Google Pixel: What the world is saying

Google’s desire to integrate its software and hardware platforms to take on its rivals like Apple, Amazon is the driving force behind the latest range of Pixel smartphone offerings

Google’s Pixel smartphone range and other products are portals for the company’s advertising business. Photo: AP
Google’s Pixel smartphone range and other products are portals for the company’s advertising business. Photo: AP

Major reactions to Google’s Tuesday launch of the Pixel smartphone have focused on the company’s desire to integrate its hardware and software divisions as well as become an alternative to Apple’s iPhone and other fast-emerging cloud technology platforms like Amazon. Most importantly, Google is creating an alternative eco-system which will bring in the company’s artificial assistant into our home, vastly improving its search functionalities and targeting its customers in new ways.

Here is a list of who said what on Google’s Pixel smartphone:

Reuters Julia Love writes, “The new phones are clearly aimed at competing with the iPhone. Google has long been frustrated by the emergence of many variations of Android and the inconsistent experience that has produced.”

Writing on The Verge, Dieter Bohn said, “In making its own hardware, Google is pitting itself against Apple for the first time, Google phone vs. iPhone. Those are very high stakes, with very little margin for error. So it looks like Google decided to follow a simple dictum: If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.”

Also read: How much will Google Pixel phones cost in India?

Pete Pachal’s article Why Google Never Gets Hardware Right” on Mashable talks about the company’s failure to build class products as the primary driving factor behind the launch of its Pixel Smartphones. He writes, “Google’s software services are immensely popular and permeate our daily lives. It’s hard to imagine the world before Gmail or Google Maps, but on hardware it’s usually the same story: a swing and a miss.”

In his article Google Is Listening – Its new smartphone and smart speaker aren’t the real products. You are on Slate Magazine, Will Oremus writes, “Google’s purpose in building these devices is fundamentally different than Apple’s or Amazon’s. Pixel and Home, in short, are not just a smartphone and a smart speaker. They’re vessels for Google Assistant, and by extension, they’re portals for Google’s advertising business. It’s an extension of what Google has always done with search, and it’s not hard to see how it positions the company’s advertising business to target us more effectively and ubiquitously than ever.”

Also read: Google Pixel: Everything you need to know

Bloomberg’s Shira Ovide explains, “Google wants to hedge its bets by having control over every feature and function in a selection of Android phones. Google’s aims only can pan out if it sells a large number of Pixel phones—which it won’t. And its strategic goal isn’t a good enough reason for Google-branded smartphones to exist at all.”

The Cult of Mac, an online technology platform, says, “The Pixel lineup shares a lot in common with the Nexus family it replaces, but it’s not designed with pure Android enthusiasts in mind anymore. Google wants to reach everyone with its new Pixel and Pixel XL, and it has gone all out to make that happen.”

Darren Orf in discusses factors behind Google’s late foray into “the first fully Google-branded phone”. According to him, “Made by Google” represents a major shift as the technology company wants to end fragmentation within its software ecosystem by venturing into its own-branded hardware. And that should make its hardware partners nervous.

“Google was working on merging Android and Chrome OS, Google’s Chrome-based software for Chromebook laptops. Something that could supplant Android completely. Rumor has it that instead of being mobile-only, this new OS would be more like Microsoft’s Windows 10, software that breaks through device boundaries. Maybe it could even compete with Apple’s MacOS,” he writes.

BBC’s technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones says, “It might seem from Tuesday’s announcements that Google is showing it can become a hardware company with the kind of control over the entire user experience that Apple enjoys.” But he cautions that customers value their privacy and it could become the company’s Achilles’ heel. “Google may be smarter about anticipating its users every desire—but many may be cautious about handing over even more data to a business which already knows so much about them.”

In another Bloomberg article, Mark Bergen and Mark Gurman are of the view that Google should focus on fixing its retail strategy as its past efforts with Nexus and Android Silver fizzled out. They write, “Google still sees software as its edge, rather than retail distribution and customer service. The company spent more time on Tuesday talking about the digital assistant baked into its new gadgets, and how they work together.”

Writing for PC, Sascha Segan takes a dim view of the Google Pixel not being “a game changer” and “the only difference between the most recent Nexus phones and the upcoming Pixel phones seems to be that the name of the manufacturer, HTC, won’t be on the body of the device”.

The Wall Street Journal quips, “The Pixel and Pixel XL are essentially the same phone, and they look a lot like iPhones—or at least like the iPhone look-alike made by Google’s Pixel-manufacturing partner HTC Corp.”

More From Livemint