We’ve been waiting years for Google to develop both the hardware and the software for a single phone, but ultimately the company has let us down every time our hopes got high. Google is beginning a new chapter this year in which the future is under its control. Despite the pivot to be engaged in hardware just as much as software, backlash is bountiful.
A new Nexus device entered the world annually dating back to 2010. It was rare for Google to heavily disappoint; however, it never felt like we had a true Google phone to rival Apple and the iPhone. That’s because Nexus phones were frequently based on a partner’s previous device, featured mediocre specifications, and didn’t execute like a flagship should. There was never a sign that Google intended to sell the Nexus name to the mainstream until 2015, and the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P proved Google could do it. Those two phones are what pushed Google to ditch Nexus and rebrand its hardware.
Now your wish has come true. The Pixel is unquestionably a product conceived by Google alone and it’s nothing short of a high-end device. Still, a very vocal group of Google’s loyalists are bashing the company for the Pixel’s existence.
The Pixel and Pixel XL start at $649 and $769, respectively. Go and ask someone who bought a new Galaxy S7, Galaxy Note 7, or iPhone 7 the cost of their device. What did they pay? North of $600, guaranteed. People who have owned Nexus devices are pulling their hair out over this. Browse places like Twitter or Reddit and you’ll see that many people believe Google is crazy for raising prices. Do the detractors know Apple and Samsung routinely sell millions of units every quarter? Apparently not. Apple and Samsung are anything but kind in the way they price their devices.
There’s virtually no difference in pricing between Google, Apple, and Samsung’s 2016 flagships:
- Pixel: $649 (32GB) / $749 (128GB)
- Pixel XL: $769 (32GB) / $868 (128Gb)
- iPhone 7: $649 (32GB) / $749 (128GB) / $849 (256GB)
- iPhone 7 Plus: $729 (32GB) / $869 (128GB) / $969 (256GB)
- Galaxy S7: $669 (32GB)
- Galaxy S7 Edge: $779 (32GB)
- Galaxy Note 7: $849 (64GB)
This pricing hasn’t hurt Google’s competitors, and it’s not going to hurt Google in the long-term. Maybe people who’ve purchased Nexus devices in the past will sit out this year and next, but that’s not who Google is playing to with the Pixel. This is a phone for the mainstream. Although it’d be better if multiple carriers offered the phone online and in stores, the distribution model for the Pixel is solid. The Google Store, Best Buy, and Verizon cover a large amount of territory; therefore, you can expect to see the Pixel wherever you shop this holiday season. Before you even begin shopping, you’ll find the Pixel because Google is among a small group in the mobile industry that can and will promote it in front of millions of people online, on television, and elsewhere.
Dive into the Pixel’s specifications and realize this phone isn’t messing around. Included is a metal and glass body, Qualcomm’s latest processor, a world-class camera, the latest version of Android with extra goodies from Google, and a fingerprint scanner. What does the Pixel feel like? An expensive device, courtesy of premium materials. And running the show is the Snapdragon 821, which means the Pixel is one of the very first phones to have Qualcomm’s best inside. Oh and the camera, if you haven’t heard already, ranks as the best in history. To get all of those things, you have to pay a price.
Don’t blame Google for putting top-notch components into the Pixel. If the Pixel was lacking, you’d be complaining about that as well.
A race to the bottom isn’t necessary to be successful. Don’t be blinded by the friendly price tags of the OnePlus 3, Honor 8, or Moto Z Play. Those phones are full of compromises and their makers can’t commit to software updates. The Pixel is going to be a better phone in every way. You’re going to get hardware and software built for each other, software updates before anyone else, on-device support, unlimited cloud storage for photos and videos at full resolution, and other things. No one else on the Android side gives even half of the Pixel’s benefits to their customers, partially because they can’t. Nexus device owner, too, will be missing out.
It may feel like a slap in the face to Google’s most faithful customers, but this is the path we’ve all been waiting for Google to embark on since Android’s inception. Embrace Pixel now because, yes, Nexus really is gone.