Google Pixel: A Sign of Google’s Shift Towards Consumer Hardware

By Niranjan Senthilkumar ’20

google-pixelLast Tuesday, Google hosted its highly anticipated hardware-themed event in San Francisco, where it revealed a range of new and exciting hardware products in a move that CEO Sundar Pichai states “to blend new software and hardware together.” The headline of this event was the unveiling of Google’s new line of phones: Google Pixel, which many people are saying is a move that puts Google in head-on competition with Samsung and Apple in the premium smartphone market.

The new line of phones come in two sizes, Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL, and hosts a significant number of features that VP of Product Management Brian Rakowski states, “will set Google apart from the competition.” These features include a new built-in assistant “Google Assistant,” a 12-megapixel camera capable of 4K video, unlimited storage, a new battery that can charge 7 hours in 15 minutes, and the first smartphone compatible with VR.

The unveiling of Google Pixel follows Google’s decision to kill off its line of Nexus phones, a move that highlights Google’s move to have Pixel as the head brand name of its mobile division. According to a spokesperson at Google, they have “no plans to ever make another Nexus product,” a move that marks a shift in Google’s mobile division from a small but enthusiastic developer community (Project ARYA) to a leap towards head-to-head competition with Microsoft, Samsung, and Apple.

Google Pixel, however, is not meant to be only about Google’s dive into the premium smartphone market. Along with Pixel, a slew of hardware revealed at Google’s hardware event shows a clear move towards a branding of their own line of products. In the past, Google has had some success and failures with the hardware market, including popular products like Google Chromecast, and not-so-popular products such as Google Glass. It is clear from this hardware event that Google aims to vertically integrate its software and hardware and create an experience that is unique to Google in the same way Apple has its own “experience.”

Such a move, however, will be hard to replicate, including many mixed reactions and criticism about Google Pixel. Besides the high pricing of Google Pixel starting at $649, its very similar look and feel to Apple’s line of iPhones, and only being available to Verizon carriers, many people are skeptical of whether or not Google Pixel will bring anything new to the “smartphone table.” Google states that it aims to differentiate itself with its user experience and software, a bet that many people aren’t too keen on taking.

Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see how Google moves forward with Google Pixel and its new line of hardware. The new endeavor leaves little room for error on Google’s part, but only time will tell whether or not Google will be able to again try and establish a presence in the consumer hardware market.



Filed in: Featured content, Technology

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