Google Pixel: Third Time’s the Charm
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Since its very initial foray into smartphones with the Nexus, Google has not had a sharp focus on hardware, instead being content with pushing Android OS. While the move helped Android become the most significant OS in the world, Google’s lack of focus on building critical supply chain partnerships, or the in-house talent, meant it did not have the depth to build great smartphones with must-have features, or even so, to scale-up to meet potential consumer demand. So, when they hit the market, Google’s smartphones, despite boasting of stock Android, lacked the design aesthetic, the must-have features and the edge to compete with others.
The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL could potentially be the best smartphones from the Google stable, thanks to the full integration of the HTC R&D talent into Google. The new Pixels should come with more reliable hardware than the previous iterations of the Pixel. More than the hardware, Google’s focus has been on its AI-based photography. Last year, the Pixel 2’s imaging capabilities were the best, and beyond any offered by Apple, Samsung and the rest. However, since then, the competition has moved far ahead, and it will be interesting to see how Google responds this time around with the Pixel 3. The possibility of a rumored second front lens, powered by AI, could result in more improved selfies.
For Google, the competition is no longer confined to Apple or Samsung. There are many other smartphone brands taking big calculated risks with their smartphone offerings. Google would need to take a leaf out of Microsoft’s acquisition playbook and come up with a string of acquisitions that would provide it with the talent necessary to build a competitive edge in the hypercompetitive smartphone market.
Google’s nascent foray into hardware, thus far, has mostly been a work-in-progress, with its most prominent success being Google Chromecast. The Chromecast nailed it with its value proposition and affordable pricing. When it comes to Smartphones, Google has premium aspirations and gunning for Apple and Samsung. For Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL to be successful, it would need to be not just premium-looking, but also up the ante with its software to push past other competitive smartphone offerings.
For Pixel 3 and 3 XL to be successful on current rumoured specs and form, it would find widespread consumer acceptance, if it were to price it in the sub $500 price range, and aimed at the likes of OnePlus, Asus, Vivo, Oppo.
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CyberMedia Research conducts the Budget Smartphones Channel Audit to capture the perspectives, preferences, challenges and dislikes of retailers around ‘value for money’ (INR <10,000) smartphone brands, capturing a compelling picture of smartphone brands in the market.
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