5 reasons why the Google Pixel phone will fail

Stuck Pixel

5 reasons why the Google Pixel phone will fail

Google announced two new phones recently in the Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL. This is clearly a direct challenge to the iPhone following years of a 'death by a thousand cuts' approach with Android.

There are ample reasons for both optimism and caution concerning Google's new Pixel strategy. We'll be outlining the positives in a subsequent article, but for now we want to discuss the key reasons why the Google Pixel might fail.

Don't agree with us? Spot any other flaws in Google's approach? Please do share your constructive thoughts in the comments below.

It's expensive

In one way, the Google Pixel is merely a rebranding exercise. Google has backed a champion device every year since 2010 under the Nexus name.

But one of the key points with the Nexus range is that it's always come in significantly cheaper than the top Apple and Samsung phones. Given that Android is generally seen as the smartphone platform of the people, that was a smart move.

The Google Pixel starts at £599 / $649. That's the same price as an iPhone 7. Given the significantly higher rate of depreciation for Android phones and the Google brand's lack of association with premium hardware, it's questionable whether people will see this as such good value.

Google phones don't sell

I've mentioned already that Google has sold phones before under the Nexus brand. Well, guess what? Nexus phones have never been brilliant sellers - certainly not compared to the best efforts of Apple and Samsung.

Of course, Google would justifiably tell you that the Nexus phones were never meant to be outright hits. Rather, they were always intended to be handy reference points for other Android manufacturers to follow with their own designs.

But the fact remains that Google has never produced a top-selling smartphone. In many ways, it's entering unknown territory with the Pixel.

It looks like an iPhone

The Pixel is a bold new venture for Google, one where it takes its smartphone destiny out of the hands of Samsung, LG, Sony and company and strikes out on its own.

So why does this brave new statement of phone look so much like an iPhone?

Okay, so there are some notable differences, like the coloured glass panel and the angled bezel on the rear. But let's not kid ourselves here - Google is borrowing from the Apple design book with the Pixel.

Which makes you wonder: if it looks like an iPhone and costs as much as an iPhone, won't most people just buy an iPhone?

It's not waterproof

You might despair of the hold that Apple has over smartphone design (see the previous section), but the fact is that where the iPhone goes, the industry usually follows - even if where the iPhone goes isn't at all original.

There have been waterproof phones for years, but 2016 has become the year where such a feature has become almost standard - helped in no small part by the iPhone 7.

Given how forward-looking the Pixel is supposed to be, then, it's a little disconcerting that it isn't water resistant. All it has is an IP53 rating. This means that it will stand up to some light rain while you're using it upright (or normally). Any other kind of exposure to moisture and you're taking chances.

Do people really care about mobile VR?

One of the Google Pixel's big stand-out features is of questionable value.

Don't get us wrong - the second-coming of VR has led to some amazing experiences, not least in gaming. But most of the really special stuff is taking place on dedicated or advanced virtual reality headsets from Oculus, HTC, and Sony.

Indeed, Google came up with Daydream in many ways to fix what has been a sub-optimal experience to date. Is there definitely a future for mobile-generated VR? Some would argue that it's still in the balance.

Jon Mundy
Jon Mundy
Jon is a consummate expert in adventure, action, and sports games. Which is just as well, as in real life he's timid, lazy, and unfit. It's amazing how these things even themselves out.