The Pixel 6 success – strangely – does not depend just on its excellence

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The recent Google Pixel 6 leaks show a radically redesigned phone marking a new direction, a reboot for Google’s phone division, which was left lifeless without any real flagship launched in 2020.

Proof of this was the record low sales expectations for the new Pixel series. Even Google itself did not expect to produce more than 3 million of its 2020 edition Pixels and was heading to produce only 800,000 Pixel 5 phones by 2020. This is only a fraction of what the company sold in the previous year: In 2019, IDC estimates that Google sold 7.2 million Pixel phones, a sharp difference. Yes, we’re really talking about rising from the dead here.

So here’s the Pixel 6 story so far: We’ve leaked design photos showing two phones, a compact version, probably the Pixel 6, and then a larger-sized phone that might end up being called the Pixel 6 XL or Pixel 6 Pro. Both have identical designs, with the cameras being the focal point housed in this chic protruding strip of glass, reminding us of a Daft Punk helmet.

Is it all about the new Google-made chip?

However, it’s not just about looks. Google has been working for years on a custom ARM chip, and the Pixel 6 family is the first product expected to finally have it. Google’s head honcho Sundar Pichai has grounded us to this very moment for the last few years Google conference calling says we should expect “Significant Product Updates and Announcements”.

At the heart of them is this new chip, currently known by its codename “Whitechapel”. And of course, while hope is that it will be a water-cutting moment similar to Apple’s M1 launch, Android Police have examined the rumored specifications and expect more of an upper mid-range chip rather than a Snapdragon 888 killer. Whatever it is, it must be developed by Google itself to provide a number of benefits, even though it is not the most efficient chip on the market.
With or without the fastest chip on the planet, Google Pixel 6 is definitely one “significant” launch for the company. The radical new design of the phone coincides with what is likely to be a brand new look for Android 12, coincides with a new processor, coincides with a new camera sensor for the first time in a few years. All the stars agree. Fingers crossed it will be a good phone.

But the skeptic in me has to point out that Google needs little more than a good phone to make this work. It needs a phone that people can actually buy. And it has not been quite its strength … ever.

Pixel phones biggest weakness

Ever since the beginning of the lineup and right up until the fourth generation, Pixel phones were sold exclusively on Verizon Wireless, meaning a large majority of customers in the United States could not buy one even if they wanted to. The exclusivity finally ended Pixel 4 family, but unfortunately it also happened to be one of the worst launches for Google, as the phones had less battery life and a number of experimental technologies like gesture control that barely worked and had little practical benefit.

Pixel phones are also notoriously difficult to buy internationally: availability is limited to only a handful of countries, while Apple iPhones and Samsung Galaxy phones are found pretty much everywhere in the world.
We really hope that Google is not only laser-focused on making the Pixel 6 an insanely good phone, but also that it actually plans production and expands the availability so that people can actually buy it.

Pixel 6 is a watershed moment for Google and the entire industry

This is truly a watershed moment: LG has just finished the smartphone game, and the traditional phone manufacturers, the brands that you may know as Motorola, Sony, Nokia and the rest, are slowly but surely losing relevance. The expansion of Chinese phone manufacturers, on the other hand, has been discouraged with Huawei ending up on the US device list, and others are not quite filling the gap yet.
2021 is Google’s chance to make it big, and we’re really curious to see if the company is really ready to take this chance.

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