The Pixel 6 was launched with a brand new design, a brand new chip, a brand new camera sensor and even the prices were brand new and undermined the competition! That was a lot of news in one year, but look, Google has largely made it happen! The Pixel 6 was and is great, apart from a few minor kinks, and it made a dent, but still it’s not quite the phone you often find on the street.
Step number one: Pixel Marketing!
Having the Google Pixel as the official phone of the NBA did everything it could to popularize the brand and make it a household name in the US, rather than a device known only to phone geeks.
Every official NBA game highlight is “presented by Google Pixel,” and you can see the name on arenas in this year’s Playoffs, at Boston’s TD Garden, home of the Celtics, at Miami’s FTX Arena. , at the Chase Center in San Francisco, home of the Warriors, and at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. In short, throughout the country!
Having this kind of prime time marketing is something that brings huge opportunity to the Google Pixel brand and it is unprecedented.
It helps that this year’s NBA playoffs are incredibly contentious and fun to watch too. Can this collaboration continue for another year? That would help the Pixel brand immensely!
Yes, Google, you’ve made a good phone, but can you start a dynasty?
The first signs of success
And here you have the first signs of success: at Google I/O, the company revealed that the Pixel 6 is selling better than the previous two generations combined. That might sound great, but let’s not forget that this wasn’t a very high bar to clear in the first place. It’s a good first sign, but it hasn’t really turned the tide. That revealed research agency Canalys Google finally entered the top 5 best-selling phone brands in the US in Q1 2022, with explosive growth of 400%, but I think we can all agree that it’s still a long way from what it can potentially do. to achieve.
Canalys estimates that Google shipped 1.2 million phones in the US in the first quarter, but that’s less than budget phone maker TCL, a name you’ve probably never heard of (with all due respect to TCL, but we can’t blame you. you take for that).
And yes, it’s a bit of an apples to oranges comparison, as TCL phones are dirt cheap devices, while Google mainly sells flagship smartphones.
It’s a shame we don’t have a single company reporting on just the top-end smartphones in the US, but we can probably safely assume that Google is in the top three as Lenovo and TCL aren’t really known for it. selling many high-end smartphones. Phones.
It takes time
But the last piece of the success puzzle may be time. It takes time to take advantage of that newly acquired brand awareness!
Even looking back at the revolutionary original iPhone, sales gradually increased instead of exploding in the very first year. It took time, and some might argue that Apple is still growing those sales 15 years after that iconic launch, so that momentum stretches over a decade!
That’s where Google has traditionally failed. In the past, Google never seemed to have the patience or long-term planning for its phones.
Pixel and previous Nexus phones have always been a bit of an enthusiast thing, but not quite the main activity. Devices seemed rushed. The tiny Pixel 4 was a battery disaster. The Pixel 5 wasn’t even a real flagship. Google crashed before trying to bring itself back to life, and starting from scratch is always harder than accelerating from a slowdown.
The Pixel 7 Promise
The Pixel 7 is a turning point in that sense. Google needs to keep up the momentum. The Pixel 6 was all about new features, but some, like the fingerprint scanner, were missing.
Google needs to fix all those flaws first, but it also needs to navigate an increasingly complex supply chain stretched thin due to Covid restrictions in China.
It has to embrace manufacturing like the other phone makers if it’s to move millions of pixels and actually live up to expectations.
It’s a delicate balance: you naturally expect new features from the Pixel 7, but you also want sophistication, and you also want a steady supply and a timely launch.
We’d also argue that launching the Pixel 7 a little earlier than the traditional late October release window would be highly beneficial for sales.
Finally, I’m glad to see that Google hasn’t announced a foldable phone at I/O. I don’t know if it plans to make a foldable phone in the near future, but it’s clear that a Google Pixel Fold would have been a huge distraction not only for the company, but also for potential Pixel 7 buyers.
Foldable phones are cool and I was the first on the hype train when the very first foldable phones launched, but the reality is they remain a niche at this point. We haven’t seen mass adoption, the prices are often prohibitive, and the real benefits collide with some very real concerns, as these devices are difficult to operate with one hand and often very heavy.
The upcoming Pixel Watch seems like a big enough distraction anyway, and the company even announced a tablet due in 2023, which shows great hardware ambition but would further ease the focus on the smartphones.
At the end of the day, I think Google has the best chance of taking the Apple-Samsung duopoly of all companies, and I’m rooting for the Pixel 7. As for me personally? Just give me a slightly smaller Pixel and maybe I’ll just switch.