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AppleInsider shockingly doesn't understand Pixels and Nexuses as products or how they affected Android manufacturers

HTC's struggles over the last four years are well documented. The business has declined sharply, the cadence of product releases has slowed, and while the phones themselves have continued to be pretty good they haven't garnered the public's attention on the scale necessary to run a massive international smartphone business. For some reason, this article on AppleInsider seems to think that Google's Nexus and Pixel phones are to blame for HTC's demise. Oh, and they also "gutted" Motorola. And by the way, they're bad products that nobody wants and are ruining the Android ecosystem one company at a time.

Okay, none of that is actually true. Take a deep breath and let me explain.

HTC 10, One M9 and One M8

The primary assertion of the article is that a) HTC is failing as a business and b) it's been a partner with Google multiple times so c) HTC's failures are the cause of Google's partnerships for Nexuses and Pixels. It's the time-honored tradition of confusing correlation with causation. Yes, HTC is failing as a business. And yes again, it has partnered with Google many times to launch products. But that in no way means that the two are linked.

The article's primary evidence for this assertion that Google killed HTC is that Google purchased Motorola, released two Moto X phones that didn't do too well, and then sold it. This is, quite clearly, a completely different situation. Partnerships for individual phone releases is far and away different from purchasing a company outright — not to mention that one of the core reasons for purchasing Motorola in the first place was its staff and patent portfolio. And since selling the company, Motorola has done surprisingly well in the low- and mid-range segments across the world. Yes it's not the Motorola of old, but times change — and you simply can't argue that Motorola died (well, because it didn't) because of this "what if" thought process of the acquisition. This isn't relevant to the Google-HTC situation at all, actually.

Now let's cover the HTC situation. When it comes to Android, HTC was there from the very beginning. Google's first Android phone, the Sooner, was made by HTC. The second Android phone (though it was the first commercially-available one) was the Dream, also known as the G1, made by HTC. Google's first self-branded phone, the Nexus One, was made by ... you guessed it, HTC. In 2010 when the Nexus One came out, HTC's business was built on the back of Windows Phone — an OS that was well on its way to being a dead end. HTC's life ring was moving to making Android phones — its business would never have reached the heights that it did if it hadn't partnered with Google to get in on the ground floor of making Android phones.

From 2010 to 2014, HTC was synonymous with Android — and it was because of Google, not in spite of it. After the Nexus One, HTC launched a strong set of Desire phones, partnered with Verizon for successful Droid-branded phones and was a major influence in the Android world with the One line of flagships. HTC hadn't partnered with Google for a phone since 2010 (the Nexus 9 tablet was forgettable no matter who made it), yet it was able to build its business to its highest peak over the next four years.

HTC both rose to its highest peak and also started its downturn between its 2010 and 2016 Google partnerships.

But it didn't last. We remarked back in February 2016, some 8 months before the first HTC-made Google Pixel was announced, that HTC was having a tough time standing out from the competition. At that point, we were "almost two years removed from the last great HTC phone, the One M8" — indeed, HTC had started its downward trend in 2014. Well before the Pixel partnership was even put in place, and once again well after HTC and Google had last partnered for a phone. HTC had both risen to its highest level and also started its downturn in the time between the two Google phone partnerships.

Google seemed to be well aware that HTC was not doing well. But for some reason this article seems to make that case that Google is under some sort of obligation to make sure HTC doesn't go out of business. Despite the fact that Google is indeed under no such obligation, it has over the last couple of years invested heavily in HTC — first by contracting the company build the Pixel, Pixel XL and Pixel 2, then by investing over $1 billion in HTC directly by acquiring much of its engineering staff. It's easily arguable that without the massive influx of cash from Google for manufacturing these three Pixel phones that HTC would already be dead — the company's position was that bad in 2016 when it started making Pixels.

Nexus phones

So what about the other Nexus and Pixel partners? By this flawed logic that Google kills its partners, Samsung and LG should be dead as well. Google partnered with Samsung for the Nexus S in 2010 and the Galaxy Nexus in 2011 — which subsequently kicked off Samsung's dominance of the Android market from the Galaxy S II onward, forming the iPhone's biggest competitor worldwide. Google partnered with LG for four different devices: the Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 5X and Pixel 2 XL. The Nexus 4 kicked off a six-year partnership between the companies that still stands today — and LG itself isn't doing particularly bad. Sure it isn't Samsung, but it's also a massive leap above where HTC is right now.

Interestingly, the whole point of the article seems to be to simply spike the ball and point to the fact that the Pixel phones aren't as wildly popular or big as the iPhone. What it fails to recognize is that there's a very large middle ground between "unsuccessful product line" and "Apple iPhone" — in fact, it's the entire smartphone market, because no single smartphone has been as popular as the iPhone. The two generations of Pixels have yet to be massive retail successes, that's pretty clear. But they, and the Nexuses that came before them, have not been complete failures — particularly if you understand that the goal of Nexus phones was to lend a hand to Android manufacturers, not sell in large numbers. Their lack of retail success has in no way contributed to the death or misfortune of any of the companies that made them. Shockingly, this nuance has been lost on AppleInsider.

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

  • I saw this article in my Google Feed. Totally glossed over it. I saw who the piece was published by, thought they probably didn't know what they were talking about and moved on. It helped that I was on my break and didn't want to take the time to read it. 😉
  • Thank you Andrew.
  • I guess "genius" doesn't mean what it used to.
  • Not in the slightest if you are talking about apple and I use apple products. ha ha.
  • Im going to tell you something that was so profoundly passed onto me at a young age that sums up the thought process behind their article You cant fix stupid
  • Nah Mac58, it's not stupid, it's brainwashing by apple to automatically blame everything on google. If not google, it's Microsofts fault.
  • I suppose Toys R Us going under was Google's fault, too? (It was probably Amazon's.) I'm no fan of Google and have no problem with people taking shots at them, hell, I'll join in given a chance. But this kind of uninformed tripe just makes them look like biased, idiotic fan boys/girls...
  • Vulture capitalist are the reason why they went under, loading the company with massive debt and leaving the workers holding the bag.
  • IMO, the reasons HTC started it's downward turn were, in no particular order:
    Performance issues (the pre One phones had issues with resource hungry skins, small batteries, poor cameras, etc.).
    Being a doormat for carriers (they, along with LG seemed to produce a different phone for almost every carrier, something Samsung to their credit stopped fairly early on and it widened their recognition among the average users exponentially).
    Recycling designs for too long.
    Offering devices missing key features. Before anyone says I'm an HTC hater (a term I wish would die a horrible fiery death), my first 4 smartphones were made by HTC (Droid Incredible 1 & 2, Thunderbolt, and Rezound). All but the Thunderbolt were decent phones (but to be fair, none of the first crop of Verizon LTE phones were very good, like the Droid Charge, LG Revolution, or Droid Bionic). However, with each new iteration, they seemed to fall further behind the competition in terms of performance. Sense grew so resource hungry it gave MotoBlur a run for it's money in terms of lag. It wasn't until IIRC the One series that they started to right the ship. Unfortunately by that time I'd moved on. As for Motorola, while I also hated that Google dropped them (keeping them to be Google's hardware division would've been pretty sweet) no one seems to remember that before Google acquired them, they were in almost the same boat then as HTC is now. Had Google not acquired them, those patents would've ended up in the hands of one of the Android OEMs (who were suing each other quite a lot at the time) or someone less friendly to Android (Microsoft, Apple, or a patent troll). So I can't really be too mad with Google in that respect.
  • I couldn't agree more. I would also add that HTC missed several opportunities to distinguish themselves from other manufacturers. LG and HTC were never going to compete with Samsung's advertising budget, so they should have focused on customer loyalty through quality products, flagship phones which are less expensive and and updated frequently. Look at what some of the Chinese companies are doing with less expensive flagship phones, this could have been HTC's niche market.
  • Don't Panic. Was I the only one to laugh about the Nexus 4 review link? That's right, for 6 years Google phone partnerships have failed to understand people want expandable Micro SD storage 🤣 "Storage options are on the low side at 8 and 16GB, with no microSD storage."
    Phil Nickinson AC review of Nexus 4 Nov 7, 2012 The history of Google partnerships is what it is... But don't try the physics equivalent of a "theory of everything" about Android by explaining low sale Pixel phones with a revisionist history that insists a smooth process. In the early years Google would parter with anybody to create Android phones. We know who won. Samsung has an android phone at every imaginable price point in every continent. ..BUT... Higher spec Chinese competition at lower price points has both the Apple and Android market freaking out... Including unproven security claims by American gov't intel against ZTE & Hauwei. High spec, lower cost android Chinese phones are on the rise. Google will never admit they are thankful to improved quality of cheaper Chinese phones, but it is good for Android worldwide. Pixel phone sales are a disaster.
  • I can never forgive HTC for Thunderbolt on Verizon. First 4g phone on Verizon. What a dog.
  • So...much....this^
  • Didn't HTC started going under once apple started law suits against them?
  • Apple and HTC signed a 10-year patent cross-licensing agreement in 2012, so that metal back with the antenna lines that HTC introduced with the M7 were not an issue when Apple used it on the iPhone 6. Apple also got Live Photos from HTC and a number of other things.
  • It would be very tough for any one Android phone to sell as well as the iPhone. This is because Android has something iPhones will never have and that is multiple manufactures to choose from. The Pixel may not be the best selling phone, but it gives android users something that I really appreciate and that is choices. The Pixel is not a phone I would buy, but to use Android, I do not have to. I have to make far fewer compromises than most iPhone users. I can have an SD card, a headphone jack and a phone without a notch. I could have wireless charging years before Apple thought it was ok to stick in a phone. My phone of choice right now is the LG V35 Thinq. It might not be the best selling phone, but I got what I wanted. The iPhone may sells more than any other phone manufacture, because it is the only choice on IOS. One myth about iPhone is that they are a high quality device. They have always had more quality problems than most other manufactures. This goes back to when they were exclusive to AT&T in the US. Feeling premium because you put glass on the back of your phone is different than actually making a quality product. However, that is a rant for another time.
  • Google only managed to sell less than 4m Pixel devices in 2017 compared to 317m Samsungs and 215m iPhones and 44m iPads. Pixels have only 0.7% market share in Google's home market - the USA. You give Google far too much credit for such an anaemic effort. In terms of quality and reliability, thanks to high end machined aluminium and stainless steel enclosures an high-end components, Apple devices consistently rank at the top of reliability indexes. For example: "Apple’s laptops rank highest in reliability, according to the latest Consumer Reports survey, as they have in previous years. Our latest survey of more than 58,000 laptop owners also revealed how laptops tend to fail and what it costs to fix them. Apple is still No. 1. We estimate that only 10 percent of Apple laptops fail by the third year of ownership. The numbers for Windows laptop brands range from 16 percent to 19 percent. In addition, Apple laptops break down less often than laptops from other brands. Among laptops that fail, only 42 percent of Apples break down more than once, while more than half (55 percent) of non-Apple laptops break down on multiple occasions." In terms of smartphones, Blancco's Q4 2017 Report released today reports that iOS devices have a failure rate of 12.5% compared to Android devices on 14%. So much for less reliable.
  • Apple Macbooks and MacOS is a fraction of what Microsoft puts under their belt .. so being "number one" of a small percentage ... who cares??? Google owns Android, not just the Pixel line, and I'm sure they're more than happy with their 85% Global market share.
  • Actually, Apple sells far more Macs (19 million last year alone) and iPads (44 million last year) than Microsoft sells all Surface laptop and tablet devices put together and is not bad at all compared to the 243m windows PCs sold last year. Considering Apple pulls in more revenue and profit share on those Mac sales than the rest of the PC industry put together (even when we don't include iPad sales), it is evident a lot of people are not caring about the metrics that matter. With Google generating 75% of their mobile search revenue from iOS devices according to Goldman Sachs, it is obvious that Google is far less happy with the revenue generating potential of their Android platform than you seem to think. Oh, and Apple's active iOS user base is actually 1.2 Billion in size, 60% the size of Google's 2 billion active Android tablets and phones and with Apple capturing 70-90% of the profits of the entire mobile industry and double the app sales revenue of Android, methinks Google is quite unhappy about the situation.
  • Gracious.. You're the type of Apple of fanboy that truly doesn't deserve a proper response. You're mainlining Apple juice to the point that you're quoting profits as a measurement of users... The very idea that you're proud of a company fleecing the maximum from your pockets they can, is staggering. Oh and Android's active user base is actually 2.3 billion and Microsoft has 88% of all non mobile devices.
  • In terms of profit share, it is actually vitally important as without OEM profits, users suffer when their smartphone manufacturer is barely clinging on. Android users end up with orphan device because their OEM doesn’t have enough money to support or produce updates, upgrades or accessories for existing devices. With every Android manufacturer in the world (apart from Samsung) barely holding onto existence with their fingernails, haemorrhaging hundreds of millions and even Billions of dollars every year, it is no wonder they force their users to buy new devices rather than support their old ones. In contrast, Apple’s 1.2 billion strong active iOS user base made up of the most lucrative demographics in the world are more than happy to pay extra as they know they will be supported and will get their money’s worth with the industry’s Highest resale values by far. Businesses and the Enterprise are more than happy to pay extra as they know the devices will be secure and run all the top tier business software that is only available for iOS. They also know that if vulnerabilities are found they will be promptly patched. Not so unfortunately for Android devices. Egnyte reports that in the Enterprise, an extraordinary 82 percent of work done on mobile takes place on iOS in 2017, while 25 percent of work done on a desktop was via macOS. Egnyte previously reported in 2013 that Apple's worldwide iOS mobile business market share increased from 69% to 78% while Android declined from 30% the previous year to only 22%. According to Good Technology's Mobility Index Report, iPhone accounted for 72 percent of all enterprise smartphone activations in 2017, while iPad accounted for 81 percent of tablet activations. You need to look at the metrics that actually matter.
  • And that same iPhone with all those Good apps activated on them gets set right to the side and that very same person starts typing on a Windows. I believe you are just looking at the metrics that are convenient to your narative.. if profits are a metric you feel matters, then cheers; but Apple's OS are still small in relative comparison to the actual global leaders.
  • That's an odd graph missing as it does the elephant in the room - smartphones - which sell far more units than PCs. Apple alone sold a quarter of a Billion iOS devices last year which when you add in the 20m Macs sold is MORE units than all worldwide PC shipments last year combined. Next consider that the Average Selling Price (ASP) of PCs is only 632 dollars compared to the ASP of the iPhone on 795 and the Mac ASP of 1500 dollars, So much for Apple being small in comparison. Your graph also doesn't make much sense considering that despite Apple selling 44m iPads last year compared to 19m Macs - the graph says iOS only has 5.44% "marketshare" compared to Mac OS X on 11.3%. What's the methodology?
  • Also, 2.3 billion is Google Android + AOSP Android (mostly in China). Google themselves report they have 2 Billion active Android devices. The iOS platform not only generates 75% of Google's total mobile search revenue according to Goldman Sachs, but Nanigans reports that Apple's 1.2 Billion-strong iOS users generate an incredible 1,790% greater advertising ROI than Android users, the latter of whom actually lose money for retail advertisers according to Nanigans. The iOS platform also generates 90% more App revenue than the Android platform for 3rd party developers according to App Annie. Apple's iOS platform generates 400% more e-commerce revenue for retailers than the Android platform according to IBM and Adobe and iOS dominates the Business Mobile market with 64-82% market share. Now those are the metrics that matter and that is why peripheral hardware and software developers still target iOS first and often exclusively and this is ultimately why these metrics matter for users themselves. In comparison, quarterly unit sales market share is only important to the device manufacturers, but even then the amount of profit these OEMs make on each device sold is more important for their bottom line as that is what determines whether they live or die or just scrape by not being able to support their users. Of course with Apple capturing the most OEM manufacturer Revenue (51% share of the entire industry) and Profits (70-94% share of the entire mobile industry), Apple utterly dominates these metrics as well.
  • Again, I think you're just posting whatever's convenient for your own personal narative.. "Google themselves report they have 2 Billion active Android devices." Google statement that was made over a year ago was that it is now over 2 billion and that was in 2017. I'm done with this thread. There's nothing else to be said on this topic.
  • Yes and Apple's user base has also grown since then. Considering there are over a billion Android devices sold each year, the fact that the user base is still only just above 2 billion shows how quickly Android devices are thrown away compared to iOS on 1.2 billion with sales of a quarter of a billion per year.
  • Typical not comparing of like with like. "iOS devices have a failure rate of 12.5% compared to Android devices on 14%". So, your $1000 iPhone is only 1.5% more reliable than a $50 throwaway Android? Anyway you cut it, that does NOT reflect well on Apples reliability. The same disparity also extends to the Consumer Reports stats. Mind you, those figures are also notoriously unreliable as they are 1) self-selected surveys where 2) anyone can enter any data they wish (say you're an Apple fan - you give perfect scores to your iDevice yet give abysmal grades to HP despite never owning one. The scope for misinformation and manipulation is incredibly large) and 3) user perceptions alter results (Apple users are notoriously reluctant to see fault in their devices and the survey results will reflect this.
  • What you fail to realise is that iOS devices with their Average Selling Price (ASP) of 700 dollars have far longer lifespans of 4 or more years thanks to their high resale value, hand-me-downs to family and friends and refurbishment market. In contrast, the majority of Android devices are cheap and nasty plastic 230 dollar ASP devices that are thrown away after 1-2 years. The fact that iOS devices have a failure rate lower than Android devices despite lasting more than twice as long demonstrates that Apple devices are indeed much more reliable than Android devices - contrary to the OP’s statement that Apple devices have “more quality problems than most other manufactures”.
  • Absolute rubbish. Apple devices are as likely to fail as other devices. Apple doesn't have a magic wand. Go and talk to a repair guy who does Apple and other brands, then come and talk.
  • I've provided evidence this is not the case. Please provide data to back up your case.
  • I mean, you're essentially comparing a single product line against thousands of products and product lines. Based on statistics as of 2015, there are over 24,000 unique android devices, across both tablets and smart phones made by an estimated 1,300 manufacturers. In the iPhone line of products, there are 18. 31 products counting the models of iPads. It would be like comparing the failure rate of a certain car model against the collective failure rate of a car category, then stating "well this model is obviously better because it has a better failure rate than the *average* of these thousands of models." I'm actually a little amazed that the failure rate for android is only 14% considering the many factors involved, I would have expected it to be higher. It's a little weird that the failure rate of iOS devices are 12.5% considering they have full control over manufacturing, hardware, software environment, and quality control/testing of their products. If anything this kind of makes Apple look a little worse in comparison. A more apt comparison would be to look at the failure rates of specific Android product lines and the iPhone product line.
  • Samsung recorded a 34 percent failure rate while Xiaomi had a 13 percent failure rate. The fact that iOS devices have a failure rate lower than Android devices despite lasting more than twice as long demonstrates that Apple devices are indeed much more reliable than Android devices - contrary to the OP’s statement that Apple devices have “more quality problems than most other manufactures”.
  • Here you highlight that you just cherry-pick what looks like information that suits you, but really don't know what you're looking at. That The largest Android manufacturer has the highest proportion of Android 'failure rate' is hardly surprising. To use turn your own claim back on you - Apple phones have a 100% failure rate of iOS devices. Wow, using your logic Apple phones really are trash. Of course, you would have easily noticed your mistake by looking at the model 'failure rates' where the worst listed device was at 9% - if that was the worst model, then how could Samsung have a rate over 3x that? Your other point is just as spurious. You claim 'lasting twice as long' yest there is nothing that backs this up. That people hang on to them longer/pass them on is irrelevant as you are making the foolish assumption that the only reason Android phones are replaced sooner is failure. Absolute rubbish. Factor in cost where Apple phones cost many time more, people can more frequently buy to upgrade while still getting much better value for money and spending less. This also has a flow on with passing phones down - those whose parents, for example, pass their iPhones on, with Android could easily buy new, so no need for parents to pass down. Same with the resale market - why buy pre-worn when new is so much more accessible with warranties and all? So, really the unproven 'lasting twice as long' is an invented fantasy that doesn't mean what you think it does. I reiterate. An iPhone, supposedly of high quality, with a failure rate almost identical to supposedly low quality phones a tiny fraction the price is pretty shameful for Apple.
  • Good take on it Andrew, and you clearly understand it better than whoever put out the Apple article. HTC benefitted from the relationship with Google, and are in their position now, mostly because of the lack of marketing. M7 and M8 both won awards as the best phones in the world, M9 had Dolby Surround Sound, HTC had portrait mode and 3D imaging years ago, the HTC 10 was named the most durable phone. The U series kicked off the crazy colored glass back trend, and the U11 can still kick the S9 in the performance department, while having a better screen than the Note 8 and the iPhone 8. USonic audio is light years ahead of anyone else on planet earth, and their current cameras are among the best in the world. Yet when a waitress or random girl on the street is all worked up over the design or a feature, telling them "It's an HTC" will surely result in a blank stare. Of course, it does not help that news sources like Android Central and Mobile Nations in general, hold HTC to a different standard. Perhaps we could adjust the passion and eagerness of which the pitchforks are wielded against HTC products?
  • I respect your opinion. I'd like to see the latest LCD display tech by HTC. LCD is typically not as high a contrast or bright, but resists screen burn in. A decision was made to push the Pixel, not a HTC branded phone. HTC has a distribution problem in North America. Carriers do not offer HTC phones. The Pixel is widely available in Canada, and oddly, is exclusive to one carrier in America. The merit of a Pixel exclusive was grossly overestimated....
  • Hi Arthur, the HTC U11 screen max brightness is 483 nits, the Galaxy S9 max brightness is 370 nits. In sunlight boost mode, the U11 tops out at 583 nits compared to the S9 going up to 658. It's a difference of 75 nits, so not a big gap in brightness with Samsung's greatest. Contrast ratio will always be better with an AMOLED because the pixels are turned off. With LCD, the backlight is always on, so the display has to block the light to get blacks, which is not as effective. On older screens the blacks don't get very dark and it's distracting watching a movie in a dark room. However, with the newer screens like the U12, the contrast ratio is 1830 to 1, and the blacks are nice and dark enough to enjoy movies at night. One thing that does stand out as being much better on LCD's is sharpness. On the S9, factual resolution is 2,960 x 720 pixels compared to the U12 factual resolution of 2880 x 1440. Samsung achieves the quad HD resolution goal by using subpixel rendering to simulate a higher resolution. When used side by side, the Samsung display looks soft and lacks sharpness. I agree HTC has a distribution problem in North America. In the UK, the U12 Plus is selling well and HTC is having trouble keeping up with demand, judging by it frequently being sold out.
  • Your dig at sub-pixel rendering and actual resolution for Samsung is dishonest. There are differences, but it's not as simple as you put forth. The pixel density is based off of the green pixels. There is a reduced pixel density in regards to red and blue, but the human eye is more sensitive to green. As to the sharpness. I can't speak to you personally, but there is no discernible sharpness difference that I can see. I'm not saying that there isn't a difference at the sub-pixel level. I'm saying there is no visible difference when actually using the phone.
  • I may make mistakes, but I don't post anything dishonest. From GSMArena's test results page on the Galaxy S9: "It's no secret that Samsung uses Diamond Pentile pixel arrangements on its screens - meaning less blue and red subpixels and a factual resolution of 2,960 x 720 pixels. But through some complex math for the subpixel rendering and proprietary display driver the screen is capable of reproducing the promised Quad HD resolution." And although you say there's no visible difference, I USE the Note 8, Galaxy S9 and HTC U11 side by side. The HTC screen is sharper. Jerry here on AC himself states he prefers the sharpness of LCD for text reading.
  • Remeber when HTC brought beats and had beats audio on the phones bet that cost a load of money in the long run what a forgettable take over that was....
  • I loved the HTC One M7 and M8, they were HTC at their best, but from the M9 onwards (I was tempted by these phones as an iPhone user back then), they started to go downhill and have never recovered, there's no doubt that Google is not to blame for HTC's problems and the Pixels while not the commercial success Google hoped, they're slowly growing in sales and they've built up a loyal fan base (I'm a a proud Pixel 2 XL owner and huge fan) and is another option for Android and is the only Andrew phones I will consider because of its seller points, fast, clean, fluid and bloatware free experience and being first on line for platform and security updates. Anyway, HTC deserve to be where they are because they lost sight of what made their phones great, and having basically been left behind by their competitors.
  • "having basically been left behind by their competitors"
    That would be incorrect. Let's take a look at something like the U12 and the Pixel 2XL.
    U12 has the better display.
    U12 has USonic, the Pixel has only passive audio through a dongle.
    The U12 has full Edge Sense, the Pixel Edge Sense has been neutered.
    The Pixel has a great camera, but does not have the telephoto camera or the secondary sensor that captures depth data.
    The U12 has full pro mode for the camera which includes time exposures up to 32 seconds, and the preview shows you the resulting exposure before taking the shot.
    The Pixel is missing the hardware for audio focus, which lets you capture the full impact of fireworks a mile away while removing the voices of the people talking next to you.
    The Pixel is missing memory card support. That's fine for you, but I have the blueprints for 5 entire hospitals, databases of every network component, and my music library and a dozen movies, all of which need to be available offline when I'm below ground.
    The Pixel does have a great software experience, but despite being revered by Pixel fans, it's barely any faster than last year's U11.
    I won't even bother discussing looks. I'm not hating on the Pixel 2, which was actually on my short list of phones I wanted. But claiming HTC has been left behind shows you are out of touch with their current devices.
  • You can make the argument that Qualcomm helped killing everyone off except Samsung because of the Snapdragon 808/810 debacle. As far as Google phones, they only exist to impress the tech media and the tech enthusiasts. Google had their shot but never took selling their hardware seriously. Nexus always felt like a project, something they weren't fully committed to. Meanwhile Samsung was shoving Galaxy S2/S3 ads down our throats and became the true alternative to the iPhone. The market has matured, Samsung and Apple has built up mindshare and loyal customers, that everything else is an afterthought. The flagship market is done. You buy an iPhone or Galaxy. The only way left to cause disruption is in the sub $500 market. (This is where Chinese OEM's are killing it). Google should act now before even that window closes.
  • Google phones used to exist impress the tech media but now anymore, it's about giving consumers who don't want Samsung or all the others an option to explain Android as Google intended which is the cleanest fastest, smoothest , most fluid and bloatware free version of Android with guaranteed and quick security and platform updates. The Pixel line while not commercially successful yet, but it's sales are improving slowly, so don't count Google out of the flagship smartphone market. I'll remain loyal to the Pixel, I'd sooner use an iPhone again than use Samsung both Apple and Samsung are a POS). But given the Cho which I'm glad I have, I choose Pixel.
  • Pixel has sold pretty well. If it advertises as much as the others, it will sell as much as others. It is a good phone. Selling that many phones means that they have to be manufactured, which requires the company to invest a lot more in fabrication process, which they might not want to do right now
  • If you have not read any of the pieces by DEG, you do not realize how inane most of what he writes is. Just ignore him. It's just click bait.
  • It's funny how Android commentators try to excuse Google's continued failure in almost all their hardware endeavours rather than giving them the critical attention they deserve. Less than 4m Pixel devices were shipped in 2017 compared to 317m Samsungs and 215m iPhones and 44m iPads. Pixels have only 0.7% market share in Google's home market - the USA. Then there is the abysmal failure of Google's Motorola purchase. $12 billion down the drain and the supposed killer patents they kept turned out to be completely useless as attested in court cases where Google tried to use them. Yes, HTC had its problems already, but Google's anaemic Pixel devices have been far from a saviour in any of the models they have released from any manufacturer over the years.
  • The shipments of the Pixel is worldwide not just the US.
  • Yes, that figure of 4m Pixel devices sold in 2017 was worldwide sales. The 0.7% US market share figure was US-only. Apologies if I wasn't clear.
  • The shipment of the Pixel is very limited. Otherwise the Pixel selling less than 4 million in 2017 would reflect very badly on Google and Pixel as a brand. It's also why the comparison of Pixel sales to Galaxies and iPhones is not a sensible argument. Google's hardware has always been more focused in the USA.
  • And yet in the USA, the Pixel only has 0.7% market share. So much for being focused on the USA.
  • Yes those patents were so useless that Apple called for a truce and dropped all of their legal activity against the suddenly well-armed Google. FWIW those patents didn't cost $12B either, more like the amount donated to the EU this month, $5B. I call it a bargain considering it was a main driver behind the end of the smartphone wars.
  • The only problem with your theory is that the vast majority of Motorola's patents are junk SEP patents that proved useless in Google’s skirmishes in the Patent Wars that followed. Google argued its Moto patents were worth $4 billion per year in licensing fees from Microsoft in 2013 but that value was decimated down to a piddling $1.8 million dollars by a US court. Even worse for Google, when they tried to use the patents offensively, they failed miserably in court case after court case. As a result of trying to extort exorbitant licensing fees from Microsoft, Apple and others, the European Commission handed down an antitrust ruling finding Google guilty of abuse of FRAND patents. In the USA, A federal jury ruled that Motorola had to pay Microsoft $14.5 million in damages, finding that the Google-owned smartphone maker breached its obligation to license standards-essential technology in a fair and non-discriminatory fashion. Then there is the additional money that the Motorola albatross cost Goggle thanks to it's on-going sales failures while a division of the Big G - 1 billion dollars in 2013 alone. No, the reality is the Motrola purchase was one of Google’s bigger market and financial failures - they couldn’t sell Moto off to Lenovo quick enough - where Moto continued to lose its new owner hundreds of millions of dollars. Oh dear.
  • You have no idea what you are talking about. Sit down kid
  • "For one, it appears that Motorola’s patents are probably worth far less than the $5.5 billion value that Google assigned to them. In a patent suit last year, Motorola Mobility v. Microsoft, the company asked for around four billion dollars, and received just $1.7 million in annual royalties. Then, in September, Motorola was ordered to pay more than fourteen million dollars in damages because it did not license patents to Microsoft at a reasonable rate. Motorola’s ongoing legal battle against Apple has largely been a wash, as well" "Google may be selling Motorola for a loss, but it is effectively selling a tumor—an ungainly growth that was a drain on its time, attention, and resources."
    (New Yorker 2014)
  • HTC been doing bad since the HTC One M8 and that was what? 2014?
    Moto never had a hand in the market and actually got better when Google bought them. It comes down to this, Samsung owns the market and other Chinese companies stepped their game up and came up with phone just as good, but cheaper price. I'd say Samsung is more recognized with Android than Google is if you ask your regular customer.
  • I saw they article and considered the source .. What could they or would they even possibly know and understand about Google or Android? Not even worth the read. Great article, Andrew, btw.
  • Consider this. The US is the largest market for the pixel and people in the US dont buy phones outright. Yes some of you may do that, I get it. But most don't. They but on a payment plan. When the only sold that way on one carrier then I'm not surprised that it doesn't even come close to outselling a Samsung or iPhone flagship. It wasn't meant to. And yes you can get it through Google on a payment plan but again most people outside of this website just don't do those things. Most people don't even know what unlocked means when you are describing a phone. The pixel is far from a failure.
  • The Pixel 2XL was only $50 cheaper than a Samsung Galaxy Note 8 in Canada.... Your argument about weak sales due to North American carrier payment plans has no merit. Outright, the Pixel 2XL was priced too high. Fact is the Pixel 2XL offered fewer features but and was priced too high. In America, Pixel sales were hurt the most due to an exclusive deal with one carrier.... An argument could be made the single carrier reduced risk... Unsold inventory at mobile stores was limited to one American carrier. The praise offered by Android Central for Google Pixel phones never materialized where it counts... In consumer purchases. 3.9 million Pixel phones were sold worldwide in 2017. The Pixel has been a total disaster. In contrast, lower end Chinese ZTE sold about 20 million phones in America, which ranked it 4th.
  • Fewer features? What! Like which features were missing, a silly bixby, or good-for-nothing Siri, or a useless 2nd camera. Where's your common sense?
  • Useless second camera? I think most users who appreciate having a 2x optical zoom and shallow depth of field Bokeh effect would disagree with you on that one. Then there are all these other features that the Pixel is missing compared to the iPhone X. No edge-to-edge screen - look at that forehead and chin. Very 2016.
    No dual telephoto and wide-angle camera lenses.
    No next generation biometrics - Apple's FaceID just leaves the competition for dead.
    No Infrared camera or dot projector, so no seamless front-facing AR.
    No 256GB storage option.
    No 4K video recording at 60fps
    No 1080P video recording at 240fps
    20-80% slower than the iPhone 8 on all the performance benchmarks
    No Quad LED flash
    Fingerprint reader on the back
    No Wireless charging And then there are all the problems of the Pixel XL: Issue #1: The display looks dull and washed out
    Issue #2: The display exhibits a blue shift at even slight angles
    Issue #3: The display exhibits burn-in
    Issue #4: The display has a “black smear” issue
    Issue #5: The phone makes high-pitched noises and clicking sounds
    Issue #6: The top speaker is quieter than the bottom speaker
    Issue #7: The phone reboots at random
    Issue #8: The sides of the screen fail to recognize touches
    Issue #9: The fingerprint scanner has slowed down
    Issue #10: The headphone adapter isn’t working
    Issue #11: A buzzing noise is coming from the speakers Then there is the battery life of the Pixel where battery benchmarks like Phone Arena rate the Pixel XL2 much lower at only 7hrs 19mins compared to the iPhone X at 8hr 41mins. I think it might be you missing a bit of common sense in this regard.
  • You do realise that the 2018 builds of the Pixel 2 XL fixed pretty much all the issues you mentioned with the display and the camera is still better than the iPhone X camera too, even with a single lense.
  • Pity all those who bought those earlier flawed Pixel models. According to Displaymate's screen benchmarks, the iPhone X has a better screen than the Pixel 2 XL and many analysts rate the iPhone X camera as equal or better than the 2 XL - particularly when you factor in the second telephoto lens that the Pixel is missing.
  • Google has been a failure on the hardware side. The so called tech media, this author included makes the case that the Pixel phones are a viable flagship contender and it is not. I am shocked that Google has only sold 4 million or less. Google has a lot of nerve to charge the prices they do. I agree Google has done HTC no favors investing in them. Looks like HTC is in the same place with or without Google. Just like they wasted their money buying Motorola and done nothing with the Nexus line. Of course Samsung and he Chinese manufacturers are going along fine, because Android is all they can use because iOS is closed to them. So the author here is being disingenuous because all the talk of pure Android, with updates, should be what all the Android fans want and so the Pixels should be selling at the levels of Samsung and Apple and the Pixels don’t. The Pixel 3 doesn’t seem to be the one either. Looks like Google is taking HTC down, no matter how much you all here say......
  • HTC died because they had too many garbage devices and spent WAY too long releasing garbage cameras on what would otherwise be Good phones.... ultra pixels..... Don't care how good the rest of the phone is, if the camera is a dumpster fire, then the whole phone becomes a dumpster fire.
  • The last two Nexus phones as well as all the Pixel models to date have a very high rate of serious hardware failure and in the case of the Pixel line this has been completely ignored by the tech press. To give you a very simple example of how terrible the tech press is concerning the Pixel phones consider the recent story that Google was implementing a software fix for a very serious camera problem with the Pixel 2. That's nice but the problem existed since the Pixel 2 launched and was completely ignored by the tech press until Google announced a fix.. That means the tech press allowed their readers to purchase an expensive phone with a serious defect for 8 months before writing word one about said defect. Since the black screen of death that the Pixel XL frequently suffered was never fixed by Google the tech press never warned its readers about the issue. Maybe they should clean their own houses before complaining about Apple Insider.
  • I have a Pixel 2 XL and have no issues with the camera, not everyone has this issue so stop spreading false info that every Pixel 2 and 2 XL is affected by this issue.
  • If Samsung made the pixels I would estimate they would sell more. I understand a google branded phone, but I also understand google could probably care less about sales: they want you using their services, seeing ads. They are still first and foremost an ad company
  • There seems to be this trend lately that if a company is successful then it caused the failures of its competitors. That's not the new part though. It's like the successful company owes something to the failing one. The focus of responsibility or blame doesn't seem to be landing on the failing company.
  • Huge propaganda piece by AppleInsider. It's almost like they had Trump write it.
  • Apple Insider has got clearly no knowledge on the situation. It just wants to start flame wars, coz that's all Apple fanboys want to do.
  • And that is why they buy apple products. I dont mean their products are bad, but they are made for a certain type of people.
  • I don't pay attention to anything Appleinsider has to say as their a mouth piece for Apple.
  • While I object to DEG’s writing often enough, as he’s too partisan for me. Not everything was wrong. But HTC made their bed, and they’re dying on it. The fact is that the last several versions of their flagship phones were received very poorly, by reviewers, and by the public. As flagship phones tend to make the most profit, or for many firms, all the profit, having a thriving flagship line is imperative. Unfortunately for HTC, that line sank. As far as Google’s phones (and tablets) go, we hear a lot of reasons why they sell in minuscule numbers. We’re told that Google doesn’t want to sell a lot, because they’re just there for OEMs to see, and possibly copy. We’re given other reasons as well. Why Android users don’t buy them is a mystery, but they don’t. They are not just not “massive retail successes” but instead are retail duds. But I don’t blame HTC’s failures on them. That blame belongs squarely with HTC’s management.