What Google needs to do for the Pixel 3 to succeed
If you’re not aware, the Pixel 3 is on its way. The smartphone hasn’t been announced yet, but recent rumors and speculation indicate that the device will make its debut in early fall, giving us Google’s unadulterated version of what a smartphone should be.
For many Android enthusiasts, the Pixel 3 will be the must-have device of the fall, simply because it will have Google’s name attached to it. But Google has a lot of work do to if it wants the Pixel 3 to be a mainstream success.
When the original Pixel came out, no one really knew what to expect. Many thought it was simply Google’s replacement for the Nexus program, but we quickly learned that Google’s ambition wad much higher. The Pixel line was Google’s statement to the world that it no longer wanted to live in the shadows of its Android partners. The first device wasn’t a huge success, but it showed that Google could deliver a device which was as good or better than most other smartphones.
Once the Pixel 2 rolled out, expectations were pretty high. Google needed to deliver a smartphone that was better than the original Pixel, but they also needed to branch out and win over the general public. The key difference between the Pixel and the Pixel 2 was that Google placed a much larger order, allowing Verizon stores across the US to have stock of the device and promote it to everyone who walked in the doors. After a few months, it wasn’t uncommon to see people walking down the street with the Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL in their hand. The phone still isn’t as popular as Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones or anything that Apple sells, but the general public seems to be aware Google is now a player in the space.
With the Pixel 3 right around the corner, Google has the opportunity to flip the tables and go head-to-head with its Android partners and Apple. Rumors still show that Google will be selling the phone exclusively through Verizon in the US and a few dozen other service providers and retailers in other countries. This year, Google needs to works a lot harder to secure more distribution agreements for the Pixel 3. While many US customers still buy their smartphones from their service provider, that’s not the case in Europe and Asia.
Spec junkies will argue that the Pixel 3 won’t really be any better than any of its competitors since it’ll have the same Snapdragon 845 SoC and only 6GB of RAM, but I think we can all agree that the Pixel 2 was one of the best devices of 2017 without having better specs. When it comes down to it, the Pixel line is really about the perfect marriage of hardware and software, something Apple has been preaching for a long, long time.
We’ve already gotten a sneak peek at the Pixel 3’s software experience thanks to the Beta builds on Android P on the Pixel 2. The new gesture-based navigation is likely the biggest change in stores for us, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Google has a few more UI tweaks or other new features in store with us.
But the main thing Google needs to focus on with the Pixel 3 is global marketing campaign. Those who live in the US know quite well that Google put a lot of money behind the Pixel 2, promoting it on TV, billboards, the web and even doing special weekend promotions at Verizon stores across the country. With the Pixel 3, they need to replicate that marketing effort in more countries around the globe so that the consumers who aren’t obsessed about the latest and greatest smartphone will know that Google has a device that’s just as good or better than what Samsung, Huawei and others have to offer.
It’ll be years before sales of Google’s Pixel phones would be able to match those of Apple’s iPhone or Samsung’s Galaxy devices, but the Pixel 3 could easily be among the top 5 best-selling smartphones of 2018 if Google plays its cards right.
Do you think Google will put in money and the effort to make the Pixel 3 one of the most popular smartphones of the year? Share your thoughts in the comments.