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Google plans cheaper smartphone to draw users into internet empire

Tech giant seeks to exploit Apple woes to drive hardware expansion

Google plans to release a cheaper version of its Pixel smartphone as demand for premium handsets flags. (Photo by Arisa Moriyama)

TAIPEI -- Google plans to unveil its first lower-priced smartphone this year as part of an aggressive push into hardware that it hopes will draw more users into its ecosystem, sources have revealed.

The U.S. internet giant is moving quickly to exploit the troubles currently besetting Apple, which has suffered disappointing sales of its new premium iPhone as consumers migrate to cheaper models and global smartphone sales tumble, industry sources say.

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