Google has officially launched its Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones at a special event in San Francisco. With the new smartphones, Google is directly aiming at Apple – an approach that will shape the future of Android smartphones and set directions for for the entire industry.
So first things first, Google’s new Pixel smartphones cost almost as much as the latest iPhone 7 — which is a sharp departure from the budget pricing at which Nexus phones used to be introduced and company’s Rick Osterloh introduced Pixel smartphones as new phones ‘Made By Google’. This is the first time Google is emphasising on this term, indicating that the phone is designed, developed and manufactured by Google. Is it manufactured by Google? Wait, technically the phone is supposed to be made by HTC, but Google has had more say than ever before.
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The arrival of Pixel phones can be seen as HTC’s transition from Google’s choice OEM to ODM. If reports are anything to go by, Google approached Huawei first for its Pixel phones but the Chinese smartphone maker declined citing lack of Huawei branding on the latest phones.
While the first batches of Pixel phones will be made by HTC, there is a possibility that future devices could come from another vendor altogether. Google is following on Microsoft’s footsteps by introducing its own hardware rather than relying on a partner to fight with now dependable Apple iPhone range.
Must Read: With Pixel, Google is entering Apple’s space
For the world, Pixel will be a Google smartphone with HTC’s schematics. This is going to be the biggest difference between Nexus and Pixel. A quick look at Pixel and Pixel XL makes it clear that the smartphones bear close resemblance to HTC’s One A9 and the recent flagship HTC 10, but HTC could have had a significant turnaround if the phones had ‘Built by HTC’ branding somewhere. In fact, over the years LG did benefit from being the creator of Nexus phones.
With Pixel, Google certainly stands to win, but there won’t be much takeaway for HTC, which is struggling in its smartphone endeavours. With Pixel and Pixel XL, Google is going after a premium smartphone segment and it’s a gamble that could shape the premium smartphone industry currently dominated by Apple and Samsung. In simple terms, Pixel and Pixel XL will serve as launchpad for Google’s grander vision in the highly competitive smartphone industry.