Nearly 10 years after the long anticipated iPhone was introduced in early 2007, Google has responded with the Pixel smartphone. Yes, it’s another Android clone with a few extra Google software goodies thrown into help differentiate it from teammates from Samsung, LG, and HTC (which actually manufactures the Pixel models for Google).
What customers will see in the two Pixel models are plenty of RAM, a quad-core CPU, a bright screen, a very good camera, a headphone jack, the latest Android OS, all stuffed into an aluminum case that looks very much like an iPhone. Google isn’t much on originality.
The Pixel phone won’t sell in great numbers because Google doesn’t have the retail infrastructure or the name recognition of iPhone or Samsung’s Galaxy line, but on paper it looks like a very good iPhone clone, and one that differentiates slightly from other premium Android smartphones. It runs Android Nougat, the latest, and it’s expensive for an Android device.
What’s missing from the Pixel line is a Pixel tablet. In effect, Google is saying to tablets, “You’re dead to me.”
What appears to be happening in the technology gadget marketplace is simple. Too many products. To few needs. For many people, the smartphone is their only gadget, having forsaken traditional Windows PCs, and to a certain extent, even the Mac (sales for both lines have been going down, year over year). Tablet sales have been going downward for a number of years, though the top seller remains Apple’s iconic iPad.
What happened to the market? Why doesn’t Google push a Pixel tablet into the mix?
I call the phenomenon ‘gadget fatigue.’
We humans only need so many devices that do much the same thing. What are the differences between iPhone and iPad?
Compared to iPhone, iPad has:
- More screen
- Less camera
- More weight
- Less portability
- No cellphone
Compared to iPad, iPhone has:
- Less screen
- Better camera
- Light weight
- More portability
- Cellphone built in
Duh. The portability and cellphone make the iPhone the must-have device when compared to an iPad. As much as Apple wants us to think– thanks to some clever TV commercials– that an iPad is as useful as a PC, the perception– and perception is reality– is that it’s not. PCs– Mac and Windows– are more powerful, therefore, supposedly more useful.
Apple’s then CEO, Steve Jobs, called the iPad the beginning of the post-PC era. His timing was off. The post-PC era was already in full force as smartphones outsell traditional PCs by a large number and have for years. Windows is not the world’s most used operating system. It’s Google’s Android. Microsoft’s Windows is in third place behind Apple’s iOS with over a billion users.
But I digress.
Most of us don’t have the time or money to manage all the digital devices that technology companies throw at us these days. Something had to give. For now, it’s the tablet. Each of my household members have plenty of Apple gadgets and that’s not likely to change. iPads seem to last at least as long as Macs, so the upgrade cycle hasn’t hit bottom yet.
Google’s Pixel looks like a typical premium Android smartphone but there’s no corresponding Pixel tablet and that discrepancy in the product line speaks volumes about what is happening in the industry.