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Pixel hype: Can the first real 'Google phone' make a splash outside the Android bubble?

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Google Campus Logo (Image credit: Android Central)

Do you have an Android phone?

No, I have a Galaxy.

Just about every one of us at Android Central have had some variation on that conversation over the past few years. It underscores the difference in how normal people — those who don't live and breathe smartphone industry nonsense every day — view phones. For the vast majority of humans, the way a phone looks and what it's able to do is way more important than the operating system it runs or how up-to-date its software is.

That's not to say consumers are ignorant, just that priorities outside of the Android/gadget nerd bubble are different.

Pixel teaser

Google's Nexus phones never enjoyed mass appeal.

That's partly why Google's Nexus phones didn't catch on in a big way. Taken as a whole, their biggest selling point was that they ran Google's software as the company intended, and got new Android versions as soon as they were available. With the possible exception of the Nexus 6P, Google and its partners largely struggled to nail other really important parts of the experience — fundamental things like camera and battery life. Even the most visibly popular Nexus, 2013's Nexus 5, sold because it was cheap. Without the Nexus badge or Google's software, it was a boring plastic nothing with bad battery life and a temperamental camera.

Perhaps just as importantly, Google never really learned how to play the carrier game in the U.S.

The move to the Pixel brand suggests that Google, through its new hardware division, is serious about making a phone for the sake of making a phone, not just as a reference device for developers and a niche curiosity for enthusiasts. Serious money is being spent on serious, real world advertising — the sort you would expect to precede a major new Galaxy device.

And the "made by Google" marketing line — although pedants will point out HTC, as an ODM, is actually behind the Pixel phones — is the first step in a journey that could take us through to new Google tablets and eventually laptops running the rumored 'Andromeda' OS. Google wants everyone to know it's serious about hardware, starting with the first Google phones next week.

Google needs to show normal people why its phones are exciting in a world that contains the iPhone 7 and Galaxy S7.

So at its October 4 launch event, Google needs to set expectations. More importantly, it needs to show normal people why its hardware is worth getting excited about in a world that contains the iPhone 7 and Galaxy S7. By all accounts, it'll be asking for a hefty chunk of cash for its Pixel phones. At that price point, excellence across the spec sheet is table stakes.

Pixel phones

The challenge shouldn't be underestimated. Even ignoring the iPhone for a second, Samsung's making life really hard for anyone selling an Android phone for north of $600 — as evidenced by the fact that the generally decent HTC 10 hasn't made much of a dent in anything this past half-year. (Sure, Samsung's facing its own difficulty over exploding Galaxy Note 7s and an unprecedented global recall, but in the meantime it's still selling GS7s by the boatload.)

Both Apple and Samsung have full U.S. carrier coverage, almost unrivaled consumer mindshare and massive marketing budgets. Google may have money to spend, but it's effectively a newcomer in this field. The Google brand is valuable (second only to Apple, in fact), but mostly not associated with physical goods.

More: Everything we know about Google's Pixel phones

If the leaked specs are to be believed, the Pixels will use standard high-end Android internals, just like many other phones currently on sale. From what we've seen so far, the body containing all this stuff is a standard metal-and-glass affair, much like its soon-to-be rivals. Maybe it's software and services that'll differentiate things — Google's clearly been hard at work on a new UI for its own devices. But for a hardware-themed event, that seems like a bit of a mismatch.

When Microsoft does hardware events, we get crazy new concepts like the Surface and Surface Book. When Apple launches new hardware, we get Jony Ive in a white room talking about magnetized ultra-fine iron particle baths and buttons that aren't really there. If Google is to prove itself in the world of hardware, it needs something of similar impact, not just another pretty nice Android phone with decent Google software and services.

That'll determine whether Pixel becomes just another phone for enthusiasts, or whether it marks the beginning of Google as a major brand in hardware.

If so, maybe someday when you ask someone if they have an Android phone, they'll reply, "No, I have a Pixel."

Alex Dobie
Alex Dobie

Alex was with Android Central for over a decade, producing written and video content for the site, and served as global Executive Editor from 2016 to 2022.

190 Comments
  • Advertising is crucial if they want brand recognition.
  • Google never advertised the Nexus until last year. 2015 was the first time Google ever advertised a Nexus Phone.
  • Why are new Google's phones excitement always called "Hype", but Apple's, Samsung's and everyone else not?
  • Because there is whereas there is not
  • That was well done, Bravo!!!!!
  • Reminds me a Chevy Chase at the Press Conference in the Beginning of Spies Like Us
  • I think there's plenty of "hype" around Samsung and Apple launches.
  • Well you have to admit Andrew that Google's events were always more intriguing because of the nature of how nexuses were built in the past though.
  • Because a new iPhone is always just an upgraded current iPhone with one or two Android features. Same with Samsung, each new Galaxy is more of the same. Meanwhile, we never know what to expect from the new Nexus and new Android version.
  • Google will never sell many phones outside of the tech circle. Nobody I have ever met here north of the border had a nexus, heard of it, or cared about them. It's just too late. Unless Samsung and Apple fold, Nexus phones/Pixels will only be seen with devs or geeks in California. Keep in mind also, nobody besides us nerds watches launch events, so it doesn't matter what the presentation is like, no normies will ever see it.
  • This article had nothing to do with Nexus. This phone has nothing to do with Nexus. It's a different phone with different ideology, different strategy, different target audience, different marketing etc. The sooner so called tech fans understand that the better. Saying the performance of the Nexus will in any way, shape, form or factor influence the overall success of the Pixel line is pure folly.
    And normies probably won't see the launch event. But they will see Monday Night Football. And Empire. And the Big Banff Theory etc. Google will advertise and if the advertising us good, then the normies will be well aware of the Pixels.
    Again, this is not a Nexus, it's a Pixel. Adjust your expectations accordingly.
  • They've never really advertised phones, so this is new territory. Will they? Who knows?
  • They already are. I've seen the commercial during Monday Night Football and Big Bang reruns
  • You might want to temper your own expectations. Call 'em what they will, the Pixel phones are still nothing but phones "made" by Google. They're not redefining smartphone design, technology and functionality. They're just rebranding their product line.
  • If they stick with their 'different OEM for each release' approach, they'll never have a strong brand. Each Nexus phone has had its own identity. When the 6 came out, it had some nice, ground-breaking aspects - you could even buy them at a T-Mobile store. But they were in an oddball package that was too big for most people - and too expensive for the natural Nexus audience. it looked like a Motorola phone and had little in common with the Nexus 5. Had stereo speakers and an okay camera that didn't perform well in real life. What was the Nexus brand at that point - besides being the first to get the latest Android release. Plus, Android 5.0 was buggy as hell, and the Nexus 6 didn't really come into its own performance wise until Marshmallow. Then came the 5x/6p pair. Both probably the best Nexus phones to date. And despite being made by different OEM's, they had some design similarities - fingerprint reader on the back, dual front speakers. But the 5x's speakers weren't stereo, and felt like they were shoved in there to justify the 6p's big bezels, not the 5x's. And the 5x had too little memory to justify its membership in the leading edge Android family. At least both phones attempted to remedy the Nexus bad camera curse... The Pixels seem like a more unified family - and are closer than the 5x/6p to being 'the same phone/performance' geared toward different size/price segments. Good start - if uninspired designs (what's with the big, Apple-sized bezels with nothing on them?). Probably to pricey to catch on in a big way, with equally good choices for $400. But the real test is next year, when the 2017 models come out. Will they be produced by yet another OEM - with yet another whole new design language? Unless Google's planning on buying HTC and turning it into a real Pixel brand, they'd have been better off sticking with the existing Nexus approach. But I'll bet they were starting to have trouble getting tier 1 OEMs to build near-flagship devices that undercut their own flagships.
  • I completely agree with you here that Google needs to stick with one OEM for the Pixel... or at the very least completely control the design from end to end. Their designs need to be consistent from year to year... and not something completely different each year where it's hard for consumers recognize the phone. Just like Foxconn is the OEM for iPhones, there's no reason HTC can't keep making the Pixel phone. There's actually been rumors that HTC will make phones for Google for the next 3 years.
    http://www.news18.com/news/tech/htc-to-make-google-nexus-phones-for-the-...
  • Even if this is not Nexus. Yet it may have stuff to let down a phone, similar to Nexus Phones, this time I think it will be price. When you price similar to iPhone, people may buy iPhone. Like OnePlus 3 and Xiaomi, they could offer it at competitive price. Nexus 4 had throttling, Nexus 5 had inferior screen. Battery and one gen processor behind, moto Nexus was too big. Nexus 5s had 2gb ram, Nexus 6p was too expensive and cheap build. So all Nexus had limiting factors, even if pixel phones are perfect hardware software wise, price will be its limiting factor. Large audience can't buy them or nay prefer the likes of OnePlus 3 etc. So from womb it will be same as Nexus. Limiting factors.
  • Why is price a limiting factor to people buying we have the iPhone and Samsung phones and those are priced high and people buy them in the truckload.
  • This Nexus 6P sitting on my doesn't have one bit of Google or Android branding on the outside of the phone... the only thing it says is nexus and Huawei on the outside. In Addition, I've never seen one commercial for nexus, except on YouTube that I was actually looking for (which doesn't count). So if I gave my 6P to anyone around me most of them wouldn't have a clue what it was or who actually sells it. It's pretty obvious that Google wasn't marketing the nexus line to mainstream consumers. Now you take a phone and put, Google, one of the most widely known brand names on it and then advertise the hell out the Google Pixel phones. I'm betting that this time next year if I hand these same people a Google Pixel phone most of them people will know who makes the phone. So to say that Google will not sell many phones to the mainstream market just because nexus didn't sell well is being a bit naive in my opinion. Now will the hardware quality of this phone live up to it's price tag and will Google do a good enough job at advertizing this phone for it to sell well in the mainstream market, is a completely different story and yet to be seen.
  • true
  • Advertise, advertise, advertise. Only way.
  • For a Company that makes their money from Advertising, they sure don't like to advertise their own products.
  • If Google wants to make it a popular brand then they can with ease. They can spend as much as they want on marketing. I think they might this time around and I've been hoping for years they make their vision of android (the best, slickest, best performing version) a contender. Certain OEM's better look out because the most powerful IT company in the world is about to enter the market and they aren't playing around anymore. (Hopefully)
  • "If Google wants to make it a popular brand then they can with ease." There is nothing easy about building a brand from scratch. Especially when you are entering a crowded marketplace.
  • It's certainly easier for Google than for most given what they own and how it relates to marketing...
  • I know right? Many don't seem to grasp just how rich Google is. What theyre capable of it's basically Limitless if they want to throw the money at it which they can
  • If they call it "Google Pixel" and not just "Pixel" they aren't starting from scratch. They're starting with one of the most recognizable brand names on the planet.
  • Oh snap! Well put
  • I was about to say likewise haha
  • Ironically, the vast majority of the marketing they've never leveraged (the web) is free for them, more or less.
  • Which is power no one else has. .
  • Not if they are in the price range that has be previously leaked.
  • +1 This right here.
  • Yep at $650+ for a Pixel or $800+ for a Pixel XL these aren't going to be flying off the shelves.
  • ...unless they get all the carriers to sell them on contract so that the price is essentially hidden. Given enough advertising and promotion, people might buy a '$99' Pixel instead of a '$199' Samsung at Verizon or ATT.
  • That's gonna be a huge part of it. And that has its drawbacks from a quality standpoint. How will updates be handled when the carrier's get their hands on the pixels? I'm worried about that. I know unlocked will be just like the nexus line but I don't wanna see Google sell out to let carrier's delay updates in order to grow the brand. Can't wait to see what's in store though
  • Agree, if updates are controlled through the carriers I'm out. I will go midrange unlocked. Scratch that, I'm buying through the play store and going project Fi
  • I'd never buy on a carrier anyway. I'll be disappointed if it turns out that way. And I think it may.
  • But the regular, non-techie consumer doesn't care about the updates....
  • Ofcourse they don't. I'm talking about it from my nerdy mobile tech loving more casual Google/AOSP loving perspective
  • As long as Google sells them unlocked as well, having the carriers sell a version shouldn't hurt. And doesn't Apple still handle updates for iPhones sold by carriers? If so, couldn't Google do the same?
  • The only people crying about the prices are phone nerds who want the best specs for cheap, if Google can effectively market the phones and get them on the carriers in front of customers then people will buy them. The only people disappointed about the price are people who know different, that is a small fraction of a percent of the population.
  • LOL, neckbeards downvoting reality.
  • I agree with the comment because that's an expensive leap for a possible "unknown". Google is known of course, but I mean in the world of phones and consumers. People know Apple iPhones and they know Samsung to be the big, good dogs for phones. Paying $649 for something they are familiar with just might be a safer bet, money wise.
  • They'll be paying that price for a phone they've seen plastered all over TV, online and downtown. Itll take some time but it's so obvious the general public buy whats aggressively marketed to them most most of the time. They could have the entire civilized world seeing pixels and humming pixel commercial songs throughout every day
  • They'll be paying that price for a phone they've seen plastered all over TV, online and downtown. Itll take some time but it's so obvious the general public buy whats aggressively marketed to them most of the time. They could have the entire civilized world seeing pixels and humming pixel commercial songs throughout every day
  • I don't agree. People will pay for premium. If they believe the Google phone is a premium experience then the price won't matter. Nerds are complaining because they're used to Google giving great devices at low prices. That time is over and we have to deal with it. I'll gladly pay top dollar for a device that Google is positioning as their true competitor to the iPhone.
  • I totally agree with this; people will pay tons for premium. In fact, people will happily pay more if they believe it is worth paying for. iPhones are proof of that, as is every 'luxury' car manufacturer that rebadges their own cars and adds features - Lexus, Infiniti, Lincoln, etc. People know that a Lexus IS200 is actually a Toyota Corolla. But they don't care - they buy it anyway - because the premium is worth it. They key here is making sure that the phone is indeed premium, not an overpriced midrange phone. Google is proving that that is the field they want to play in with the re-brand. That's what this is all about - going toe-to-toe with Apple.
  • What I don't understand is that tech nerds and even the people writing these articles forget that the Nexus phones only became cheap in price later on. And that didn't last long before they went up in price the first phone was $529 I believe so this concept of nexus being a cheap phone is not truth
  • Don't forget brand recognition though, Apple and Samsung has with smartphones, Google doesn't. A Starter with that premium price will fail because if tech nerds won't buy because of its high price, who will? Last December when Nexus prices were even reduced, I told a friend of mine to buy, he never cared. Google should learn from HTC experience
  • This article is spot on, imo. When Microsoft launched the Surface devices, it was pushing for hardware that could run all the features which the new software had to offer. In other words, they were reference devices which encouraged OEMs to build their own, while also setting benchmarks in their own right. Apple hardware has always had exclusive rights on its software, which gives Apple a massive leverage over all other tech companies. Whereas on the Android front, OEMs have pretty much always been able to offer more features and functionality than Google's own hardware... from Samsung to Sony, and everyone in between.
    Bringing Daydream support is but one of many other features Google needs to bring to the table, if it wants mass adoption of the Pixel phones.
  • Certain Nexus generations pushed the hardware boundaries (N1, N6, 6P), and others (N4, N5) retrenched into the 'bargain hardware with timely software updates' category. Hard to tell where Google's going with the Pixels. So far the name's been attached to notebooks with the Surface Pro approach of "high end, expensive hardware to show what the platform's capable of". That seems to be where these phones are targeted too, and it's not a mass market either. So I doubt Google's really trying to compete with Samsung here.
  • No! These Pixel phones (who came up with such a stupid name anyway? Can I have what they're smoking?) like Nexus before them won't amount to a hill of beans (in this crazy world)!
  • Somebody doesn't know WTF is going on ^^^^. Remove head from ass sir
  • Thanks for the laugh! :)
  • And my point goes right over your head (like your bench warming anthem protesting QB and those like him. My Broncos knucklehead Brandon Marshall included!).... :(
  • I agree. Pixel. Wtf?? Sounds like a phone for pixies....
  • Maybe so...but saying it won't amount to anything I'd they throw alot of cash at marketing is just foolish
  • Please stick your head back in your ass STFU!
  • Needs to be launched on all major carriers with major advertising or else the sells wont be there....
  • Yeah we saw how that worked out with the Nexus line up and Carriers destroying timely updates.
  • You make a good point that's been forgotten about. Verizon destroyed the Galaxy Nexus with it's poor response to timely updates. If the Pixel gets picked up by the carriers, which will need to happen to cover the high asking price, it will do nothing to prevent fragmentation. Google will obviously sell it unlocked as well, but this seems like they're starting over with Android, when they're actually just keeping Android from being in the closed ecosystem that they ultimately want with this phone. Maybe they will handle the updates like Apple does, but Apple accomplishes a unified roll out because they require that the carriers get their $hlt together early on because Apple is dominant enough to push them around.
  • If rumors are true, the Pixel phones will have "flagship" pricing. With flagship price comes flagship expectations such as refined design and build quality, top camera quality and performance, water resistance, and carrier or direct store presence for support. Google may be able to complete with Samsung and Apple on most of those items eventually, but I don't expect them to with next week's phones.
  • Google advertised the Nexus 5X and it probably didn't help much. Any time I tell people I am using a Nexus 5X their eyes basically glaze over and this brand has been around for years. The Pixel phones will only be offered through Verizon apparently. Any phone not offered through all of the carriers is going to have a hard time selling in the US. Also, this phone is rumored to start at $650+, which is as much as an iPhone or a Samsung yet it isn't water resistant, doesn't have wireless charging, doesn't have expandable storage...etc. It also looks just like an iPhone or HTC phone from over a year ago so the design is dated. I don't see these phones doing any better than past Nexus phones and in fact, due to the cost, I believe they will not do as well as they are going to drive away a lot of the people who bought Nexus phones for their value. It will basically be like the Nexus 6 all over again.
  • Nailed it.. My thoughts exactly..
  • Valid concern if the rumors are true. But I strongly believe the leaked photo and specs are false. If Google wants to set a new trend they will not copy HTC Pro 10.
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCV0pHjtxes Sorry couldn't resist :D.
  • Can't argue with you... But the advertising for the 5X was pretty ******.
  • Nobody outside of the tech crowd bought the Nexus phones. Pixel phones are not aimed and the android enthusiasts there for everybody
  • Marketing is important, but not nearly enough. In most people's minds, Google is a search engine. Period. If Google wants to lure people away from Apple and Samsung, it better have an exciting new proprietary app or service that is tied exclusively to the use of Pixel phones. Making good hardware, slapping a flagship price on it and advertising it will do little to diminish either Apple's or Samsung's market share.
  • Exactly! If these phones come out with nothing more than "stock Android " and Googles name on the back, they will not sell. The phones better do something different or better than the others already on the market. Most people, outside of those of us on sites like this, don't care about updates. My wife gets annoyed when she looks down and sees one waiting on her phone. And many if them don't like stock, because they have gotten used to features that other OEMs have given them.
  • I'm willing to bet that Google Assistant is going to be highly emphasized in the marketing. Apple may have Siri, but she's not AI like Google Assistant is. Google IS a search engine and that's their forte for marketing phones. I'm imaging a campaign slogan that conveys "You've searched the web, now search the world" but like more sexy
  • Exactly... My feelings.. They need to something radically different to prove the hype and mainly the price tag.
  • Nexus may have had a slow adoption rate, but it was a loyal fan base, and it was slowly increasing with notoriety. I think it's a huge mistake to change branding now; it will only confuse the market for un-techy buyers. I was an HTC guy at the beginning of the smart phone age; I always loved the HTC phones. I jumped on the Nexus line when it first hit the market though, and never looked back. I've messed with Samsung phones on many occasions, and do not (for the life of me) understand why people like the add-on software. Of course, you could scrap that up to being use to the native Android feel, I suppose. The pitfalls were the lack of aggressive/thoughtful advertising, coupled with the lack of a carrier option for purchase. They made the 6P damn near impossible to buy at launch. And even if you were like me (who bought two through the manufacturer), you were stuck with interest charges. The carrier options are always more convenient (it was a major fail by Google). But I think they've also been holding back on purpose; they were being watched pretty heavily by the market when they purchased Motorola... I think the fear was if they were too successful competing with hardware (or if they made their own phones, rather than parcing out builds to the market with Nexus) that they would have pushed Samsung and HTC to drop Android software. It was far too early in Android's life for a split. I think now, the 'Android' name is far superior to Samsung branding, and thus, Google's finally ready to call their bluff... If Samsung left the Android brand, they would surely fail... they know it. They can mess with their software all they want, but to reset and compete with the Android market place would drastically hurt sales.
  • With that said, the PIXEL phones will FAIL horribly. From what I'm seeing, most 6P owners are not seeing the value in a change; the hardware and software are still running great on the 6P. Furthermore, the reduced screen size is a negative for most. Top that off with new branding (which is somewhat perceived as feminine), and you got yourself a major flop. I doubt it'll sale half as much as the 6P, if they release it in the same fashion (no carrier direct sales).
  • Nexus 6 here and I do not see the need to upgrade to even a 6p. Though I am a fan of the size of the Nexus 6. :)
    Nexus 6 will run Nougat, does what i need it to do, and right now on MM, it gets great battery life. I will pick up a 6p when the 6 dies and the 6p is cheap.
  • Take it from a person who upgraded the 6 to the 6P... No need to rush. I should have held on to the 6 like you. The only noticeable difference is the fingerprint scanner, which is nice, but barely adopted by any apps. I won't be upgrading (or downgrading, dependent on how you see it) to the Pixel XL. I preferred the size of the original 6; the 6P was already a reduction, and the Pixel is just too small IMO. We're getting to the point where these phones can easily last two year cycles, if not three without issue. I don't need a faster processor; mine is plenty fast.
  • The pixels aren't gonna be aimed at nexus users. Google could care less how many upgrade. Itll be aimed at the masses. You'll see that with big-time marketing soon
  • That's awfully presumptuous, given their lack of marketing push in the past. I mean, Google has hit the market with adds, but nothing drastic for any of their products.
  • How is pixel perceived as feminine as it an element that makes up a screen? Its not called pixie or is having an outline of a phone screen on a billboard somehow girly.
  • I'm guessing it's a subliminal connection with the prefix 'pix', and the common word association everyone keeps making with 'pixie'. You even made that connection in your argument. I'm not saying it makes a 'whole lot of sense'; I'm saying there's definitely a concluding opinion among many that the name is feminine. I've seen several comments from various people on every one (of the many) separate (Pixel related) articles on this website. It is, what it is, even if it doesn't make sense...
  • Most people don't have a clue what a nexus phone is and who makes the software for it. If Google wants to progress it has to control its own hardware and software and appeal to the none tech crowd and this is a first step
  • I agree with you to some extent... however, there's no reason that Google can't control it's hardware & software under the Nexus branding, which has already had some level of notoriety in the market. As mentioned in someone's comment above, many of us 'tech-followers' use the Nexus, and many of the non-tech people look to us for our opinions/suggested products. I have thrown out the Nexus branding to more people than I can count, and many of those suggestions have led to new purchases (and ultimately fans of the product). Nexus was growing, ever so slowly... but growing. And that says a lot, considering they made the latest phones damn near impossible to buy.
  • Change the name, raise the price, hope for the best. Seems like a losing strategy. What was wrong with the Nexus brand? Pixel? In three years, I have never once seen one of these chromebooks in the wild. I can see why Microsoft might want to re-brand their phone with the Surface name, but I can't understand why Google would want to do this with Pixel.
  • I LOVE the logic in this statement. As far as the part about what's wrong with the Nexus brand, I personally feel nothing. But it does seem like it's still never caught on. Generally when you mention the Nexus brand to an average android user they don't know what you're talking about, and it seems like Google WANTS to change that. Best of luck to them. I love me some stock android!
  • They're going to have a hard time if they try to take on Samsung via marketing. Samsung has:
    -Best cameras on the market
    -Water resistance
    -Wireless Charging Google will have:
    -Updates The three Samsung features I highlighted are only a few of the features the Pixel phones will most likely lack, and all three are very easy to market and very easy for the consumer to understand. Most consumers don't really care about updates. My mom had a software update notification in her notification tray of her GS5 for about two months before I visited and installed the update while she was away. As long as users' apps keep working, they don't really care about the software updates.
  • Wireless charging is overrated. In most European countries , someone rarely knows about wireless charging anyway. Also, audio quality will be in favour of pixels as well as the features it will bring in the table. I pretty much believe that the android skin and the capabilities of these devices will be one of a kind in the phone industry. Also I strongly believe that Google will be the best in optimising the software for her phones unlike samsung or lg who prefer variety over performance. Just my thoughts though
  • "Also, audio quality will be in favour of pixels as well as the features it will bring in the table." What makes you say that? None of the Nexus phones have been particularly good audio-wise, and there's no reason to believe the Pixels will change that. And again, what features will their skin have that will actually be desirable to the every day customer over what Samsung or LG feature?
  • "None of the Nexus phones have been particularly good audio-wise" Um... Are you sure you've used a Nexus 6 or 6P? Front facing speakers are great.
  • I too don't have a clue why people are so into wireless charging. You can't be on it and charge.. So what is the big deal?
  • To charge when I'm not on it?
  • Wireless charging is more than likely not a deal breaker for most people, water resistance is an amazing feature but still new, I think it could be argued that it probably wouldn't be a deal breaker for a lot of people either, cameras are going to be tough though. I don't disagree with your overall point though, Google is going to have an uphill battle. Also my parents hate updates, my dad gets pissed every time his phone gets updated and changed. lol
  • I agree that wireless charging isn't a critical feature for most people, but it is very easy to make a commercial about.
  • I agree with you regarding software updates 100%..my spouse has an iPhone and she never cared to update the device. I'm always the one who keeps an eye out. Same thing with my sister who has an android device but refrains to install updates (which are very rare! ).. the reason she gives me "why should I, when everything is working fine already!"... so yes common users don't care about updates..
  • Totally agree. Average Joe cares about cool stuff, not important ones..
  • And you have absolutely no clue what features the Pixels might have that Samsung doesn't that everyone will be clamoring for. Judging a phone you've never seen that hasn't even been announced yet as if you already know everything about it is so....well... Internet of you. So i guess you can carry on.
  • I'm doing the same thing everyone else is doing: inferring based on leaks and past features of the Nexus line. I use a Nexus 6P, and I'd be happy to be wrong about my comment above, for what that's worth.
  • It doesn't matter. That price is what the "average joe" is going to look at, not specs or update schedules. Then they are going to say "Well Joe, it looks like an iPhone so why not just get the iPhone? They are the same price."
  • As someone who registers personal phones on our company's mobile device management system the worst one I hear is when I ask what type of phone they have and they answer "I don't know, some kind of iPhone or something" when in fact it's usually an Android device of some sort.....yes, this happens. The other problem Google has to face which has almost doomed LG and HTC is that the carriers themselves push Samsung and IOS devices with the other brands just being sort of an "oh yeah, we carry these too".....way down at the bottom of the website or the back of the store. The Droid line at Verizon may be the one exception. People buy IOS and Samsung devices because it's either what they have always had or it's what all their friends or family have. Plain non-tech folks ask me what Android phone they should buy and I mostly recommend the Nexus just because of software updates that will keep them safe. The other hurdle Google has to get past is people are going to assume that since it is a phone "made" by Google that Google is going to track everything they do on it. These same people carry some other Android phone and don't have a clue that its pretty much the same across the board if they use Google's services as-is. That is the perception many non-tech types have.
  • This is why Google needs a major marketing campaign. If the consumer is blitzed with advertising they might just go in to Verizon and say, " hey , do you carry the Pixel" instead of being directed to Samsung or Apple. You said yourself Droid might be the exception. Guess what , the Droid line was marketed very well.
  • Yes, but it was Verizon that marketed the Droid line.....not Motorola. If Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and TMobile push sales of the Pixel phones it has a chance, but if they stick with the big sellers of Samsung and Apple then it's the same old story. Truthfully, with the news scaring everyone about exploding Samsungs (to them they are all scary even though it was the Note 7 only) and the iPhone stripping out the headphone jack.....this is absolutely the best time that Google could spend millions on marketing and strengthening their advertising through the carriers. If they make a hit with the Pixel, they could pave the way for future sales easily.
  • Yeah you are right about Verizon doing the marketing. I still think if Google hits television hard just maybe. Either way I'm purchasing, popular or not.
  • You'll purchase just about anything I hear. Cars, hookers, used toe nail clippings with a rare form of fungus. So it's no surprise!! :) You guys are right though. ADVERTISE!!! The pixel (I call it the pixie) won't stand a chance from word of mouth alone.
  • Everything but the cars. By the way we are talking high priced escorts, not the local drug induced hookers .
  • Idk man. The local drug induced ines are the easiest to skip out on. Btw, you know how to make a hormone? Don't pay her!
  • You know... you have a really good point in that last paragraph. I hear that "Google tracks every move you make" story all the time. The "Google" branding on the phone could possibly hurt it.
  • No
  • Nexus phones don't sell as well as they could because Nexus phones aren't sold by carriers. Period. End of story. If Google wants market share then they have to get the phones in front of the masses AND have a way to finance them.
  • Nexus 6 was sold by carriers and it was mostly a dud with sales.
  • They need carrier support and marketing.
  • The Nexus 6 was enormous.. That was that phones only flaw (arguably).
  • Exactly!!
  • Made by HTC. That's all I need to know. That company is over hyped trash.
  • M7 was a great phone with somewhat disappointing camera. But they haven't done anything else as good since.
  • Joe consumer will have no idea the phone is made by HTC.
  • Same goes for Google, Pixel what? I thought they made kids movies. Yeah that's how bright Joe consumer is.
  • Google is doing an exceptional job developing and improving android operating system, their focus is to research continuously and maturing the OS. They bring out the Nexus and now Pixel for the sake of showing the true nature of Android. They clearly do not show interest in becoming yet a mass production company like Apple or Samsung...Google offers the product through their website for whoever is interested... That question about "why would normal people care about Google phone" sounds like a ridiculous criticism. The reason why apple and Samsung are mostly making money is because most people have no choice rather to enter into a never ending carrier contract and get shoved in their nose "the latest Android or Apple product" to keep you paying a monthly allowance. surely that technique keeps people uneducated about more options out there. "Monkey see monkey do"
  • I think they have valid points. If Google wants to jump into the flagship market they have to compete with the big guys. Apple and Samsung are masters of advertising and they're consistent. Google is neither of these things so they better have something good up their sleeves to justify the price. Posted via the Android Central App
  • But no one is forcing a contract in their nose, the reason they get shafted is because they're dumb or lazy or both. Why don't they do some research and shop around?
  • It's not going to happen. Only us tech nerds will care to mess with the Pixel. Maybe just maybe the Note 7 fiasco will help Google's cause but just maybe. I doubt it
  • Spot on.
    BTW, there are no priorities outside of the Android/gadget nerd bubble...
  • hardware wise, it'll be mostly run of the mill .. I'm more curious to see if Google has incorporated any "exclusive" software tweaks that are limited to these devices. I think pricing and software will be key to this product's success.
  • is this technically "the first real google phone"? 6 months ago the first real google phone was going to be made in house. id say this is the first nexus phone called the pixel. im expecting much more for the first "real" google phone.
  • I don't understand this either. HTC is making the phone. I have read that in the past Nexus devices were done as if the manufacturer was a partner in the project rather than simply being a company like Foxcon is to Apple or whatever. But it sure seems like pretty much the same thing to me but with a different name. Was the Nexus S referred to as the Samsung Nexus S? Or was the Nexus One referred to as the HTC Nexus One? I suppose maybe they were but I really can't remember. Those other companies certainly didn't market or advertise that they were selling Nexus phones. To me they've always been Google Nexus phones and this year it seems like the exact same thing but instead of using the Nexus brand they are going with Pixel. The Pixel phones look more like HTC phones than past Nexus phones looked like any other manufacturer's phones.(except the Nexus 6) If we weren't specifically being told these are "Made by Google" I would think HTC had a bigger part in their design than other Nexus phones have in the past other than maybe the Nexus 6 which wasn't really supposed to be a Nexus phone..
  • After the Galaxy Nexus, Google's name didn't appear on any of the Nexus products. There was actually no way for a person just looking at the device to know that there was any affiliation with Google at all. Also, in countries outside of the U.S., the companies themselves -- meaning Asus, LG, Huawei, etc, did in fact market, advertise and sell the Nexus devices themselves without any clear affiliation with Google. Although they seemed to U.S. purchasers like Google products, they never actually were.
    From the change here, these Pixel phones will have a relationship with HTC in the same way that Apple's phones have a relationship with Foxconn or Microsoft's Surface devices have a relationship with Asus (Asus is the company that builds and actually designed the Surface products -- they even have a version they sell that's essentially identical.). This means the Pixel phones will finally be actual Google products with no affiliation with the device builder. This is the common practice in the phone industry. Most computers and phones you buy aren't actually built by the company whose name is on the product. There are only a few companies that own factories for producing phones, laptops and the like. All of the other companies design their products and then outsource the production to those companies. This is completely normal.
  • Pixel? Pard me but what a retard name for a phone. Google Pixel? lol Posted via the Android Central App
  • I take it you are not on board.
  • An insightful point, eloquently made.
  • It's not as bad as Lumia, but close.
  • I swear Google goes into everything with a 'Who cares if the product makes it' then is pleasantly surprised if it becomes a success. I guess that's what sitting on a pile of Alphabet money does for you.
  • Bingo
  • What bothers me most with samsung, sony, lg and so on is not the skinned os and not their native apps but all the THIRD party apps preinstalled/not removeable. Heck, buying a flagship device for say 800$ you should at least be able to pay a small fee, maybe 30 to 40$ to unlock the preloaded sh*t.
  • They're busy kissing up to the carriers. I'm sure Samsung, Sony, LG and everyone else know how carrier-ware is. A bunch of services that can be used for 3.99 - 5.99 per month. I bet the carriers don't care how much performance is impacted. All they care is that users see it when they start up their phones.
  • Yeah I could understand when they were subsidizing the phones, but now that you're paying full price for it albeit with payments. There is no excuse for having any crapware on the phone.
  • Galaxy? No, everyone I know, literally, calls them Droids. Yet they all have Galaxies.
  • Google is going to start selling a premium brand at a time when people will be compelled to ask "How is this better than the Galaxy S7 I can get refurbished for far less money?" Especially when you consider that the S7 has more features and (all exploding kitten jokes aside) will probably have better build quality. It's a losing proposition.
  • What do you think regular consumers use that will be missing from the Pixel phones?
  • For me, it's almost always "Oh, you have a Droid?"
    ~facepalm~
  • Google and HTC should merge (Google should buy it), and get it over with. It's the first android combination of hardware and software and now it's taken to the logical conclusion. Good luck!
  • Didn't they try that with Motorola? Why they want to buy another ailing phone manufacturer?
  • Today at work a co-worker saw me using my Nexus 6P and asked me if it was an iPhone and I said no. He then replied that my phone was going to explode. There's only two phones regular consumers know - the iPhone and the Galaxy. If you're not using one you're using the other. Now with the Note 7 debacle these consumers think all phones that are not the iPhone will explode. Thanks Samsung.
  • Lol, tell him to drill a hole in his iPhone.
  • When I was on a bus ride home, some guy also saw me using my Nexus 6P and asked "is that the new iPhone?" Lol.
  • Google needs its own interest-free financing option and they need to partner with more carriers if they want the phone to sell beyond the Android enthusiast audience.
  • In the back of my head, I keep wondering if Google will buy HTC to be turned into a hardware division for their future phones, tablets, laptops and VR devices. There's not been any hints of this per se, but damned if it doesn't make a lot of sense in my head. Not least of which is the fact that they would probably pretty cheap to buy at this point, sadly.
  • Doubt it considering they sold Moto
  • I'm wondering if that glass 1/2 panel is hiding a touch pad. I heard a rumor a while back that it might be and ready for a dual boot setup.. That would certainly be a trip.. Besides some major repeated marketing they need to be able to sell these on all carriers untouched with any carrier bloat or allow it to be uninstalled. People won't switch carriers to get one and when they do sell them have the carriers promote them.. Like it's been said if it ain't a iPhone or Galaxy you can bet the carriers aren't doing them any favors, same for Best Buy, Costco or any other brick and mortar store.
  • I believe the 1/3 rear glass panel is a TouchPad, and will be pretty cool. My problem is this, if you put your phone in a case, as most do, that would seem to remove it's capability, and a major selling point.
  • Google would have to stop its fairly scatterbrained strategies and tendency to abandon half baked product after half baked product. They also will have to massively spend on brand building. I am not sure that they are up to the task.
  • Just hope the leaked prices are wrong. There is no need for phones to be priced at the current premium prices lead by Apple and Samsung. Huawei have shown with the P9 that it is possible to make great phones with great build quality at a fair price.
  • Where are these price rumours? I'll be amazed if Google try and sell a 6 month of package (externally/camera) for top dollar. And also very disappointed.
  • pcworld.com has some leaked images and speak of phones in the +600$ range. Hope they are not true.
  • The price rumors are on pretty much any android or mobile centric site you choose to go to. Android authority, GSM arena, phone arena, pocketnow, cnet, engadget, etc.
  • The other thing they need is some kind of local help with the hardware. That's why many of my friends use Apple. They can go to a store and get immediate help. With Android, you are SOL when anything goes wrong.
  • Alex, you guys have been killing it with the Pixel coverage! I know I can't wait until the 4th and the articles have been great. Keep up the awesome work!
  • thanks!
  • I have to also say it... I won't buy a phone without an SD slot. I know Google doesn't care. They will not offer 256gb built in so this is another Google phone I will avoid. I think there are many like me, whether Google can admit that or not.
  • Not to be rude but you are the exception most people don't need over 200gb of storage
  • I hear you. I think there are enough of us that it's making a dent. Google and Samsung's misguided war against SD was proven absolutely wrong though.
  • I am thinking they want to emulate Apples approach to mobile. They are going to offer premium phones through the cellular carriers and will also offer timely OS updates through the major cellular carriers, just like Apple. There were already rumours suggesting Pixel phones through Verizon. They will be able to push more phones selling them through carriers and try to establish a brand just like a "Galaxy phone." Maybe I will be wrong but I guess we will see soon enough.
  • If Google pulls it off like Apple, and doesn't allow the carriers to trash their phones, and fill them with garbage ware, good to go. If,on the other hand, they're like all other Android phones sold through the carriers and filled to the brim with garbage and bloat ware, then there isn't really anything different or special going on with them, in comparison to all the other carrier stocked android phones. Even less, as a matter of fact, in comparison to other OEM'S skins containing features that people have come to take for granted, in an Android phone.
  • Everyone I know, who is not a Tech geek, cares about 4 things, in this order: Camera, Price, battery life, screen. If Google puts a GREAT CAMERA, at a great price, with great battery life, then the advertising could work. If they miss on any of those 3, it'll still just be people like us talking about this phone. Period
  • The Google Pixel needs to take aim at Apple the way HTC and Samsung did.
  • I hate that they are going to metal and glass like galaxy. One of the reasons I have a nexus 5x is the plastic case and light weight. Come on everyone puts a case on there phone right! So it is ridicoulous to fawn over the design. Unless someone makes a durable phone out of carbon fibre and glass that does not break cases will rule the land. Hopefully Windows will have an option to Android soon that will text from Pc and I can combine my office 365 acccount with a Windows phone anyways... Till than Nexus 5x is priced right, great size and weight and has a great case selection to show it off
  • I read people here going "if carriers embrace them...", "if they advertise a lot..." bla bla bla. Here's the deal most people here fail to understand: smartphone sales are NOT based on software or even the value of a brand outside the phone world.
    Google has a very valuable brand? Yes, it does.
    Does that mean they have an easy way into the phone world? Absolutely not. Being an IT giant grants them nothing AT ALL. Microsoft is a tech giant with a brand everyone knows too. What did that do for them on mobile? Nothing. WP is dead. Google is an IT giant with a brand built around a search engine. It has zero tradition in phones, zero understanding of them but above all, they have no relationship with consumers whatsoever. On mobile you have 3 types of brands: Fad brands - these are brands which sell based on their current popularity built over the years. Samsung but specially Apple are those kinds of brand. An iPhone is sold "because it's an iPhone". Tradition brands - these are brands that are or were very popular for many years and because of that they built a very close relationship with consumers. These brands may not be the number one yet, however, they have strong cache with consumers, enough to make them take a serious look at their phones.
    Nokia is the perfect example of this.
    Blackberry is another of those brands: they don't sell as they used to, but their brand is still very present in the minds of people.
    Motorola was also an example of this (which is why Lenovo was completely idiotic in ditching the brand).
    Sony is also in this category although they're burning through the good will of old pretty fast. But they have a brand strong enough in the hardware department to create that closeness with consumers.
    Same goes for LG. Oblivion brands - these are all the other brands. Huawei, Xiaomi, Wiko, Lenovo, Alcatel, HTC, Meizu, Honor, Microsoft....and soon, Google. Oblivion brands are those who have zero relationships with consumers, no tradition in the phone market and no existing goodwill or trust created. Google's Pixel will just fall into this pit. Consumers have NO relationship with Google. Google itself is a very very closed company with very shady business practices and even darker workings. Most people think of Google as a search engine. Nothing else. They don't have contact with Google. And Google never made any efforts in reaching out to their consumers.
    Just look at the way Google uses social media when compared to other brands. You seldom see any interaction between Google and its customers. This doesn't work with consumers. It works for no company...except Apple. Without brand trust on mobile, without a consumer centred focus, without tradition in hardware, Google will simply fall unto the pit of oblivion brands. Even if mainstream media reports on the phones launch, people will just not pay attention to them and they'll be forgotten pretty quickly. It doesn't matter what software it brings, and unless it flies or has a swiss army knife in it, they will offer consumers nothing the likes of the S7 don't already do and in a better way. Android nerds and stock Android enthusiasts will probably buy these, like they bought the Nexus phones.
    The rest will continue to buy the brands they already have a trust relationship with. (and let's not even mention consumer support...which when it comes to Google, is just virtually non-existent)
  • Uphill battle; 1. High level of water resistance
    2. Wireless charging
    3. Micro SD expansion
    4. The best screen's going
    5. Good to great battery life
    6. A mobile payment system that pretty much "just works", practically everywhere.
    7. A high degree of screen efficiency in screen to body ratio
    8. Many other features of the OEM skins that people find useful on a daily basis, and take for granted, until they are conspicuously absent.
    9. Always presented with top level internals.
    10. And , a giant one, the best cameras. Yes, that is damn sure an Uphill battle. I'm very interested to see what Google brings on oct.4th.
  • Sadly, I'll be shocked if they bring back SD. I hope I am wrong. For me, I will never buy another phone without it, unless 256gb baseline storage becomes the norm.
  • They're going to need some serious marketing in order to even get customers to pay attention. That's just the way this market goes.
  • Google can but unfortunately will not yet. One thing I do not like is the lack of consistency from year to year. A different manufacturer makes the device every year so you are never getting a true flagship device. You are getting a smooth running device at an optimized version of Android which is a plus, however many future Android phones may run just as smoothly.
  • Great piece. I'm really hoping that Google nails it with the Pixel. Obviously a tech giant like Google has the potential, but they need to pull out all the stops, especially in the design department. There really is nothing built as well as an iPhone or a Galaxy. I have had an Android phone since the Droid Eris and have owned a total of 12 smart phones. I'm legitimately thinking about switching to iPhone because Google refuses to build a phone with the same attention to detail as Apple. I'm hoping that they announce something on 10/4 to keep me as a customer.
  • It's based off the A10 which is a well made phone. Why is everyone saying this might not be a premium phone design wise or build wise. Comes down to if you want almost all glass or aluminum.
  • I know it's been said already but Google is starting to look more and more like Microsoft with their latest products. Allo is meh and so is the Pixel phone.
  • I'll buy one next year when they're on sale. I'm sure it'll be a good phone to ROM. I have a 6, 5x and a 6p. Its fun switching weekly. They're all great phones, just different strengths. Looking fwd to the Pixel, I'll call it Pixus.
  • My 6P is fine. I'll pass...
  • My last Samsung's phone was the great CAPTIVATE. If the rumors holds true, I might break cover and buy the S7 edge.
  • They do not make their phones.... they should have kept Motorola... They lost their shot..
  • On October 4th every Google search result should say: "Must purchase a Pixel before proceeding. Buy now (yes) (no)"
  • Hahahahhaha,
  • Google doesn't have an established brand in the hardware business in the eyes of the mainstream consumer; therefore it cannot rely on reputation. If they're in it for the long run they have to pour $$$ on the Pixel and market the hell out of it. You don't need some kind of world-first innovation. Average buyer walks out with a case on their phone with what's essentially just an appliance to them. Just need a screen, good battery, apps, and a camera. Rest is up to marketing and money.
  • yeah they should have kept Motorola. Now Levono Moto is the king of cheese
  • First of all that name is horrendous I cannot picture myself telling my friends 'oh I have a pixel'. Secondly why on earth would anyone buy a Pixel over an iPhone who's been on the business since what? 2007? Or Samsung for that matter who have a very well stablished a prestige name such as Galaxy. Google had a much better chance just sticking with the Nexus brand and maybe using their money wisely on advertisement. I totally agree on the last paragraph of this article: If Google is to prove itself in the world of hardware, it needs something of similar impact, not just another pretty nice Android phone with decent Google software and services.
  • Palm Pre failed because of advertising,but it had great potential. Google has the money to advertise for a long time, which is what it will take, no matter how good the product. The advertising should rarely be abstract, but focus on their software quality, and hardware fabricated to form with function. If Google focuses on a phone guaranteed to stay updated for at least 18 months (their words from the past) with polished examples of their constant software innovation and commitment to minimizing software security threats, they will appeal to a significant consumer base.
  • Palm Pre also failed on poor built quality. It was plasticky and felt cheap compared to IPhone's at the time. They should of had HTC make their phone with a nice solid chasis.
  • Along with agreeing with just about every comment...
    unless Google have put some really special Google sauce or pixi dust into the mix, there gonna fail...
    I might pick up a pixel bargain next year... or wait to see what sort of an influence Rick Osterloh brings to the mix..
  • Do you have a galaxy phone ? No, I have a Nexus 6P.........
  • They need commitment. Whatever their strategy with the Pixel phones is, they need to see it through and not change course again in 2 years.. It's not a 100% rule, but it seems to take about 3 years for something to get real traction. The iPhone really took off with the 3GS, and Samsung hit the big time with the GS3. Microsoft took until the 3rd Surface to really get going. Heavy marketing is also needed, clearly. These first Pixel phones are unlikely to be a smash hit. But if they build on it, and improve with the Pixel 2 or whatever, people will see it and think "Oh a new Pixel phone, I remember that". By year 3, people will be familiar enough with it to actually take an interest in it, and they might actually sell some. If Google gets bored after 2 years, as they tend to do, nobody is going to take whatever comes next seriously, and they have to start all over again.
  • Great point
  • I think people do care about software, many just don't know it yet. Software interface is becoming ubiquitous in our every day lives. A product that works well for the whole spectrum of users (consumers and businesses) has great value.
  • "do you have an android phone?" "No, I have a galaxy" (*Screams internally*) Posted via the Android Central App
  • I don't understand , yet - what Googles motivation is . They do Nexus , they could rebrand the Nexus line as Google Pixel . They had a phone mfg at one time and didn't move on releasing a Google branded phone then or even pull Nexus in house or call what ever Moto was coming out a Google Nexus Moto Droid . If the phone release is just features that users want , LG should have cleaned up in sales - same chipsets great screens and more features (like my S5) . We know from our tenureship here that no matter how 'great' a LG phone is ..there will be a flaw/bug and it won't be addressed (G2 , boot loop issues, ect) and then state 'Our NEW phone is so much better ..' just like SAMMY used to (slow / no updates GPS) ect . .. I am NOT going to be an early adopter of the V20..but waiting and hopeful for the solid, daily use, reviews and report to come down the pike in a few monthes . Nexus was one of the first to feature Wireless charging , and lost it in the last cycle , ..seems like HTC neutered there features to match ..its a phone screen chipset and integrated battery so you will want to buy a new phone sooner. They brought back the SD slot because SAMMY did too - and agree SAMMY looks feature rich comparted to HTC and last years NEXUS . Where is the IR blaster ? Where is the FM radio ? Forward Facing speakers? And YES Qi / wireless charging . I have to use this phone everyday ..the charge ports get SLOPPY and become almost useless . Wireless charging gives me an alternative (without buying a new phone) and it delays the problem ! I wanted a 6P bad but with no sD and no wireless charging there is no reason to 'upgrade'..would have been a 'downgrade' with a newer chip and a 10 percent bigger screen Google does not score on every product, Google TV NEST ect ..but have seen family and friends with Nooks and Kindles and pay per view through Amazon ..and I would never buy that stuff .. Also think this release is overdue , why ? They were discounting heavily on Nexus a few weeks ago , but instead of an announcement of product --we got an announcement of when the announcement would be . So rant over but just like HTC sales continue to slide without a compelling product or feature , I assume this Pixel release to be more of the same with the ability to handle the VR platform they are trying to standardize or at least the bigger one will . Kenny