Numbers are Dead: Google will win despite lower sales

by Uluroo — 28 February 2018

Samsung just unveiled its Galaxy S9, and Apple's hit a new high on revenue thanks to the iPhone X, but they both may as well be trembling with fear as their most dangerous competitor prepares its next smartphone for relase sometime later this year! It's Google!

Yes, Google!

How exactly will the latest hardware giant usurp reign of the smartphone market? For that, Uluroo will turn it over to International Business Times UK's James Hetherington, who brings us "5 reasons the Google Pixel 3 will smash the iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy S9 in 2018."

Actually, let's rewind briefly. In case you're like Uluroo and rarely click on links within web articles, allow Uluroo to quote a line from that second piece he linked to a minute ago — "Google didn't sell many Pixel phones in 2017, and that's not good for the line":

Google's Pixel phones may be great phones with best-in-class cameras, but they won't be toppling Apple's iPhones or Samsung's Galaxy phones anytime soon.

Here Raymond Wong has given some very sound analysis based on some real numbers! Seems to run pretty counter to the assumption in Hetherington's headline. But Uluroo digresses — back to Hetherington.

... retreating to the shadows in 2017 was the Google Pixel 2. Google is more than just dipping its toes in the smartphone market, it wants to take over.

Like the Sith, although Google is believed to be defeated, it is truly just hiding in the shadows, keeping its numbers (sales) low before it finally exacts revenge on the Jedi (Apple, Samsung). This is nothing like the last few epic fails Google has had with the smartphone market, though. Why even talk about those?

To be clear, like Raymond Wong, whom he quoted earlier, Uluroo agrees that the Pixel 2 is a fine phone, but it's not Apple-toppling material. At some point, in the world of businesses, we have to look beyond what we think is the best product and check the numbers to see what consumers think.

2018 is the perfect year for Google to seize control.

2018 is a greater number than 2017. 2018 must, then, be an even greater year than 2017! In all seriousness, though, let's assume Google is the only smartphone company planning to improve its devices this year and then run from there. Remember the headline: We're comparing the Pixel 3 to the Galaxy S9 and the iPhone X, not to the devices it'll actually be competing against.

Here are five reasons the Google Pixel 3 will rule the smartphone market in 2018:

If anything, it would be 2019. 2018 is supposed to be the year of the Pixel 2. How's that turning out so far? [Uluroo pretends to shuffle through some papers.] Yeah, doesn't look like it's turning out too well.

1. It already has the best features, people just don't realise it... Google unveiled the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL range in October last year, right in the middle of two new iPhone releases. Was this a smart or stupid move by Google? ... people seem to forget that Google offers the best primary features on a smartphone.

Yes, if only iPhone users knew that another platform had a better feature list than the one they were currently using [cough] Android, which literally everyone knows about [cough], they would run into its open arms and never look back.

The thing is, even though consumers may not know the Pixel line by name, there's no way people haven't heard of Android before — and Android phones have long been regarded as having better features. People don't like iPhones for their features but for the experience that comes along with them.

Google has managed to nail down the most important parts of a phone: the camera, the storage and battery. Unlimited photo storage is a treat, taking as much 4K video you like and having it always backed up is the pinnacle of smartphone storage. Then you've got the best camera on a smartphone, which means you can really make use of that storage.

Okay, unlimited photo storage is pretty great. But has that actually convinced anyone to switch in meaningful numbers? Nnnnnnnooooo.

And there are people who would disagree about the Pixel 2 having the best smartphone camera. Uluroo has seen some Pixel versus iPhone side-by-side comparisons and couldn't really pick a winner, but he generally leans toward the more true-to-life colors on iPhone photos.

But beyond that, without even getting into the camera debate, the rift between iOS and Android is too great for any given user to jump platforms for a marginally better camera. As a whole, people prefer the iOS experience over the Android experience — or at least enough of them to stop Google from crushing Apple. And the Galaxy S9 has expandable storage and a remarkable camera.

Add in a fantastic battery with fast charging and you have three phone fundamentals that lead the industry.

But those aren't the fundamentals. A good argument could be made that the Pixel 2 is the best phone. That could be true, based only on the feature list. But when buying phones, people don't look at feature lists. As long as the latest iPhone, or the latest Galaxy, or whatever phone line they're locked into, has a good enough camera, a good enough battery, a good enough whatever, any two given phones will weigh in close enough on the scale that the tip will go to the one with the best user experience. And that is subjective. That is what makes the iPhone win. That is what makes the Pixel lose.

2. All those HTC engineers... Google has just spent $1.1 billion to acquire the bulk of HTC's smartphone design team. 2,000 employees will now move across and start designing (probably) the Pixel 3. You would not spend more than $1 billion unless you had big plans.

What, do you think Apple spends a measly penny for iPhone R&D? What's the point of spending a ton of money on an acquisition [cough] Motorola [cough] if, in the end, you come out below the competition and billions of dollars in the hole? And it's not like Apple and Samsung will sit around doing nothing until they announce their phones later this year.

3. Android updates first, always

Uluroo admits this is a problem for Samsung, but Apple is not affected.

4. Three models to choose from

Yes! The more models, the better! And it's certainly not like Apple did this in 2017 or plans to do so in 2018. Why would you say such a silly thing?

5. The strongest ecosystem ... when you buy into the Pixel, you get a direct line to all of those platforms. Sure you can get them all on your iPhone or Samsung Galaxy, but a Google service will always be better on a Google device.

Okay, but do you see anyone complaining about this? Uluroo doesn't. You can talk up Google's hardware, services, etc. all you want, but that doesn't change the fact that not enough people care.

In the end, the numbers have spoken for themselves. The iPhone and the Galaxy are doing better than the Pixel. Nothing you can say will change that, and there's no reason to assume it will change — unless you assume Google and only Google will make improvements down the road. As much as Uluroo would love to jump onto the Google boat with you, he can't quarrel with math. 223 million is greater than 3.9 million.