Although Google is not a hardware company, it has also expanded its hardware product line in recent years, from mobile phones to tablets to laptops, from headphones to speakers to TV boxes, in an all-ecological user experience. Just as the latest software products are showcased at the Google I/O Developers Conference every May, October is the time for Google to update its hardware products. Among them are products as successful as ChromeCast TV sticks, and products such as Home Speakers (which have been added to the Nest Home series), which are growing steadily, but are more of a lone niche product.
Today Google unveiled two new phones, the Pixel 5 and the Pixel 4a 5G, for $699 and $499, respectively. The Pixel 5 doesn’t have a big-screen version, with a 6-inch FHD-plus punch screen, 90Hz refresh rate, Qualcomm 765G processor, 8GB plus 128GB, 18W charging head, 12.2 million plus 16 million double-camera, 4000 mAh battery, support for wireless charging and reverse charging. The Pixel 4a 5G features a 6.2-inch FHD plus punch screen, a Qualcomm 765G processor, a 6GB plus 128GB, an 18W charging head, and a 12.2 million plus 16 million double camera. Both phones are rear fingerprint identification.
At the time of 2020, the Pixel is back with rear fingerprint recognition, and products with 765G processors are priced at $700. That’s right, it’s the Pixel series’ usual gene – natural pride.
Pixel phones are a product line that Google had high hopes for. Google had hoped to create a new high-end flagship brand to compete head-on with Apple and Samsung. As a result, Google has abandoned its tradition of rotating Nexus series with OEMs since 2016 to produce its own-brand Pixel series. The first-generation Pixel is still being designed and built by HTC, and Google took over HTC’s Pixel project team and related patents for $1.1 billion in 2017.
With Google’s enormous reach, the Pixel has direct access to Verizon, the largest U.S. carrier. Thanks to Google’s Internet advantage, the Pixel gets a lot of advertising exposure on its own platform. However, the Pixel’s design also seems to inherit HTC’s traditional genes. Whether it’s the thick chin that lasts for years, or the back fingerprints that won’t give up, or the hyperbole of the tough notch, or the belated single-camera, and the pricing of honey confidence, it shows a refusal to keep pace with the market, stubbornness and self-confidence in your own style.
The Pixel’s biggest selling point is Google’s fastest user-friendly AI feature, the first version of Android and the once industry’s most tough camera algorithm. But on the other hand, it’s no exaggeration to say that Google is using two years behind the ID design and mid-market hardware to hit the high-end market, the results can be imagined. And the Pixel is slower than its competitors, with the annual Android flagship launching in October for most of the year.
The first-generation Pixel is priced at $649, rising directly to $799 for the third generation, plus $100 for the big-screen version. Each year, pixel new products go on sale at high prices in October, and by the end of November, during the Black Friday period, prices began to drop sharply, and by the spring of the next year, six months after the launch, they would even cut prices by half on carrier channels. This tragic style of sharp dives in high-priced listings has also hurt the Pixel’s brand premium and affected the next generation of Pixel flagship sales.
What’s even more affecting about pixel word-of-mouth is that the endless problems that continue from the Nexus era continue to plague the Pixel family. It always takes a long time for Google to resolve problems with dual notch problems, camera interfaces that suddenly report errors, inconsistent speaker volumes, applications that crash, and facial recognition that doesn’t work. This isn’t the bug that should appear on a high-end phone that costs $800. Perhaps Google’s Pixel team was so understaffed that it wasn’t fully tested before the phone went on sale.
In the first half of last year, Google launched its mid-range product line, the Pixel 3a/3a XL, which uses Qualcomm’s 6-series chips and plastic body to cut costs and bring prices down to a low $400, in an effort to expand its user base. In the highly competitive U.S. market, the phone has brought Google a lot of shipments, with IDC analysts predicting that the Pixel will ship 7.2 million in 2019, up 52 percent from a year earlier, with the Pixel 3a series the main shipping force.
However, the Pixel 4 series, launched at the end of last year, has again fallen in sales because of its low price/performance ratio. IDC expects sales of the Pixel 4 and 4XL to be as low as 2 million in the first half of this year, significantly lower than previous Pixel sales for the same period. Google again chose to launch the mid-range model to boost sales, but the Pixel 4a was delayed until August because of the outbreak that caused google I/O to cancel, and missed the launch. The Pixel 4a features a 730G chip and only one color scheme, eliminating the XL’s large-screen version directly.
Since last year, Google has been cutting the size of its Pixel product line, but it’s only taking the more unanngused Pixel notebook and tablet line-up, which hasn’t affected the Pixel phone division. However, this year’s development of the Pixel 4a and Pixel 5 raises questions about how much Google has invested in building the Pixel flagship. In the first half of this year, Marc Levoy, chief engineer of the Pixel photography team, left to join Adobe, calling into question the pixel’s biggest feature selling point.
After the Pixel entered its fifth generation, Google’s flagship phone not only re-used back fingerprint recognition, but also downgraded the processor to the SnapDragon 7 series chip, which has been downgraded entirely to mid-market products. The only high-end symbol may be the high price. Perhaps many older users will remember that a few years ago Google’s Nexus was a representative of the conscience of the industry, and the flagship hardware configuration started at $299.
Sina Technology Zheng Junfa from Silicon Valley, USA.