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COMMENT: I’m An Android Smartphone But No-One Buys Me. What am I?

Of course, it’s the Google Pixel, the device wrapped around the search Company’s own Android operating system.

Five generations in, Google’s homegrown Pixel smartphone has hardly made a dent in the market, or with mainstream consumers in Australia despite the big Company splashing the marketing cash.

This is a smartphone brand that consumers have shunned time and time again, despite the OS being coded by Google to sell advertising to the customers of other smartphone brands.

The lack of demand has resulted in retailers like JB Hi-Fi, Telstra and Harvey Norman previously dumping the Google smartphone device at less than half the original selling price as consumers failed to take to the Google technology.

One big plus for retailers was that they did manage to grab a big swag of marketing dollars from Google on the way through the sell in and sell out process.

The “GPhone”, as Google fanboys liked to refer to the Pixel as, was, for Android fanboys, the device that could take on Apple’s smartphone.

The Pixel, with its claimed premium build and high-end price tag, was made by now defunct HTC, a Company Google ended up cutting a deal with to take over their smartphone engineers.

They described prior versions like their new model Pixel 6 that was launched today as being glossy and chic and packed with new technology.

In the past, Google has even drawn comparisons between their Pixel smartphone and Apple’s iPhone.

Like the new Pixel 6, they claimed past models had a remarkable camera with advanced photography software.

But the problem for Google was that it had to compete with smartphones dominated by the likes of Apple and Samsung, two of the most popular phone makers in the world.

Now the search Company that delves into your personal life and business is having another crack at trying to get consumers to buy one of their Pixel devices and again they are splashing the cash with retailers.

They are even bragging about having their own processor this time around, which makes no sense for a Company that makes billions stealing stories and selling advertising.

The Federal Court recently found that Google LLC and Google Australia Pty Ltd (together, Google) misled consumers about personal location data collected through Android mobile devices between January 2017 and December 2018, in a world-first enforcement action brought by the ACCC.

Google has less than 1.5% of the Australian smartphone market. Even the cheap Alcatel phone did better than what Google was able to achieve which says a lot for the value of Google search marketing.

So, what’s different this time? Oh! it’s the camera, claims Google, who this time around have thrown in some artificial intelligence to spice up their offering from their last “great” camera.

Their latest model almost evokes pity, especially as Samsung, along with the likes of Motorola and TCL, offer a similar smartphone, with the Samsung camera set to be hard to beat by any brand, including Apple, when it comes to camera quality.

Pixel 3 launch

This time, Google claims it’s serious about competing in the smartphone market. Really? What about all those poor sods who got sucked in last time with the Pixel 2, 3 and five.

“We see this as the moment that we have really developed the Google phone,” Rick Osterloh, Google’s senior vice president of devices and services, bleated this week.

Then came the sales spin, with Osterloh claiming the new Google chips are built for on-device artificial intelligence, so it can deliver things like faster, more accurate speech recognition and better image processing.

Come on, let’s cut the crap… It’s all about selling more advertising and being able to take over content on a device to stuff another paid-for Google advertisement into YouTube, Maps and all the other apps Google stuffs advertisements into.

“What was being built outside the company wasn’t necessarily the perfect platform for the future – or the distant future,” Mr. Osterloh says.

So convinced are Google that this model will make it they have boosted production for the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, and while the chip shortage has affected other Pixel models, including the Pixel 5a, Mr. Osterloh says the company thinks these will be OK.

“It’s not the easiest thing to switch phones or ecosystems,” he says. “We know and recognise we have a lot of work to convince people this is a good choice for them.”

Osterloh started with the Company back in 2016 when Google took over HTC’s failed smartphone operation after flogging the Motorola brand to Lenovo, which in itself was another Google disaster.

Google sold Motorola Mobility for $2.91bn in what was a surprise move at the time, after paying $12.5bn for the company less than two years prior.

The latest Pixel has a 6.7-inch screen and three cameras, while the Pixel 6 has a 6.4-inch screen and two cameras.

The phones come in two sizes: Big and Bigger.

The 6.4-inch Pixel 6 loses the “just right” size its predecessor had, but it is slightly more manageable than the 6.7-inch Pixel 6 Pro.

The regular Pixel 6 has a 6.4-inch display with a fast 90 Hertz refresh rate, which makes it suitable for faster gaming, and a large 4614 milliampere hour battery.

It comes in three colours (sorta seafoam, kinda coral and stormy black) and starts at $999.

The Pro model has a larger 6.7-inch screen with an up to 120 Hertz refresh rate, and a new rear triple camera system with 4x optical zoom, and 20x hybrid zoom. It also comes in three colours (sorta sunny, cloudy white and stormy black) and starts at $1299.

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