Updated: Oct 6
I wanna start by saying this: If Google is unwilling to keep core features of it's software off the products of it's competitors, then the Pixel line is destined fail! Phones and Books alike. We all saw the mess the Pixel Slate turned out to be. The 2019 Apple Event took place yesterday and let me ALSO just say, that I never wanted an iPhone more. Now, I have no intentions on joining their ecosystem since I'm sitting pretty comfortably in Google's. But, the iPhone 11 Pro put me pretty damn close to the edge. And that got me to thinking about Google hardware and the Pixel 4. See, as a hardcore fan of Google and Android, the Pixel line has done little to captivate me. Currently I'm rocking the OnePlus 7 Pro. And why can I do this? Well, since all the things the Pixel does can, by and large be done on any other phone with the Android OS. It makes no sense for me to settle for a less than stellar looking, designed, and performing phone. And this is the problem that Google will face, again, with it's Pixel 4. Because though I am excited for what has been "leaked" so far, Or at least, excited to see what it all translates to. I firmly believe that without some serious changes to how Google approaches design, sales, and promotion; the company will could be making it's last attempt at a smartphone made by google.
What Apple did today was nothing short of impressive. 4.99 for Apple Tv + subscriptions, free for a year with the purchase of one of their new devices. 4.99 Apple Arcade, launching with 100 exclusives. New iWatch, iPad, and iPhones. Then you have, for the first time in their span, the "Pro Model". Which as they made a point to keep saying, they've never called a phone "Pro" before, so it really makes it stand out. And what it's offering are things you cannot get on other phones in the market. And that's what makes them so competitive. Additionally their phones and tablets just look and feel great all while being absolutely functional.
So what will the Google do to compete? Specifically what will the Pixel 4 do to "WOW" us. Because so far it's looking promising, but not quite impressive. The design is average at best, however, it's hard to truly judge until we get it in our hands. And hand feel is definitely a component of design. By and large it looks like the iPhone 11, except for one key difference. This year, Google decided against a notch, against a punchout, and went full on, what I'm calling, visor. And if the leaks are true, it really doesn't look all THAT bad...
And if the the specs of what behind the bezel is for real, then I say bring it on Cyclops because I'm ready for all those sweet, sweet optics. Face Unlock, Soli Radar, and facial recognition tech. You couldn't really ask for more. Maybe a wide angle lens, but who really needs such a huge group selfie?
As for the cameras on the rear, they boast a bevy of new options. For example, one speculation is that the Pixel 4 will have the ability to perform astrophotography with it's cameras and machine learning. This is essentially a camera mode capable of capturing stars at night or astrological constellations in a similar to what the Huawei P30 pro did; where the phone uses that machine learning to recognize and optimize the details within an image. Thus spitting out the "perfect capture". And hey it sounds neat on paper and Huawei even turned out some great moon photos, however, how often are people gonna be taking pictures of the stars? In fact the only other time outside of people's reviews of the phone that I heard of "Moon Shot" was when it was rife with controversy.
The other feature I'm a bit more excited about is the "Motion Feature", where it'll be able to capture really fast moving objects and people with crystal clarity. Similar to how you see in magazines. Now if the Pixel 4 can deliver on something like this it can really be a game changer. Especially for people with kids who play sports. That ability to capture your daughter or son right when the hit that ball, cross that finish line, or land that finishing blow can lead to some major appeal to people still on the fence about this device.
And really that, just what Google and the Pixel 4 needs. Something groundbreaking. The Soli Radar chip has a lot of great potential behind it ganting the ability to perform hands-free gestures to the phones. Waving to move forward or go back with music, books, or websites. Which again, sounds great, but how does it all translate to real world use? How will developers utilize these new found capabilities? Theses are some serious queries considering that the leaks keep coming. Snapdragon 855, 3040 x 1440 resolution, and most recently 90hz refresh rate. Again these sound great...but show me.
We're living in an age where people are replacing their smartphones less and less frequently. So you have to give people that something that they didn't know they needed. And incentivise them to drink your kool-aid. When Samsung launched the Galaxy Note 10+ they did so with insane trade-in offers to get people to get rid of the phone they had to get the phone Samsung wanted them to have. If you remember some of the crazy deals Samsung has offered in the past, you know how aggressive they can be with their discounts. And the deals that Apple is offering is just as mind melting. If Google really wants to kill it, while appealing to the gaming culture they cold take a page out of Apples book and offer a free year of Stadia to anyone who purchases their device. Now that would definitely get me on board...
The fact is iPhone is crushing it right now. Hate to admit it. My girl just recently stated that iPhones are the Beyonce of phones. And I can't fully say that I agree, but she'd definitely not that far off. Apple has a great ecosystem and it all resides within the iPhone. Yes, they have the iPad, iWatch, MacBooks, and iMacs (which side note...how come it's not called an iBook). However, the iPhone is the heartbeat of Apple. Google needs to understand that if it wants to compete it needs to do things with the Pixel line that no other phone can do. Give it features no other phone has access too. Google Drive, the Play Store, Photos...it needs to relocate those type of apps to it's phones only or at the very least make sure only Pixels get the best versions of those apps. Because if Samsung can, and OnePlus can, and LG can, and Motorola can then why do we NEED your device. It's marketing 101. Create a need, supply, and the demand will come. In Apples economy only iPhones can...and thus iPhones sell. So if Google is just going to let every competitor access is strongest selling points, then just stick to the OS game and leave the hardware for those who are actually trying to compete.