John Gruber on the Pixel 8 launch event:

It’s also impossible not to comment on just how much less interest there is in Google’s Pixel ecosystem. […] On the one hand I’m tempted to say the difference is just commensurate with how much better at hardware Apple is than Google. But I think there’s more to it than that. There’s something ineffable about it. There are aspects of marketshare traction — in any market — that can’t be explained by side-by-side product comparisons alone.

Can’t speak for the market but as a Pixel 6 Pro owner I can give you my opinion. You don’t need to watch the keynote to get that sense of disinterest. You can get it just by using the phone.

For the last few months1 I’ve been experiencing a bug with the calendar widget. If you have nothing on your calendar for the next two weeks, it completely blanks out:

An Android phone screen with the calendar widget on the right that is completely white except for a blue plus button

I doubt that this is intentional as the plus button doesn’t work either. Tapping it does nothing at all.

For comparison, here’s how it’s meant to look:

An Android phone screen with the same calendar widget functioning normally: it has the current date, a message saying 'Nothing scheduled', and two entries in blue for dates in the future

Now, bugs in software happen — they certainly happen in mine — and there’s no reason why Google would be immune to this, so I can forgive them for this bug showing up in a shipped version of Android. My problem is that it’s been like this for months now. This is a widget built by Google, included in Google’s Calendar app running on Google’s OS and Google’s hardware, and it’s been broken for this long. I would’ve expected this to be fixed in a few weeks, but for it to take this long?

I can’t see how anyone with an Android phone using this widget would not notice this. And the only reason I can come up with is that no-one in Google has noticed this. They simply don’t use Android, the OS that they build, in their day-to-day. Maybe some of them do, but obviously not enough of them to drive change. If there was, they would’ve found this problem and fix it by now. To quote Linus, “given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow,” and those eyeballs are obviously looking elsewhere.

Now this theory may be far fetched, but after reading Gruber’s piece, it seems like I’m not alone in thinking this. As he says later in the same article:

I’d wager that more Google employees carry an iPhone than carry a Pixel.

It shows.

  1. I can’t remember when I first saw this, but I think it was in July. ↩︎