Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but Google is in the process of acquiring a hardware supply chain with a boatload of patents, and is likely to release a phone that promotes its assistant technology.
Love it or hate it, there is no denying the hype machine that Apple can tap into, and leaked shots of the Pixel 2 apparently show that it will not be too different from the looks of its predecessor — and that is an issue in a world where the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S8 line of devices are already available, and make the Pixel look dated.
In reviewing the Google Pixel XL last year, I found the device to be technically the best Android device on the market at the time, but to take advantage of the Google Assistant — the Pixel’s supposed selling point — users needed to be comfortable with handing over a ton of personal data to Google.
A year on, and the Google Assistant has found its way onto other Android devices and even iOS, and with the likes of Samsung and Sony doing much better in pushing out Android updates, another of the Pixel’s selling points is blunted.
Despite a concerted marketing push, Pixels are still as rare as hen’s teeth in the real world, and Google’s response is to do more of the same.
If trying to sell a pure Google phone didn’t set the world alight in 2016, replaying the same script is not going to change the outcome — especially when the world has moved on.
However, any thought of Google cutting its losses and getting out of the hardware game should be set aside following the purchase of parts of HTC.
Much like Google’s previous attempt at taking over and integrating a hardware player, the end game of this deal is likely to be patents.
Upon selling Motorola Mobility to Lenovo in 2014, then-CEO Larry Page wrote: “The smartphone market is super competitive, and to thrive it helps to be all-in when it comes to making mobile devices.”
Are the Google and ex-HTC units of 2017 going to be any more committed than Motorola in 2013?
It’s hard to see anything else but a little bit of history repeating itself.
Previously on Monday Morning Opener: