Leon Mika

Leon Mika

If Google does this to the Pixel 4, just what do they expect for the Pixel 5?

What is Google doing cancelling the Pixel 4 after 6 months? They spend $1.1 billion buying the HTC mobile division and state that they plan to start making their own mobile chips, giving the impression that they are serious about producing decent, flagship hardware for Android. And then go ahead with discontiuning their current flagship phone after 6 months?

Look, I know from a purely economical perspective, the Pixel line makes little sense. Android is not iOS. They don’t hold the prestigious high-end of the market, with the margins that come from it. But that’s not Google’s business. They’re an advertising company first, and a search company second. So I can understanding that Android to them is more of a cost centre; the price of keeping access to their services open to mobile users.

But I had the impression that they also recognised that there exists a market of Android users that appreciate good quality hardware and decent, stock-standard software stack with no shovelware, and are willing to pay a premium for it. It might not be a big market, that’s true. But if they’re serious about keeping Android around and want to keep these customers (you know, the one’s with disposable income that advertisers love), they should continue to be a player in it. I guess it’s possible that they simply offload this to another device manufacturer like Nokia, but then they’re giving up any leverage of ensuring good quality hardware which will attract these buyers.

As a Pixel owner myself, this move really concerns me. It’s getting increasingly harder to recommend Pixel phones to anyone, and I’m starting to wonder whether it’s time to consider something else.