Google shocked everyone watching the I / O 2022 keynote this week. This is because the entire lineup of Pixel devices coming out next year was revealed at a developer event that normally doesn’t use hardware. It’s fun to see what the fully realized Pixel ecosystem looks like, but you can’t help wondering how it could impact the wider Android market. ..
Google has been in the hardware business for over a decade, counting the Nexus line that debuted in January 2010. But when I bought Motorola and Nest respectively in 2011 and 2014, things soared. The former didn’t work as well as many expected, but Rick Osterloh, Google SVP of Devices & Services, was Motorola’s former president and COO and was an integral part of the company’s hardware efforts.
Google may be a headache between Pixel smartphones, the Pixel Buds, and the Nest family of products, but with the addition of the Pixel Watch and Pixel Tablet later next year, Google is in the deepest part. I am. The question is whether Google will manage a graceful dive that doesn’t cause too many waves in the larger Android ecosystem, or will it manage a complete shell.
Let’s take a closer look at what Google is planning and what it means for Android.
(Image credit: Google) Witness the power of a fully armed and operational Pixel ecosystem
When Google launched the original Pixel in 2016, it was very well received by reviewers, but with little commercial success. This was a consistent theme in the lineup until the more affordable Pixel A series was launched. And finally, it became Google’s flagship announcing that the Pixel 6 already outperforms the Pixel 4 and Pixel 5 combinations.
Importantly, Pixel has never been a significant threat to the market share of other Android makers such as Samsung and Motorola. That’s why some of Google’s Pixel-only features on its corporate phone, such as now sadly free unlimited photo and video storage, and more recently, impressive camera features such as Magic Eraser and Face Unblur. Something that Android competitors weren’t worried about.
(Image credit: Google)
With this week’s announcement, the dynamics are subject to change. Today, even the most enthusiastic Pixel fans could only rely on the brand to meet the needs of phones and earphones. If they were in the tablet or smartwatch market, they had to look elsewhere. This makes it look like everyone has learned from Apple’s “ecosystem is king” mantra, so they can see the rest of the lineup from other manufacturers.
Ambient computing, the idea that the network of devices is basically out of the way, while always getting what you need, is one of the central themes of Pixel’s presentation at the keynote. And Google calls it “better.” Opinions about Apple’s products may differ, but it’s undeniable that users have the most cohesive ecosystem of products that work best when they are fully acquired. Samsung has certainly worked towards the same goal throughout the lineup, but Samsung is working closely with Google, and ultimately it doesn’t have complete control over the fate of the software.
(Image credit: Google)
Google has been pushing this idea for at least 2019, and it’s clear that software like Fast Pair can connect devices quickly and easily without any problems. In particular, this is not limited to Google’s own products. Anyone can use Fast Pair. However, when Google reaches its release date, it will have a fully functional ecosystem by the end of 2023. In addition, you can maintain the best integration with Google itself to create the Googlefied version of the walled garden utopia that Apple fans love.
The discussion of “better together” and the focus on creating a ubiquitous network of devices for users were all done as a lead-in to Google’s device presentation section. Google emphasized many partners in its keynote, but nothing was close to Wear OS on the I / O 2021 to Samsung moments.
(Image credit: Google) Be careful not to choke your desires
It’s a shame I got to the two quotes from the dark side, but I’m sticking to it. Google’s hardware ecosystem could alienate some Android makers, but even if Google’s new product is commercially successful, it seems to be a major concern in the end. There are several serious reasons why it isn’t.
The main reason is that it is not in Google’s best interests. Google is, first and foremost, an advertising company. This brings far more benefits than you can expect from even the most successful predictions of the Pixel ecosystem panacea I drew above from billions of non-Pixel devices running Android. .. I feel that this is dishonest because most of the claims that Google violates the privacy of its users will fundamentally destroy Google’s entire business model if it loses trust with its users. For essentially the same reason.
(Image credit: Google)
This deals with Google going home with an Android ball, but looking at the back of the coin, where are the other Android makers looking? Samsung, Huawei and others have tried to build their own operating systems, but they have universally failed. If Samsung can’t control it, it’s no exaggeration to say that none of the other Android makers are within the control of it. Given that it’s hard to imagine what Google needs to do to force one of the other Android makers, let alone another, to move to another location.
Going back to the original question I raised in the headline, could the Pixel ecosystem be the death of Android, as we know it? Yes, it doesn’t mean it kills it, but rather it radically changes it. Google’s hardware ecosystem will help enhance some areas of Android that were previously weak, tablets and wearables, and the underlying software that “better together” Pixel devices will benefit only Google. I hope it will spread throughout Android, rather than bring it to you. If Google can pull it off, it will make the next few years in the mobile world much more interesting.
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