Pixel launch will test Google hardware strategy and Apple rivalry

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Alphabet Inc. will seek to impress gadget lovers on Wednesday with a new line of devices for the holiday shopping season, but the company’s event will also be important in determining if the money Google spends to produce its own hardware and challenge the cost.

Much of what Google will reveal at the San Francisco event has been reported, thanks to a series of leaks last month. Two new Pixel phones – one larger than the other – expect a new high-end Chromebook, a mini version of the Google Home smart speaker and an up-to-date Daydream virtual reality setup.

While the surprise element may be lacking in the event, there is still plenty of anticipation to see what the GOOGL alphabet, -0.64% GOOG, -0.61% can do in Apple AAPL challenge, -0.20% directly with its own high end hardware. More than anything, Wednesday’s event will have to convince investors and the media that the company’s hardware strategy is a worthwhile gamble.

“I think they need to convince everyone that their hardware strategy is justified, this is a very costly endeavor,” said Creative Strategies director Ben Bajarin. “If it’s a strategy that needs to stay engaged, they need to take a significant part. These new products must be able to compete with some of the other strong product lines, and it’s not as easy as it once was.”

Google appears to be doubling its bet last year on introducing the Pixel to challenge Apple’s iPhone, after leaving most of the hardware and manufacturing design to partners like Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. 005930, + 0, 04%. Last month, Alphabet committed $ 1.1 billion in an agreement with HTC Corp. 2498, -1.75% that will bring hardware talent and licensing from the hardware partner that has been essential to the Pixel line.