Opinion Piece: Will the Google Pixel be a Flop?

Disclaimer: This is only my opinion on the matter. You have your opinion and I have mine.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ve probably heard about the new Google Pixel and Pixel XL that was unveiled on Tuesday of this week. First let me give you a short history lesson. Although you may already know this. Eight years ago the T-Mobile G1 (or HTC Dream in some markets) was announced. It was the first consumer available device to run Android. Then two years later the Nexus One was announced and was also built by HTC, and each year after that Google has partnered was Android OEMs to build the Nexus devices. The Nexus was a developer device and it’s purpose was to serve as sort of a role model for the other manufacturers to follow when they built their own devices, and the Nexus were the devices that got the honor of showing off the newest version of Android and being the first to get them. Also the Nexuses offered great specs for a lower price, and that’s a huge thing the Pixels aren’t offering.

Now brace yourselves, here’s where the rant begins. Google is trying to cater to a group of people that don’t really exist, well they do exist but the spot for “The Apple of the Androids” is taken. By who? You guessed it, Samsung. Now I’m not saying that because Samsung supposedly copies Apple and blah blah blah. I’m saying it because Samsung and Apple are similar in the way that they both have a huge number of people who are willing to buy every new iteration of their product. That’s how both companies can get away with charging basically whatever they want for their smartphones, or at least Apple more so then Samsung in my humble opinion. Google has never had that big of a following at least when it came to hardware like the Nexuses or the Pixel C.

Google has made a shift in the group of people it’s trying to cater to, and that group is the average consumer. Now that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, we saw them do that last year with the Nexus 6P and 5X, but when they made their attempt last year they didn’t throw their previous followers out the window. Google was able to cater to both the developers and Android purists as well as the average consumers. However this year they have completely veered away from catering to the developers and purists in favor of the average consumer. Google basically turned their back on the people who for sure would have bought a new Nexus, and now they’re putting their faith in a bigger group of people who probably had no idea Google even sold hardware. You see what I’m getting at? Now I know that a main reason that nobody besides the Android enthusiasts know that the Nexus exist is because Google never really marketed it, but still. Are people going to buy a phone they’ve never heard of from a company they never even knew sold hardware?

Now I bet your wondering, how is Google only catering to the average consumer and turning their back on the devs and purists? Well here’s your answer. The Nexus had pure stock android. Nothing else. The Pixels on the other hand are running a lightly skinned version with a custom launcher, dubbed the Pixel Launcher. Also the Pixels are priced a lot higher then a Nexus would be. The base model Pixel is $649 USD for the 32 GB version, and tops off at $869 USD for the 128 GB Pixel XL. The Nexus devices were only $400-$500 respectively, and the developers who bought the Nexuses for the freedom aren’t going to like the fact that the bootloaders are locked on the Verizon models and it’s also been reported that Verizon will be handling Pixel software updates, not Google. An obvious solution however is to just buy the device straight from Google.

Oh, speaking of Verizon, that’s the only U.S carrier that both Pixels will be available on, and this is something I really don’t understand. Like I said above, you can buy it from the Google Store, but the average consumer isn’t going to want to do that. They’re going to want to purchase it straight form their carrier. News flash Google, Verizon isn’t the only U.S carrier! How does Google expect to get the Pixel in the hands of as many people as possible when it’s only on one U.S carrier?

Do you agree with me? Will the Pixel turn out to be a flop? Let us know in the comments.

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