Disappointed is an understatement to see how Google is going with Pixel 3. A newspaper full of ads. It seems that’s all what Google thinks will make Pixel 3 fly! It’s surprising to see that the pioneer of internet is spending so much on legacy advertisement platforms. Not that they shouldn’t have advertised in newspapers, but four pages in a single newspaper is uncalled for. Rather the pioneers of online search should focus on how to optimize the search results. Google’s own page for Pixel 3 is fourth in the list when someone searches for ‘Google Pixel 3‘.
There are only two reasons one would place an advertisement in a newspaper. One is about increasing the brand/product awareness, and the other is to boast that “We have arrived!” For Google, both are unnecessary. If this is what Google thinks will make Pixel 3 sell in millions, it’s a big wrong calculation.
Google is a technology pioneer. That does not take away its right to advertise and market. But, being the anchor of innovation and disruption for over two decades, Google doing the same as others does not make sense, and definitely does not fit in with its image and positioning.
From the positioning point of view, Google has only been focusing on the camera quality of the Pixel 3. No doubt, camera is among the key deciding specs on smartphones, but it is the not the only factor for the people who would buy a Pixel 3.
Pixel 3 is for mid to senior level professionals and executives. Historically it is seen that this segment’s priority on pictures and camera use is low. They use smartphones more for productivity. Pixel 3 by Google, should have got in something that would have add to its productivity and ease their professional duties.
Such professionals typically work 12-14 hours, have minimum of two meetings a day, travel 2-3 days a week (international once every two months), keep a view on the goals and objectives of the organization, want to be updated with industry and government developments, and so on. Not even a single thing out of this is eased through the Pixel 3. So, where does Google innovate, and stand out in the crowd? Rather, Google has preferred to spend more than required on marketing the smartphone’s cameras.
Google has a greenfield segment to address. There is only Samsung in the Android stack, which has smartphones in this price range. Apple iPhones have moved beyond, while OnePlus is giving perhaps enriched experience at 60 percent of Pixel 3 price. So, why would anyone go for Pixel 3, when Google has never been a strong name in the smartphones space.
Watch: Google Pixel 3 XL Hands On
What Google should do
My recommendation to Google would be to create a Pro version of its Google Assistant, only available on the Pixels. This virtual assistant should be aimed at professionals who would find a great value in the product. It should help them manage their calendar, schedule meetings, brief them about the market and key government decisions likely to impact their business, give them insights about the market, engage them in leadership virtual forums, help them in work-life balance, advice on their health and lifestyle; effectively increase their ease of doing business quotient.
Rather than cameras, Google should take the lead in AI, Machine Learning, Deep Learning, Augmented Reality, and other emerging technologies, which would bring a lot of value to a user in the segment, who would not mind even paying extra for this convenience.
Google has so far not taken the right route for Pixel and its strategy has been more on doing what others have already showcased. Yes, it claims that they have done it better than the competition; that’s always debatable. Google has to show its innovative and disruptive capabilities in the smartphone space if it is serious about Pixel.
It is a fact that the giants of software haven’t historically been great with devices, as in the case of Surface by Microsoft, and Pixel by Google. But, Microsoft has taken a definite route and we are seeing some gradual improvements in the success of Surface. Google also needs to do the same and define a unique proposition for Pixel, which is intellectual than cosmetic. The choice is theirs!
This article is written by Faisal Kawoosa, Founder & Principal Analyst, techARC
Disclaimer: Views expressed are the author’s personal opinion, and do not necessarily reflect the official position of BGR India.