Today at Google’s first-ever major fall event, the company unveiled a slew of new products including a new smartphone dubbed the Pixel, a new wireless router system, and a new Echo-like speaker called “Google Home.” The event didn’t come anywhere close to the polish of an Apple event. Nonetheless, it was clear that Google is finally ready to admit that Apple was right all along.
If you pay close attention to everything Google announced, you’ll realize that a huge shift has happened. The Android maker no longer believes in being open. Instead, the company is now keeping its best technology for products it builds for itself. Products sold under its new “Made by Google” slogan. Products that no longer cost $400, but instead are $650 and up. Doesn’t that sound like Apple?
Take the Pixel XL smartphone, which has a 5.5-inch display like the iPhone 7 Plus. The price? It’s $769 for 32GB and $869 for 128GB. If those prices and specs sound somewhat familiar, it’s because they’re the same price points as a 32GB and 128GB iPhone 7 Plus, respectively.
Then, of course, there’s the unmistakable design of the phone, which many are saying “looks like an iPhone.” It certainly carries a lot of the resemblance of an iPhone, although it’s not as refined. (That glass back just looks out of place.) I’ll wait until I can hold one in my hand before I give my full opinion.
Why is Google doing this? Why are they shifting the narrative from being an open company that wants all phones to have the same features to one where its phone has exclusive features? The answer is simple: Control equals money.
By keeping some of the features to themselves, it allows Google to sell a phone at nearly two times the price of other popular Android phones on the market.
Want that Pixel Launcher? Pay Google. Want the highest-rated camera in an Android smartphone? Pay Google. Want the best DayDream VR experience? Yep, pay Google.
The similarities boil down to even the default wallpaper
These are all products and services meant to give Google the edge when customers decide which Android phone they want to buy. It’s hoping that when a buyer compares something like a Samsung Galaxy S7 to its new Pixel phone, they’ll choose the latter because of its hardware and software features. Doesn’t that sound familiar?
Doesn’t that sound familiar? Doesn’t that sound like, wait for it, Apple?
I don’t blame Google for going this route. I think it’s a good move. I remain skeptical, however, that it’ll work.
Sure the Pixel sort of looks like an iPhone, but it’s still running Android, an OS that literally thousands of other handsets run. It’s not nearly as exclusive as iOS is to iPhone and that makes me wonder how many people are really going to give up buying something as attractive as a curved Galaxy S7 or as cheap as a One Plus 3 for an iPhone-priced Android phone.
That being said, welcome to the new era of Google.