Pixel: The iPhone Competitor “We’ve Demanded for Years”…?

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Just finished reading a long-winded editorial over at Android Police, wherein author David Ruddock posits that Google’s forthcoming Pixel phones will, more than any Nexus phone before them, be positioned as direct competitors to Apple’s iPhone. Mmkay…

As the world’s largest smartphone OEM, you could argue that Samsung is already a pretty good iPhone competitor. You could also argue, I suppose, that its S apps and such detract from a “pure” Android experience. In that case the OnePlus 3 makes for a worthy iPhone adversary—but even this unabashed OnePlus fanboy knows that his smartphone camera can’t compare to what’s on offer from Apple.

It seems to me that the Android platform has flourished with diversity and choice, and that having a direct iPhone competitor isn’t really the point. That said, the AP editorial does point out that Google’s Nexus phones have already begun shifting from a platform for “stock Android” (which isn’t even really a thing anymore) to a more premium offering. Do first-party accessories and a device protection plan make an Android phone more “iPhone-like”? I’m not so sure. Read on and see what you think.

This “Pixel versus Nexus” distinction matters a great deal. By framing the Pixel and Pixel XL as Google products and not as Android ones, and by removing all discussion of “partners,” Google will finally be able to assert that, if only implicitly, it is offering a counterpoint to Apple’s iPhones. That really seems to be what the Pixel phones boil down to, and it’s something fans have been demanding of Google for as many years as Android has been around: “Build us an iPhone that runs Android!” (preferably with a headphone jack and a standard power connector). As we all know, Google has been hesitant to really embrace such a model over the years. But in hindsight, there’s no doubt signs Google’s strategy would be changing to try and meet the iPhone have begun popping up.

It now feels far from a wild theory to suggest that the 5X and 6P served as test platforms for some of the business and product decisions we’ll see Google announce with the Pixel and Pixel XL. The Nexus 5X and 6P offered device protection plans – a first for Nexuses. They could be financed if purchased through Google’s Project Fi carrier experiment. Live cases offered one of Google’s first-ever personalized accessories. Google has even started designing its own USB chargers. Now, we’re starting to see the new Pixel phones’ exclusive software, and a Pixel-branded launcher is probably just the tip of an iceberg that may take years to reveal itself. That Nexus Protect (likely now “Pixel Protect”), live cases, and Fi financing will live on seem a given. But I think we’ll see Google take some of these things a step further in an attempt to draw comparisons to Apple and the iPhone.

Yeah, still not convinced that Android needs a direct competitor to iPhone—Samsung, maybe, but not iPhone. What do you think?

Source: Android Police

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