a disgruntled Android base away from Samsung.

Has anything changed with the Pixel 6? I’m not convinced. Sure, Google spent a lot of money on a custom Tensor chip, but that could be a broader strategic move. Google knows the ecosystem needs artificial-intelligence-enabled chips at the edge of the network, and can’t risk that Amazon, Apple and Microsoft will pull ahead and develop better ones. I think the Pixel is about winning in A.I., not smartphones.

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In the broader world …

Billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones believes that inflation is here to stay, posing a major threat to the U.S. markets and economy. CNBC

On the horizon …

10/21, 2:30 p.m. ET: Calendly CEO Tope Awotona in a Fortt Knox 1:1

I’m listening to …