It’s finally happening! During Google I/O 2022, Google unveiled a handful of new devices that complete what we can now call the Pixel ecosystem. This is something that we’ve been wanting for a while, as the two current Pixel lines of devices have been well received. But, while the Pixel ecosystem is coming soon, it will be an uphill battle with factors like competition and others.
Most mobile OEMs have a collection of phones with accessories, but you can’t really call them an ecosystem. However, companies like Apple and Samsung have true to form ecosystems where everything is pretty much interoperable. Phones communicate with earbuds communicate with laptops communicate with tablets communicate with phones. It’s the dream for most manufacturers- having people buy four devices from you instead of one.
What are the factors working against the Pixel ecosystem?
By the end of 2023, Google will have a thriving ecosystem consisting of a flagship phone duo, a mid-range phone, a trio of earbuds, a tablet, and a smartwatch. Each device will, ostensibly, be able to talk with one another seamlessly. It’s a dream come true for Pixel owners, and it’s, undoubtedly, making them excited for Pixel 7 and the Pixel Watch this fall. However, we can’t deny it won’t be as easy as launching a bunch of products and waiting for the sales. There will be some factors working against it out of the gate.
The competition against the Pixel ecosystem
When the Pixel ecosystem is in full effect, people will start making comparisons to the two major mobile tech ecosystems already established: the Apple ecosystem and the Galaxy ecosystem. These are the two titans among the other ecosystems, and the competition will be stiff. The question is whether or not the Pixel ecosystem will be able to compete. It’s going to be a tall order to fill.
Apple has been tightening up its integration between iPhones, iPads, iPods, AirPods/Max, Mac computers/laptops, and Homepods for a while, and it’s pretty insane. One of the major appeals to getting into the Apple ecosystem is the tight integration.
Meanwhile, Samsung has basically hijacked Android to create its own experience. The company has its Galaxy phones, Galaxy tablets, Galaxy Buds, Galaxy Windows laptops, and Galaxy Chromebooks. It’s to the point where people in the Galaxy ecosystem seem to be disconnected from the rest of Android as a whole.
Google’s going to have to create an experience that’s consistent across all of its devices. But, the thing is that Apple and Samsung introduced their devices gradually over the years, whereas Google’s going to be introducing its smartwatch and its tablet, probably, within the span of just months. This means that it won’t have as much time to refine the integration between the devices. It’s going to have to grow over time, but that’s time that Apple and Samsung will use to induct more people into their respective ecosystems.
Google is still missing a major component from its ecosystem
Apple’s and Samsung’s portfolios are pretty stacked and, while Google’s is getting there, it’s still missing something important. Google really needs something to really tackle the computing market. This leaves a gap in the Pixel product portfolio. Regardless of how powerful phones and tablets are, computers typically offer better productivity. This is where another capable Pixel-branded Chromebook could come in.
Leaving out a true computer will give Apple and Samsung the advantage when it comes to hardcore productivity. Apple’s Macbooks and Samsung’s Galaxy Books are popular among people, and this allows users to maximize their productivity with their products. Features like Apple’s Universal Control show the potential of a developed ecosystem. Imagine being able to share a screen between your Chromebook and your Pixel tablet. This is something that people are going to want in the future. Google should definitely consider getting back into making its own Chromebooks again.
The “First Generation Syndrome”
Around this time next year, the base-level Pixel ecosystem could be complete, but two of the devices in the bunch will be first-generation devices. When a company creates a new type of device, it usually has a rocky start. Take the OnePlus Watch, for instance. That first-generation device was riddled with bugs and created an overall bad experience.
Google will be launching a first-generation smartwatch and its first tablet with Material You and the new tablet optimizations for Android. We’re all hoping that these devices don’t tank, but this is new territory for Google. The Pixel Watch is projected to be pretty pricey, so it’d be a big slap to the face if it were to be bad.
Google is taking a big leap offering these different devices and, if they’re bad, it could make the official take-off of the Pixel ecosystem tough. The company can only do so much with software updates; however, now the hardware is the company’s responsibility. If Google doesn’t get the hardware right, then it’ll be going against the more refined Apple Watch and Galaxy Watch.
That also goes for the tablets. Apple and Samsung are dominating the tablet market- shocker, right? They’ve been putting a lot of work and refinement into their tablet offerings, and it shows. The Pixel Tablet could be going up against the latest and greatest Galaxy Tab and iPad next year. Google will need to make sure that it’s functional enough to be a worthy alternative.
The thing is that Google hasn’t produced a tablet of its own in a while. Things changed a lot since the Nexus tablet days. Both the hardware and software landscapes have changed completely, so making a first-generation tablet to compete with the competition will be a tough feat.
But, it’s not all bad
The Pixel ecosystem, despite the competition, still has some stuff going for it. The main thing that Google has going for it is what we’ve been saying all these years: Google controls the software. Samsung has built a robust ecosystem of devices over the last couple of years, but the software still, ultimately, belongs to Google. If Samsung had its own Galaxy OS, it could probably take over the world (or, at least the smartphone market).
Google is the owner of Android. If it wanted to turn the entire interface one shade of blue, it could do it. If the company wanted to give it a Powerpuff Girls theme, it could. So, Google holds the reins on what the Pixel ecosystem can and will be. This unlocks so many possibilities for the ecosystem. Not only will Google be able to include features similar to what Samsung and Apple are offering, but the company can also add on its own features and, probably, bring something we’ve never seen before.
The upcoming Pixel ecosystem is getting Pixel fans super excited, and there’s a lot riding on these new releases coming out in the next year. We know that Google will be facing some tough competition, but, hopefully, something great will come out of it.