Google Pixel 2 Smartphones Are Disappointing Despite Big Bet On Hardware, Low Sales Expected

  • The Google Pixel 2 lineup is a major disappointment, says Atherton Research Principal Analyst Jean Baptiste Su.
  • Google’s entry-level Pixel 2 is made by fledgling Taiwanese company HTC and shares the same boring design aesthetic than last year’s model with a 5″ display, large top and bottom bezels and a single rear camera. However, it does add a faster processor, water resistance, and 2 front speakers. Price starts at $649 for 64GB of storage, only $50 less than the equally boring iPhone 8.
  • For its flagship device, Google hired LG to build the Pixel 2 XL, a pale copy of the South Korean phone maker own flagship device, the V30, unveiled over a month ago at the IFA tradeshow. The Pixel 2 XL has the same 6″ almost edge-less OLED display than the V30, the same 835 processor from Qualcomm, water resistance, 2 front speakers, just one rear camera again, instead of LG’s dual camera and no MicroSD card slot to expand the device’s memory storage. The price of Google’s new flagship device is $80 more than the original Pixel XL starting at $849 for 64GB of storage, about $50 more than the much more able LG V30 and $150 less than the iPhone X.

With such a dull smartphone lineup, Google stands no chance to compete against the world’s top smartphone makers like Samsung, Apple, Huawei or LG, and could even face stiff competition from smaller competitors like tiny startup Essential, founded by Andy Rubin, the creator of Android no less, which is shipping a beautifully designed bezel-less device.

Google failed to gain any traction with the original Pixel smartphones

“So far, the main advantage Google really had over its rivals was that its smartphones were using stock Android, that is, the operating system as Google builds it and unaltered of any additional graphical layer or third-party software on top of it, which allowed Google to be the first to update its devices with the latest version of Android and security patches,” writes the Atherton Research analyst. “But today others are also adopting Google’s pure Android strategy like Essential, Lenovo or Nokia and are sometimes even quicker than Google to update their device.”

Despite that software edge, sales of the first generation of Pixels were catastrophic with less than 3 million shipped since November of last year, which is about what Apple sells in less than a week. A failure that doesn’t bode well for the Pixel 2 smartphones which already look outdated before it even ships.

To bolster its hardware division, Google announced last month the purchase for $1.1 billion in cash of half HTC’s research and development group – about 2,000 people – which was responsible for the development of the Pixel smartphones. However, we won’t probably see any results of this huge acqui-hire before next year, hopefully in time for the Pixel 3 launch.