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Google to Bet Big on 5G, Foldable Phones and More as Smartphone Sales Decline

Google to Bet Big on 5G, Foldable Phones and More as Smartphone Sales Decline

Google CEO Sundar Pichai stated excitement behind upcoming technologies, even as the company prepares to launch smaller, less expensive Pixel phones in a week.

Google has declared its intent behind focusing on 5G, foldable phones and other new technologies to compensate for falling smartphone sales in a saturated market. The announcement came during the company's earnings call, when it missed its revenue target after a long time. According to Google's parent company Alphabet, industry-wide "pressures in the premium smartphone market" led to a drop in Pixel sales in the first quarter of 2019 compared to the same time last year.

With Google finding it hard to compete in the premium segment, the company could offer new products in the mid-range market. Google is expected to show off its cheaper Pixel 3a and 3a XL on the first day of its I/O developer conference next month, and the unveiling is set to take place on May 7, exactly a week fro today. The less expensive Pixel duo will likely take on a failing premium smartphone segment, and it remains to be seen how sales figures shape up once the phones are launched in global markets.

According to a report by IANS, during an earnings call with reporters, Ruth Porat, Chief Financial Officer of Alphabet, cited "some of the recent pressures in the premium smartphone market" for the trouble in selling expensive Pixel phones. Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the smartphone industry is "working through a phase where there is definite year-on-year headwinds." He further added, "But I do think, especially, the ecosystem is constantly pushing it forward. I continue to be excited about the innovation speed, 5G coming or the early look into foldable phones, which I am really pleased is a big part in driving.

In its quarterly earnings reports, Google does not break out revenue for its hardware-related products. But despite the lacklustre phone sales, the Google hardware segment grew, hitting nearly $5.5 billion in revenue this past quarter, The Verge reported. The growth could be due to robust sales of Chromecast devices, laptops, Google Home speakers, and Nest products, among other devices.