How To Differentiate Pixels
The MWC in Barcelona is the place were major mobile devices manufactures present the latest and greatest; their flagship devices for the year (Samsung is presenting the 8 series end of March). And what is striking is that manufactures have reach a point where there is a lack of differentiation in the hardware front: they all have at least 4gb of RAM, they all have their WiFi/BT/NFC; most of them have IP68 waterproofing, +5.5 inches 2k display, 3000mAh batteries with quick charge, one lousy speaker, the latest Qualcomm silicon in a 150grams metal and glass shell.
For years it has been said that iOS photography was better than Android; but manufactures have catch up and have been using their devices photography quality to differentiate their product.
Google is marketing their Pixel phone; granted these were presented in late 2016, as:
- The highest rated smartphone camera.
- A battery that lasts all day.
- Unlimited storage for all your photos and videos.
- The first phone with the Google Assistant built in.
The Pixel phones truly take great pictures and have fast charging built in; but this is true for the S7/8, G6, XZ Premium, Xiaomi 5S, P10 and the list goes on. Google Photos provides unlimited storage for all photos and videos at a lower quality than the pixels, but nevertheless, great quality on all Android devices.
Will Google be able to innovate the software just for the Pixels, without that innovation crawling back to other Android devices?
As I discussed in the “Year of Voice”; Google is not the only one in the market to unite all consumer interactions under one ecosystem; and Amazon appears to lead the charge with Alexa as is presence in non Amazon devices is growing by the minute.
Google cannot risk losing the voice search market and announced that the Google Assistant is coming to more Android devices. This means that the Pixels have lost one of the key differentiators in the war for our pockets.
The challenge for Google is that whatever software innovation they create for the Pixels (as the Google Assistant); Android consumers will be expecting for those to crawl back into their Android distribution.
So if hardware has reached a peak and Pixel only software can disrupt their market; how can Google differentiate the Pixels?
Android navigation consists of three buttons: a back, a home and a recents button and manufacturares have used them to differentiate their products. Capacitive, On-screen and even enabling consumers to choose which option they prefer are present on all flagships; and this sometimes poses a challenge for consumers coming from a single button navigation in iOS.
Huawei and Motorola have both moved to a new type of home button, which is a touch-sensitive surface, combining gestures and taps to trigger those navigation options on the P10 and on the G5+; which are phones in completely price ranges. They were able to innovate and improve navigation differentiating form other manufactures; at least for the next 6 months.