Over the weekend, there was a number of leaks about the upcoming Pixel smartphones. But there is one that really caught my eye. And that’s Pixel Pass. Essentially, it would take the existing subscription model that Google has for the Pixel 4a and 5a, with the extended warranty, and put it on steroids. By adding its other subscription services to the plan. That includes YouTube Premium, Google One and Play Pass.
It’s really Google’s answer to Apple One. Which launched last year and bundled all of its subscription services into four tiers. But Google is taking a step further by adding in the price of your phone.
This is something I’ve been wanting Google to offer for a while actually. Since I do subscribe to a few of its services already, having them bundled into one payment would be really nice. It’s still unclear whether this is only going to be available for Pixel or if you can bundle the software without the hardware.
Pixel Pass: This appears to be a blend of the iPhone upgrade plan where you can get a new phone every year and the Apple One Subscription.
— M. Brandon Lee | THIS IS TECH TODAY (@thisistechtoday) October 10, 2021Advertisement
This could help Google become more competitive in the smartphone market
When it comes to the smartphone market, OEMs haven’t really had to worry about Pixel because it never really sold in big numbers. But there are numerous signs that point to that changing this year.
The Pixel 6 is Google’s first really premium smartphone, and it seems to be pulling out all of the stops with this one. At least according to the leaks that we have seen. Of course, we will have to wait until October 19, to see for sure if these are true. Not only is Google preparing to release some really impressive phones, but it is also offering some other things that might lure away iPhone users.
Two things that might lure iPhone users to the Pixel are: the promise of five years of updates, and Pixel Pass. Two things that Apple had over basically every Android OEM out there.
With the release of iOS 15, Apple updated every iPhone from the 6S. The iPhone 6S came out in 2015. So that’s a six year old phone. Meanwhile most Android phones stop getting updates at two or three years. Google isn’t quite up to the 6 years of updates, but 5 is pretty darn close.
Then there’s the subscription bundle. This is great for users and for Google. This makes it easier for users to subscribe to multiple Google products, and potentially at a discount. For Google, this is great because most people likely won’t use all four products. So they are gaining subscribers, without having to actually support more on each product.
Pixel has always been about targeting the iPhone and not Android OEMs
Since the Pixel launched in 2015, Google has always been about targeting iPhone users and not so much competing with the likes of Samsung, LG, Motorola and others. Though, LG isn’t a factor any longer since they have stopped making Android phones. Google aimed to make the “iPhone of Android”. And have mostly succeeded.
This years moves show more than ever that it is targeting the iPhone and not any other Android smartphone. But it also shows that Google is getting serious about Pixel. And wants to gain some market share. It’s possible that Google could grab some of LG’s market share that it left when it decided to leave the smartphone market last year.
Though, it’ll still be tough to get iPhone users to switch to the Pixel, not because Google isn’t trying. But because Apple has them locked in pretty tight. Not only with iMessage, but the entire ecosystem. It’s pretty tough to leave iPhone for any Android smartphone. I’m not saying that it doesn’t happen, it’s just tougher to get an iPhone user versus a Samsung or Motorola user, over to a Pixel.
In the US, competition is needed
Google is taking these steps at potentially the right time. LG left the market last year, and since then, Android smartphones have basically been Samsung in the US. There are other options here, but most of them are not available on carriers (or only on one carrier). OnePlus is available on T-Mobile, but it is arguably still a pretty unknown brand. Motorola hasn’t really released any flagship calibur phones in a few years, and when they do release new phones, they are usually unlocked or on Verizon.
Sony is still pretty non-existent in the US. You can get their phones unlocked, but generally around 6 months after they released. And for a lot more than the competition. For example, the Xperia 1 Mark III is available for $1,149 and only works on T-Mobile or AT&T. That’s pretty expensive, especially for a phone that doesn’t work on Verizon.
So, competition is needed in the US. As it is essentially just Samsung versus Apple. Since most people in the US buy through their carriers and not unlocked. Google stepping up with the Pixel is sorely needed. And with the upcoming Pixel 6, along with the Pixel 5a, there are going to be some nice alternatives to Samsung and Apple.
This could be Pixel’s biggest year yet
If Google plays its cards right, this could be the biggest year for Pixel yet. Google has already told its investors that it is going to be spending a ton on marketing for Pixel 6. And that budget has already been spent a little bit. As we’re seeing marketing for Pixel 6 everywhere, even before the announcement was announced.
Google seems to be doing everything right this year, at least so far. But execution is going to be key here. If they can execute properly with the Pixel 6, we could see them move into the top 5 smartphone makers worldwide, or at least get close. Though they will have to beat some tough Chinese competition – in a country where Google can’t sell phones.