What you need to know
- A new report from IDC says the Pixel line sold more phones than OnePlus in 2019.
- The growth was attributed to Google's Pixel 3a release, as well as the line expanding to new markets.
- The Pixel 3a and 4 lines still sold fewer units in their first two quarters than the preceding Pixel 3.
The Google Pixel line had its strongest performance since launch in 2019, a tweet from an IDC analyst said today. The line shipped over 7.2 million phones last year, overtaking competitors like OnePlus for the same calendar year.
While it may be puzzling to see the Pixel line's sales described as "strong", especially after The Information's report that came out last month, it's important to place it in context. As IDC notes, the combined sales of the Pixel 3, 3a and 4 pushed the line up from where it was a year before. The Pixel 4 and 4 XL still undersold in their first two quarters, compared to the 3, as did the 3a and 3a XL.
"Google has invested heavily in its devices group only to end up stuck. The phones have been praised by tech reviewers and they have allowed Google to experiment with new technologies," Avi Greengart, lead analyst at Techsponential told Android Central in May. "The Pixel hasn't completely bombed in the market like Microsoft's Kin or Amazon's Fire Phone, but the Pixels haven't sold especially well, either. The Pixel flagships have done nothing to blunt the Apple and Samsung duopoly in the U.S., and the Pixel 3a didn't make a dent in the hot mid-tier smartphone markets outside the U.S."
Google may have had its best year in 2019, but the downward trends were unlikely to have pleased executives much. Google is set to launch the Pixel 4a and 5 before the end of the year. With the Coronavirus pandemic still fresh on everyone's minds and wallets, it may be hard to reverse that trajectory this year.