We’ve all seen the headlines recently with articles that say something like “Google Pixel 3 Smartphone Sales Are Down, and They Are Failing Hard.” Here’s the real scoop: Google isn’t trying to beat anyone at anything — they willingly provide smartphone manufacturers with so much free range via AOSP so they can build their own versions of Android. They also supply system level APIs so the manufacturers can implement special hardware features into their customized versions of Android. The fact is, Google wants these manufacturers to go wild with the tools they provide them with — they want to see what cool things these companies can cook up. They also want to see them succeed and continue to push the industry in the right direction.
Since Google is the leader of Android; none of the other Android smartphone markets would exist without them. Your Samsung’s, LG’s, Motorola’s, OnePlus’s, Huawei’s, Oppo’s, and Xiaomi’s? These smartphone lines would probably cease to exist without Google offering Android as an open source ecosystem. At the very least, things would likely be very messy without Android. You think we have an issue with fragmented system updates now? Imagine if every smartphone manufacturer had their own proprietary OS with its own exclusive app store that only worked on their specific devices.
We’d have multiple different companies that would each operate under a separate closed source ecosystem, which is not suitable for the general consumer market — the power of choice is always a desirable thing to have. Imagine having a dozen smartphone companies that all work the same way Apple does with its business; it would be a huge mess. Apps would be a disaster because a developer would have to manage their app across a dozen entirely different platforms, which means quality will go down while bugs and errors would be plenty. This, of course, drives up costs even more, which means even less of a reason to produce high-quality work.
Google puts out the Pixel smartphone line to show what can be done on the software side of things using the very same hardware the other Android manufacturers have access to. They must lead by example to show off new versions of Android, which then gives a baseline for the rest of the manufacturers to follow suit. The fact that the single camera system on the Pixel smartphones has been outpacing multiple camera phones in recent years is evidence enough about their software strengths. Google has already made a significant impact with the Pixel smartphone line in just a few short years, which is impressive — they haven’t been a hardware company for long either.
Everyone and their mother knows what kind of photos Google’s camera can produce with it’s AI and machine learning algorithms, which is why you see Pixel camera app ports for just about every new device out now. It can take any camera system and potentially improve upon it by quite a large margin in some cases. To say that the Pixel smartphones have “failed” is an irresponsible and overly exaggerated mess. Google and the Pixel smartphone line carry a substantial influence over the Android ecosystem as a whole — it goes far beyond the camera experience. The internet likes to twist things, transform nothing topics into more than they are, and then turn them into a negative stigma with false stories and headlines to generate views.
The real news is that Android has about 72 percent global market share at last check in Q4 2018, and is thriving more than ever. Without Google’s venture into the world of mobile, we’d be living in a different world of smartphones that probably would consist of iOS as the primary choice. Not a bad thing, but not having a diverse group of device options across the world would seem a bit… gray.
So Google is doing us all a favor, both consumer and smartphone manufacturer alike. They give manufacturers a platform to help create their own visions, which then allows consumers to have the freedom of choice. So, no, Pixel smartphones aren’t “losing” anything by comparison of sheer hardware sales — that’s not the point of all this, it never was. Back when Google was still participating with Nexus partners, it was never about the total number of hardware sales either. It was about what can be done when you combine a solid hardware experience with great software features — same as it is today with the Pixel line.
When Google’s Pixel 4 smartphone comes out later this year, we’ll repeat history once again with the impressive new camera system, nice new Android Q update, and many other Pixel related AI features that make it a leader in the industry. I can almost guarantee that we will see plenty of headlines similar to “The Pixel 4 Is the Best Android Smartphone of 2019; Here’s Why.” It happens year in and year out with the online community — they like to blindly bash something beforehand until they try it for themselves and realize they were wrong. Internet logic, right? One thing I can tell you though, Google knows what they’re doing after decades of experience under their belt — trust me.
We should all start thanking Google for their contributions to the tech world — heck, they like to work on solving a lot of real-world problems that no one else is bothering to tackle. Without Google, there would be a lot of great apps, services, and platforms missing from our lives — more than most of us are willing to admit I’m sure. Just email Google and tell them “Thank you for making technology a part of our daily lives for so many years now.” That’s all you need to say — they’ll know what you mean.