back to article Google's phone woes: The Pixel and the damage done

In recent years, China's high-tech production miracle and globalisation have made it easy – perhaps too easy – for an outsider or newcomer to dabble in hardware. The ease of producing hardware with your brand on it might have been too seductive, tempting companies into doing the rest of the operation on the cheap. There's more …

  1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

    Other options

    Among non-Chinese brands, the Sony XZ1 costs about £600 in this country. The XZ Premium is £650.

    The Essential Phone seems already to be a flop but is going for $499.

    The Pixels simply cost too much. The word "Google" is associated with free stuff (please don't waste everyone's time by telling me it is not really free), and once that association is made very few people will pay you more than they absolutely have to.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Other options

      The XZ1 can be had for around £500. Xperia phones are always available for less than their list price, for some strange reason.

      Rubin's Essential phone has also had $200 knocked off it lately, but reviewers suggest is a fairer price for what is a decent enough but not standout device.

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Other options

      You're right - the only stand out feature of the first gen Pixels were in software - clever camera stuff (that enthusiasts have ported to other Android phones on similar chipsets) and some sort of assistant software (meh).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Other options

        "the only stand out feature of the first gen Pixels were in software - clever camera stuff"

        Well that and it approached iPhone performance with pure Android code, minus all the skins and useless apps. Pixel is really responsive.

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Other options

      In spite of everything Redmond has put them through, what remains of Nokia's mobile division, now back at Nokia, doesn't seem to have these problems either.

      Presumably someone remembered what QC means.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Other options

        "n spite of everything Redmond has put them through, what remains of Nokia's mobile division, now back at Nokia, "

        No, Nokia do not make cellphones - HMD Global make cellphones with Nokia's name on them and using Nokia's IP, but they are not part of Nokia.

        That said, it looks like Nokia are keeping a very close eye on QC (it is their name and reputation on the line, after all) and I'm very happy with my Nokia 8 - so happy we got my wife a Nokia 6 for herself last weekend and unless something goes sadly wrong with either of them my next work mobile will be a Nokia 6 as well. Added bonus - only one carrier added application and that can be deleted like any other downloaded app - other than that, pure unaltered Android direct from Google.

        Disclosure: Posting as AC because, but very pleased with the phone none-the-less.

        1. Steve Evans

          @A/C re: Nokia 8

          I actually handled a Nokia 8 the other day... Almost dropped it, and that was whilst being careful looking at a friend's new phone... Damn those things are slippery.

          I foresee a good market in replacements screens for those things.

          As for Nokia's original reputation (pre-Elop), the hardware was generally ok, but this was just at the beginning of the OTA patching era, and Nokia were playing catch-up, so a lot of phones got shipped with "beta" software, with the intention to fix them with updates over the air. Unfortunately once the carriers got involved, did their spin on the firmware, sold the phones, that was that... They never bothered spinning their bits onto updates Nokia issued and the phones were locked to that specific carriers firmware fork. The result that many owners were left with the "beta".

          For example, the N95 actually got very good with later versions of firmware. Not that anyone in the UK would have ever noticed, unless they'd jump through all the hoops to change the model number of theirs to generic EU model, and then manually done their own update.

          Then there was the after sales support, and the Nokia support forum... I got moderated for disrespecting the company once... I pointed out that if they continued with that level of support, customers were going to go elsewhere, and the support droid who moderated me would be out of a job. I tried to not to smile 9 months later when Elop arrived...

      2. coolcity

        Re: Other options

        Seriously? The Nokia 6 is awful, there are considerably better phones around for less.

        It was notable that the author couldn't resist the dig at Microsoft but the Lumia 950 is a far better phone overall then any of the Pixels, without the issues and for considerably less money.

    4. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Other options

      The word "Google" is associated with [apparently] free stuff

      Isn't that better? Now you don't have to worry about running the gauntlet with those who disagree the price on 'free'.

      Nothing is ever free, there is always a price, a hook, a catch.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Other options

        "Nothing is ever free, there is always a price, a hook, a catch."

        Yeah, but the "catch" is that you occasionally see a non invasive ad... in exchange for a ocean of free, awesome software and services. I'll take that "price" as opposed to the kind of price where they want you to pay money.

        1. jmch Silver badge

          Re: Other options

          "... I'll take that "price" as opposed to the kind of price where they want you to pay money."

          Google revenue for 2016 - approx $90 billion

          Number of Google users - approx 2.2 billion

          Even accounting for the fact that many Google accounts are fake, single-use or unused, so let's say 1.5 billion real and active users... that means Google makes $60/year off every user. Would you really not pay $5/mth for all of Google's services if it meant (a) no ads and more importantly (b) orders of magnitude less intrusive data gathering that is required to drive the ad engines (ie they just use/keep the data required to make the services work together)

          The only problem is that Google doesn't have that option, and while many other similair services with a paid option exist individually, they don't tie together (less convenience) or are not as good. For most people (including AC, apparently) , not caring that Google has so much of their data means that the cost/convenience vs privacy balance will always have cost/convenience winning

          1. Seajay#

            Re: Other options

            But that intrusive data gathering is also what makes search work and voice recognition, translation, spam filtering, etc so they would have to do that anyway if you wanted it to be just as good and that means your $5 doesn't buy you any privacy all it would buy you is the removal of the ads and for me that wouldn't be worthwhile.

            There's another problem. Of those 1.5 billion users, many of them are way too poor to make $60/year for Google. The ones who make it worthwhile are the rich ones but if Google offered an opt-out option, that would be disproportionately taken by its richer customers. Then they would find themselves in the situation where almost all of their ad revenue disappears but only a small proportion of their customers are paying them. It could only generate them the same revenue if all 1.5 billion paid and that isn't going to happen.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Other options

            >The only problem is that Google doesn't have that option, and while many other similair services with a >paid option exist individually, they don't tie together

            Google do have that option.

            It's google for business and it's about £3.99 a month per user last time I checked....

    5. Dr Mantis Toboggan
      Megaphone

      Re: Other options

      Let's see if IphoneX gets the same press crucifixion for its screen burn and colour shift..

      https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208191

      WE ALL KNOW THE ANSWER, IT WILL GET A FREE PASS, as the viral spin that created the pixel2XL story originated from Cupertino via a bought blogger....

      It was no coincidence it happened when it did, to deter and Apple defectors

  2. djstardust Silver badge

    Just like Apple

    They think they can get away with selling mid range crap at an exorbitant price.

    No luck.

    Add to that the 2XL being made by LG with their terrible quality and it's not looking good.

    Wouldn't touch them with a bargepole.

    1. Solarflare

      Re: Just like Apple

      "Wouldn't touch them with a bargepole"

      Probably a good thing, can't imagine that would pass the fingerprint sensor.

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Just like Apple

      They think they can get away with selling mid range crap at an exorbitant price.

      Your attitude can be easily corrected by spending a few months on beanbags somewhere in the valley. Once you get intoxicated on the lala air in lala land your perception will be altered accordingly so you will accept any ideas originated from the beanbag pile in the teletubby room as the new normal.

    3. Inspector71

      Re: Just like Apple

      I wouldn't argue with you that Apple gouge you as far as phone specs are concerned but your average user i.e. about 98% of iPhone users couldn't give a toss about that. It's about the "experience" which yes is partly about the "shiny" but also about the level of support you get with it.

      Got a problem, take it to the Apple Store. Broken, yep we'll replace that. That's why they are happy to pay the Apple Idiot Tax (copyright - El Reg).

      Apple have dropped the ball at times no question and like any support for literally millions and millions of products it isn't perfect and you can certainly take issue with the walled garden but the users are not stupid which is why they will pay what you would consider exorbitant prices. I am getting a bit tired of this echo chamber where the average user is dismissed as stupid or sheep or idiots. They are not stupid and neither are Apple which is why the majority of iPhone users will upgrade to another iPhone and Apple has market capitalization heading towards $1 trillion.

      /end rant

      declaration: Never had an iPhone still clinging to my Blackberry

      1. IsJustabloke Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: Just like Apple

        "Got a problem, take it to the Apple Store. Broken, yep we'll replace that. "

        Pretty sure that for every instance of that, there's a matching instance of "*shrug* Not our problem buddy" I have several friends with iPhones and they can all claim to have had both experience types in an Apple store.

        Obvs, I admit this is anecdotal.and that's not say that makes apple users sheeple or idiots but Apple marketing would have you believe they always do 'x' to fix/help users whereas they in fact no different from any other corporation in as much as they will try their utmost to wriggle out of stuff.

        1. fidodogbreath Silver badge

          Re: Just like Apple

          Apple every company in the world's marketing would have you believe they always do 'x' to fix/help users whereas they in fact no different from any other corporation...

          FTFY

          1. IsJustabloke Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: Just like Apple

            @fidodogbreath

            I'm not the one that needs to be reminded of that :)

            As an aside it's a bit weird that people have down voted my post because I have actually heard my friends veer from, "awesome! Apple have just fixed my *insert broken thing* for nothing how cool is that!?!?" to "Bollocks! Fucking Apple have a said they won't fix *insert broken thing * unless I stump up another x quid!"

        2. jmch Silver badge

          Re: Just like Apple

          "I admit this is anecdotal"

          Everyone has their anecdotes. FWIW, I never had an iPhone, but I have an iMac that has run without trouble for years, mostly always on, just needed a RAM upgrade at some point. Also I had an old (2nd gen I think) iPod nano, subject to a recall even though there seemed to be nothing wrong with mine. Got a brand new latest-gen one (4th or 5th?) as a replacement. I guess that given Apple's success, anecdotes aside, on aggregate they do a very good job.

          It might be "overpriced" at the point of purchase, but how much does it cost to have to deal with broken stuff? If it costs you 5-10 hours over the lifetime of a device to do fixes, how much is your time worth and how does factoring that in to teh cost of the device change the balance of "overpriced"?

      2. fidodogbreath Silver badge

        Re: Just like Apple

        I am getting a bit tired of this echo chamber where the average user is dismissed as stupid or sheep or idiots.

        I work in the software development group at an engineering firm, with some of the smartest and most technically adept people I've ever met. Our software products are all Windows-only, and there is not a single Mac to be found in the building. However, the phone distribution is about 65% iPhone to 35% Android.

        Our programmers, engineers, and mathematicians are not ignorant sheeple who blindly pay a so-called idiot tax because they are too stupid to do otherwise; nor does anyone in this building (AFAIK) care about status symbols. They choose a solution that best meets their needs at the price they're willing to pay. I fail to understand why that is so difficult for some people to accept.

        1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

          Re: Just like Apple

          "Our programmers, engineers, and mathematicians are not ignorant sheeple who blindly pay a so-called idiot tax because they are too stupid to do otherwise"

          But they are well paid professionals to whom the cost of something like a phone is immaterial. I have my cars on extended warranty and service plans because the cost is immaterial to me but not having to think about these things is a bonus. If most of the people you know are in the Apple ecosystem, and the cost is immaterial, you'll buy Apple for messaging and so on. No problem with that.

          The problem comes when the young woman comes into the debt advisory service and they point out that her £50 a month iPhone/Galaxy Note 8/whatever contract is a significant part of why she can't pay her rent. At that point you start to wonder whether the creation of glamorous images around products and the marketing of peer pressure is such a good thing. These are the people referred to as "sheep".

          1. Inspector71

            Re: Just like Apple

            Voyna i Mor

            I agree about what you say about the possible pernicious effects of marketing and the fallout. But don't you think that it is more about the general access to easy credit in our society. I mean how easy is it to sign up to that £50/month contract with no checking whatsoever about the ability to actually pay. Are they really going to turn a sale down? You talk about your cars on extended warranty and credit, the same applies even more so to cars which are the biggest of big ticket items. The UK is in danger of a total sh*tstorm with sub prime car loans which is how about 85-90% of cars here are bought. I think that has a lot more to do with that young woman getting into problems than Apple's marketing savvy.

            1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

              Re: Just like Apple

              "I mean how easy is it to sign up to that £50/month contract with no checking whatsoever about the ability to actually pay. "

              Oh yes, easy credit is one of the banes of society, and it's happening because interest rates are so low, which is in part to keep the BFL landlords and house "investors" happy. Banks need to lend a lot to get any kind of return.

              I stopped debt funding anything in my early 40s when I paid off my mortgage. I buy everything for cash. If necessary in the past I've waited before buying. I've brainwashed my kids enough that they have no debt but mortgages. I think I've done quite well out of it. But if everybody was like me, the economy would collapse even sooner than it's going to.

            2. Marshalltown

              Re: Just like Apple

              Subprime loans certainly don't help, but culturally, both in Europe and the US, there is a storm of narcissism. Who the aitch-ee-double hockey sticks CARES what someone else's breakfast looks like? Yet, we are now well supplied with more than a generations worth of users who photgraph plates of food, stand in front of advancing trains to take selfies and generally display the social graces of a three-year old in a tutu chirping "look at me!" and otherwise demanding the attention of all the adults in the room for an hour. And Apple and the rest of the "smartphone" manufacturors enourage this, and it is their target sales demographic.

          2. fidodogbreath Silver badge

            Re: Just like Apple

            The problem comes when the young woman someone comes into the debt advisory service and they point out that her £50 a month iPhone/Galaxy Note 8/whatever contract is a significant part of why she can't pay her rent. [...] These are the people referred to as "sheep".

            Or just "bad at math."

            1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

              Re: Just like Apple

              fidodogbreath - I accept your correction but I have to say that actual on the ground evidence suggests it is mainly young women who succumb to the lure. No sexism intended.

              Though I have annoyed the son of an elderly lady by telling her a second hand Thinkpad and a Moto G4 met her needs better than the Powerbook and iPhone 8+ he was on at her to get. My cynicism meter easily bumps against the stop in these cases.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Just like Apple

                To be fair, it will may well be that son doing the tech support so not much point in advising her to get devices he has no idea how to use.

                Powerbook in 2018 though?

          3. Dr Mantis Toboggan
            WTF?

            Re: Just like Apple

            Essentially you are saying you have more money than sense... Ok then, join the iPhone X queue...

          4. coolcity

            Re: Just like Apple

            Absolutely correct. Those are the people who don't realise that it is costing them over £1200 for the duration of the contract, they see other people with them and think they should be entitled to one too. My wife worked in a Jobcentre a couple of years ago and reckons at least one in three people that came in looking for employment had an iPhone.

            Few people pay cash for these. If they were not available on contract, or able to pay with a credit card, it would make a huge difference to Apple's bottom line.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Just like Apple

          "...a solution that best meets their needs at the price they're willing to pay..."

          Because their needs aren't that high and thus there are logically better devices at better prices that meets their needs.

          The actual reason why these people are "willing to pay" is due to the added perception of being in the in-crowd or the high-profile club. Apple's reputation is driven by snobism nothing else.

          1. DougS Silver badge

            Re: Just like Apple

            What "needs" are so high that iPhones cannot meet them but Android can? The need to be able to configure every last thing? The need to have niche features like an IR blaster?

            Beyond stuff like that, the only way you can claim the iPhone comes out short is if you make it a specs battle and decide that categories where Android comes ahead like amount of RAM are more important than categories where Apple comes out ahead like CPU performance. Apple critics used to talk about "non removable battery" as a problem with the iPhone that showed Android's superiority, until Android followed suit. Now I guess they don't consider a removable battery important any longer.

            People who think Apple's reputation is entirely driven by snobism are just insecure. They don't like or understand that people made a different choice than they did, and feel they have to come up with a reason to believe they are somehow superior to those to people.

            1. robin thakur 1

              Re: Just like Apple

              I have no idea why Android devices need so much RAM to run at anything approaching smoothness. The apps on Android (particularly games) also run worse almost without exception and where they are available cross platform, the iOS version is the better one 99% of the time in both performance and features.

            2. coolcity

              Re: Just like Apple

              But many Android phones still have a removable battery.

          2. robin thakur 1

            Re: Just like Apple

            Apple is a year and half ahead of the closest Android competitor in performance terms of CPU GPU and because it is proprietary, that lead will only likely increase, especially with Google's mobile efforts dying. This is what makes it the premium brand, after all a Galaxy Note 8 and Galaxy S 8 are no longer cheap landfill these days, they are 800+ to purchase. Agree on if their needs do not require such powerful devices, but if you want premium, in terms of design, build quality, performance, experience and aftercare, Apple is the correct choice.

        3. This post has been deleted by its author

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Just like Apple

          "Our programmers, engineers, and mathematicians are not ignorant sheeple who blindly pay a so-called idiot tax because they are too stupid to do otherwise; nor does anyone in this building (AFAIK) care about status symbols. "

          Maybe for your firm, but not ever firms.

          Being programmers, engineers, and mathematicians only represent their knowledge, it doesn't separate whether or not they are sheeples.

          I know a lot of people in those classes and higher who blindly pay for it for the status symbols. And even more people pay for it due to 'friends recommended'. But I also know some iPhone owners (about 10%) who pay for it for their essential need. To separate those iPhone owners, all you need to ask is 'why not other smartphones?'. If they gave you a technical reason, they are not sheeples.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Just like Apple

            Would love to hear a valid technical reason to buy iPhone, as a decent android phone does everything an iPhone can and a whole lot more besides.

            I can think of just 1 valid reason. I develop iOS apps... That is pretty much it, for everyone else, a good android device will be more functional, better built and far better value for money.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: a decent android phone does everything an iPhone can

              Great! Every Android phone I've had or used has been a buggy pile of Windows 95 crap after about 3 months use. Obviously these weren't decent Android phones. So where exactly does one buy one of these "decent" Android phones? Are they the ones that cost as much as an iPhone?

              1. werdsmith Silver badge

                Re: a decent android phone does everything an iPhone can

                Total crap being talked about the cost of iPhones. There is no need to pay £50 per month r £500-£600.

                I have an iPhone 7, cost £277. Can pick up a 6 for £150 ish, or cheaper with a screen crack and spend 15 minutes fixing it. Five minutes to replace a battery. If you see someone using an iPhone they might be paying less than your Android cost and they don't have to suffer Android? If these Apple users are sheep, then their Android critics are prime grazing meadow.

                1. coolcity

                  Re: a decent android phone does everything an iPhone can

                  There's no need to pay £50 a month or more, but people do on contract. The wannabes won't buy a decent used phone when they can buy a sparkly new one, oh no...

            2. tiggity Silver badge

              Re: Just like Apple

              Useful if you are in the Apple "ecosystem" - e.g. your photos taken on your phone seamlessly accessible for edit in PotatoShop (or graphics tool of choice) on iPad or Mac seconds later.

              Yes I know there are plenty of bits of software to sync content across devices, but the Apple products do it seamlessly with no effort on the part of the user (and no skill / knowledge of software needed).

              Another useful feature is security updates actually occur (one of the few pixel selling points is actually getting updates as vanilla) which is handy for non tech folk who are not as security savvy / paranoid.

              As is easy way to transfer all your old stuff / settings onto a new phone from Apple cloud backed up old phone (again, yes there are ways to do this on other phones, but not as easily, or as thoroughly)

              I don't use iPhone, cheap and cheerful androids for me. but know people who do for reasons above (non techies, work in visual / creative arts fields)

            3. GormlessGit

              Re: Just like Apple

              "Would love to hear a valid technical reason to buy iPhone, as a decent android phone does everything an iPhone can and a whole lot more besides."

              I can give you one. Updates.

              It sounds silly, like it shouldn't be a feature. But if I buy an iPhone, I know Apple's going to fix BlueBorne, KRACK, etc. with reasonably timely patches.

              With Android, I'm at the mercy of the vendor, and possibly the carrier as well. They may or may not choose to do something about it. They may or may not also choose to give me periodic OS updates. With Apple, I have a guarantee that for a reasonable period of time, I'm going to get new OS releases, point updates, and security patches. I love Android as an OS, but I went through so many broken promises of updates from vendors that I got tired of it. My only alternative in the Android world is the Pixel, which costs as much or more than an iPhone, and doesn't have the same guarantee of quality control.

              My opinion: Google should have kept Motorola. They would have had everything they needed to do it right. Missed opportunties.

          2. robin thakur 1

            Re: Just like Apple

            What do you consider a technical reason? The only reason they need to give is that everybody they talk to uses iOS and iMessage. Sure they and all their friends *could* move the conversation to WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and the like but perhaps they don't like Facebook that much and they want the iMessage integrated experience. Maybe they use Find my Friends or iCloud Backup or any number of other Apple features which, while it might exist on Android, it doesn't work as seamlessly or as conveniently. This doesn't necessary exclude more technical users if the default simple mode works properly with no tweaking necessary. Reliability is by far the most important factor for me.

      3. StargateSg7 Bronze badge

        Re: Just like Apple

        I don't USE NO STEEEEENNNNKKKKING Google or Apple smartphone!

        I use a FULL Mil-spec 810F/G and IP68 super-rugged all-titanium

        TEMPEST-rated, fully-encrypted 4k 6.3 inch phablet actually

        MADE IN CANADA from mostly Canadian-sourced parts!

        Buy Rugged Smarthones all you Stooopeeed-Mucho-Ignoranti-Sheeple Consumers ;-) :-)

        Apple and Google are for Fanbois and Posers....NOT FOR REAL MEN and REAL WOMEN

        with GUTS, GLORY and American-made 8-litre F450 Super-Duty Trucks (aka big lorries)

        and open-carry 30-clip AR-15's !!!!

        Y'all Pussywhips! --- Get a REAL phone not a mere fashion accessory!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Just like Apple

          "I don't USE NO STEEEEENNNNKKKKING Google or Apple smartphone!...."

          You must be feeling DEEPLY inadequate about something, to go to that much effort to compensate..

          I can sympathise with wanting a phone robust enough to beat somebody to death with - which is why a phablet with a heavy duty case is minimum spec ( also helps when trying to reduce forensic traces )

        2. imanidiot Silver badge

          Re: Just like Apple

          @Stargatesg7

          uhhmmmmm, 30-clip AR-15??

          Clips, Magazines, drums, rounds, cartridges, bullets, casings... None of these things are anything like the others.

          You might be thinking of this but even then it doesn't use "clips".

      4. robin thakur 1

        Re: Just like Apple

        Not necessarily true on the phone spec gouging. Apple's own chip designs wipe the floor with Android, which are just off the shelf designs. Hell, an iPhone 7 plus from last year stamps on the current Android flagships, and the iPhone 8 and X are many leagues ahead in terms of GPU and CPU performance and Apps that actually make use of this power.

        Yes, you do absolutely pay more for onboard storage on Apple which is fixed, but it certainly is not as simple as saying the hardware is the same across Android and IOS with different OSs. Androids use Qualcom chipsets which are broadly the same across the devices (barring oddities like Exynos from Samsung on certain regional models) and Apple uses proprietary designs for CPU and now GPU which simply have no peers in the mobile space in terms of performance. Androids ship with more RAM than iOS devices, and perform far worse.

        Therefore, I don't see that the iPhone price is that inflated when a lowly Note 8 or S8 will cost you most of the price of an X when the CPU/GPU on the X (or even the 8) is practically two years worth of performance ahead of it.

        1. Inspector71

          Re: Just like Apple

          robin thakur 1

          When you put it like that I concede the point about specs. Apple of course have previous about going their own way with different architectures while everyone else sticks with the crowd although with Macs even they had to give in in the end. Again like I say no real experience of day to day use of an iPhone or indeed Android (apart from trying to help out other people) never had either type as my smartphone history reads: N900, N9, Jolla, Blackberry Passport

      5. coolcity

        Re: Just like Apple

        Um... a huge amount of iPhone users buy them because they want people to think they are the sort of person who can afford expensive kit. In the Western world they don't appear to be particularly expensive when you're only paying a tenner a month more than you would for a low-mid range phone. They don't think for a moment that it adds up over time and they think even less about the warranty and repair service when they do buy. What is uppermost in their minds is their mates have got one so they don't want to be seen dead with anything cheaper. It's not unusual to see people on Social Security payments toting an iPhone,

    4. tfb Silver badge

      Re: Just like Apple

      Not like Apple at all. Apple have sold hardware to end-users since they've existed and they've mostly (not always) learned the lessons you learn by doing that. Google have never done that and don't even seem to realise that there are lessons to be learnt. Companies that sell physical objects are just different than ones which don't.

  3. Cosmo

    Bring back Nexus!

    I loved my nexus 4. Cheap, well built, no frills and timely software updates. What does the pixel brand offer over the Nexus brand apart from the hike in price?

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: Bring back Nexus!

      It gave Google more direct control of the product.

    2. Richard 81

      Re: Bring back Nexus!

      Seconded! My Nexus 5X is a fine machine that I hope lasts for a good few years. When it does finally give up I don't know what I'll end up getting, since there doesn't seem to be an equivalent well made but bare bones Android now the Nexus line is dead.

      1. Ol' Grumpy
        Thumb Up

        Re: Bring back Nexus!

        Mine blew up just after the warranty. I wish you luck with yours :)

        1. misterinformed
          Unhappy

          Re: Bring back Nexus!

          My Nexus 5X stopped working yesterday after 14 months. Before that I had an LG G3 that stopped working after 18 months. It doesn't surprise me that the LG-built Pixel 2 XL also has build quality issues.

      2. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble? Silver badge

        Re: Bring back Nexus!

        @Richard 81

        Also agreed! My Nexus 5X cost circa £300 and currently there is absolutely nothing I would even begin to consider replacing it with. To the point where I have genuinely considered buying a new 5X while they are still available and keeping it BNIB until such time as my current phone gives up.

        Everything else is either crazily expensive or not enough of a step up from what I have on the features which matter to me.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bring back Nexus!

        My N5 lasted 3 years and would probably have gone on longer but the battery was starting to lose the ability to last a day. I switched to a Moto Z Play which seems to have a failrly un-modded Android (plus a huge battery so that's just not an issue any more!) Main downside is havibng to wait a few months for the (major) updates ... that said, in the year I've had it I've had 7.0 and 7.1 updaates + regular security patches.

      4. Patchy

        Re: Bring back Nexus!

        I had an N5 for over 3 years and wondered what I could possibly replace it with. The answer for me was a OnePlus 5 - great hardware (at a low although not bargain price), a very clean, unbloated version of Android, regular updates and a lively worldwide user forum.

    3. Bloodbeastterror

      Re: Bring back Nexus!

      My son is still using my old £279 Nexus 4 and loves it, especially as I upgraded it to Nougat. Pigs will fly before I spend nearly a grand on any phone. Ludicrous.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bring back Nexus!

      Nothing.

      They just changed the name. They could have just kept the nexus name on the market it wouldn't have made a difference. LG still would have made this crappy phone and stuck a Google logo on it. Pixel's are still unavailable to the majority of people and it's still too expensive for most except in the US where they always have been cheaper than the rest o/t world.

      So in essence nothing has changed except the quality of the devices.

      1. GormlessGit

        Re: Bring back Nexus!

        "So in essence nothing has changed except the quality of the devices."

        And that they now don't have a midrange offering. I think that's why people still want a Nexus. The program really isn't that different other than a rebranding --except there's now no midprice. They're just confusing what the programs really mean.

        If the Nexus 5X didn't have the famous bootloop-of-death issue, it would still be the killer phone. Quality control issues (which seem to have started with the 5X-6P and possibly continued) are the only thing that stopped me recently from buying a used one. Google now has one offering -you pay for the Porsche, or you buy nothing. Some of us really just wanted a Honda Civic; reliable, dependable, and a little bit of fun at a lower price point.

    5. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: Bring back Nexus!

      Motorola Nexus 6 with wireless charging - they have not built anything better since.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'll bet you there aren't any issues

    with the Pixel 2's tracking software.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: I'll bet you there aren't any issues

      Not enough upvotes.

  5. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    Amateur Hour

    I still remember when Google launched the first Nexus phone. There was all the hype about it, and to be fair I believe it was a good phone at a good price. But they shipped it without bothering to sort out export paperwork, even to the EU. Which meant people didn't get their phone, they got a letter from Customs and Excise asking for them to pay their VAT and import duties before getting the shinies.

    And then, about a month after it went on sale, Google had to do an emergency deal with HTC to use their service network. Because apparently they were too stupid to consider that if you ship consumer goods, some of them might go wrong, and the consumers will get a bit grumpy if you refuse to sort their problems out. This should have been sorted out in basic planning - it's not exactly rocket surgery.

  6. tomwof

    Rip Nexus

    Google phones died when the Nexus brand went AWOL IMHO.

    Shenzhen wave phones now regularly beat Google on specs and build quality. Even the software side is vastly improved now.

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Rip Nexus

      Yup. As far as I can tell, Google laid off everyone associated with Nexus, and all those hard-learned lessons are now standing in line at the unemployment office.

      I have my Nexus 4 & 6P, and my next phone sure as hell won't be from Google.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Rip Nexus

        "... all those hard-learned lessons are now standing in line at the unemployment office."

        A Google pulled a Burning platform memo out it's arse, heh? :-)

        Ins't it amazing, the bigger the company the bigger the idiots that run them.

  7. Barry Rueger Silver badge

    Updates

    I'd wager that the big selling point of the Pixel is the likelihood of frequent software and security updates.

    Given that many people now use a phone as a primary computing device, the usual lack of support by manufacturers and carriers is a serious problem.

    1. AdamT

      Re: Updates

      With the caveat that I really don't do much research into phones beyond reading El Reg, I have indeed mostly fixated on the Nexus series because of the frequent security updates. I genuinely don't understand why this isn't a bigger issue for more people - I can't imagine the frustration of reading about a zero-day exploit on El Reg, that is being used in the wild and then having to wait for the phone manufacturer to pick up and release the fix. If they even bother, given it is in their interest to try and "persuade" you to buy the latest one which coincidentally already has the fix...

      1. MondoMan

        Re: Updates

        My Moto Z Play and Sony X Compact have both been updated to Android 7.1, had multiple additional security updates (now through Sept/Oct updates), and each cost less than 40% of a Pixel 2's cost. Sure beats my old Samsung's track record!

  8. Warm Braw Silver badge

    The original blog has an unfortunate line break...

    At the price that Google is charging for its smartphones, there is no real margin

    ... which does tend to trip one's logic circuits before one's eyes reach the subsequent for error.

    But I think that does raise a real issue. Google has got away with a lot of stuff I consider frankly pretty shoddy (Google Sites, anyone?) and dropping its users in the clarts with its abandoned approach to abandonware because that stuff was free (or the price was obfuscated). I don't think it has really got its corporate head around what it means to sell stuff that's supposed to last to people who are paying real money.

    1. Rainer

      Re: The original blog has an unfortunate line break...

      Anybody who relies on Google for anything more than search is IMO a fool.

      Sure, businesses rely on it for mail and apps and whatnot - but at the end of the day, search the ads that get displayed are their lifeblood and if the shit hits the fan, that's what they're going to keep running. Because everything else is at best a distraction and the impact on the bottom-line is minuscule, compared to search.

      They pay Apple several billions per year just to have google-search as the default on the iPhone.

      1. Daniel Hall

        Re: The original blog has an unfortunate line break...

        Taken from:

        http://bgr.com/2017/08/14/google-search-iphone-billions-payment/

        //With search-based advertising still accounting for the lion’s share of Google’s revenue, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that the search giant is more than willing to pay Apple an exorbitant fee to keep Google search front and center on mobile Safari. According to analyst A.M Sacconaghi Jr., Google this year is on pace to pay Apple a whopping $3 billion in 2017 for the right to remain the default search engine on iOS.//

      2. GormlessGit

        Re: The original blog has an unfortunate line break...

        "They pay Apple several billions per year just to have google-search as the default on the iPhone."

        Bing is the default search on the iPhone, sadly -At least if you use Siri.

  9. paulf Silver badge
    Facepalm

    HTC again

    "Readers may point out that for years HTC was been selling phones in EMEA with only the bare minimum of support. Indeed, but that was on the back of years of success, based on great design. It took a while for this reputation to fade. Google doesn't have years of reputation as a hardware king. And HTC's numbers tell their own story. Google now owns the cream of HTC's phone division."

    I've mentioned before my experience of HTC on these fine forums - I wouldn't even call their support in 2011 "bare minimum", nor their design/quality "great". Non-existent was more like it. My second HTC handset was a HTC Sensation with the random shutdown bug - it would just randomly turn itself off. At first HTC wanted me to buy my own replacement battery to see if that fixed it - it was only when escalated to a supervisor did they grudgingly agree to send a free one. There was a few mediocre attempts to get me to shove off, including telling me to do a factory reset but nothing fixed it. I swore off HTC with that handset and never looked back - considering how HTC have gone since I guess I wasn't the only one they royally pissed off with no regard for the consequences and it's caught up on them. Frankly Google must have known what they were buying from HTC and HTC's numbers would have made clear their ability to keep customers happy and turn them into repeat customers.

    Google have two options - fess up with a mea culpa then dig deep to 1. sort out the problem for existing owners and 2. design something that works properly next time; or abandon the lot and sweep it under the carpet. Based on the long list of Google abandonware I wonder which they'll pick?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: HTC again

      Aren't the problems discussed in the article with LG manufactured phones?

      Sure HTC went bad but everybody seem to forget that HTC "used to be" a manufacturer of OEM devices to be retailed by other brand names. They should have kept doing that instead of selling stuff under their own.

      The same with Google.

      There a saying: "Cobbler, stick to your last. "

  10. Greg D

    Pixel was impressive - Pixel 2 is an abortion

    disclaimer: I've owned neither devices. I was very close to getting a Pixel 1 though.

    I was checking the tech specs of this the other day.

    Why have they basically produced an iPhone with a Google badge on it? Where are all the things that made Android a good alternative to the walled-garden overpriced company?

    I cant work out why they:

    - Dropped SD card support

    - Dropped headphone support unless you own a pair of crappy bluetooth 'phones (removed 3.5in jack)

    - Made the screen bezel look like its from the 90's

    It makes no sense. How many people were more worried about a phone being waterproof than they were about being able to use it to listen to music? Fucking no one.

    What is it about phone design that forces you to remove the expandable SD card slot? Fucking nothing. Other than an Apple-style price gouge for more capacious models.

    These were all decisions I absolutely ridiculed Apple for (and still do). I am horrified to see Google doing the exact same fucking thing. I held 'droid as a cut above the hellhole fashion bazar that is Apple product ownership. I thought Nexus was the way forward with the platform, then they go and drop this steaming pile of equine manure.

    Then they made the second iteration WORSE than the first. Not only that, the pandered to the fucking Apple crowd - the exact people they were competing AGAINST.

    FML, I hate smartphones these days. I'll probably get a Note 8 though, as I miss the S-Pen from my Note 2.

    1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      Re: Pixel was impressive - Pixel 2 is an abortion

      "What is it about phone design that forces you to remove the expandable SD card slot? Fucking nothing. Other than an Apple-style price gouge for more capacious models."

      Microsoft FAT32 tax ?

      1. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

        Re: Pixel was impressive - Pixel 2 is an abortion

        The microSD card doesn't need to use MS FAT and all the baggage that comes with it. Some phones use ext3, ext4, or f2fs.

    2. a pressbutton

      Re: Pixel was impressive - Pixel 2 is an abortion

      I can say the note 8 is a rather good phone (as a you know - phone) and the camera is excellent and it mostly just works (tm) .

      Better yet you can completely ignore the bixby thing.

    3. dajames Silver badge

      Re: 3.5mm jack

      How many people were more worried about a phone being waterproof than they were about being able to use it to listen to music? Fucking no one.

      I was ... or rather would have been if the Pixel had been cheap enough for me to do anything but laugh at.

      I use my phone out of doors quite a lot -- both as a phone and as a map/GPS -- and sometimes it rains so I want a waterproof phone. I do also use my phone to listen to music, but not so often, and not so much when out and about, and I do still have an MP3 player (and Bluetooth speakers, for that matter).

      I do agree that dropping the 3.5mm jack was a daft thing to do, and not likely to win any friends. The idea, presumably was that you can use USB headphones (and not charge the phone) ... but having a 3.5mm jack for compatibility with all the millions of pairs of wired headphones that already exist would not stop the phone supporting USB headphones, it would just give the user a choice.

      Choice is a good thing ...

      1. Greg D

        Re: 3.5mm jack

        Dajames, absolutely right, choice is at the core of my argument.

        What choice do users have when all the major hardware producers are making the same fucking device? They all opted to design the same thing, no industry standard headphone Jack. No expandable storage. Generic rectangular design and capacitive touch. Power and volume buttons all irritatingly placed where normal human hands would grip the phone, resulting in infuriating unintentional button presses. They are all the fucking same. Where is the choice?

        Idiots.

    4. LochNessMonster

      Re: Pixel was impressive - Pixel 2 is an abortion

      "I cant work out why they:

      - Dropped SD card support"

      They didn't. No Google device (other than the original Nexus iirc) has supported microSD storage so it's hardly an about-face. I don't agree with it, but it's been par for the course with Google devices for several years.

      "Dropped headphone support unless you own a pair of crappy bluetooth 'phones (removed 3.5in jack)"

      Top tip... don't buy crappy BT 'phones. I use Sony MDR-1ABTs and the sound (and comfort) is superb. They can also use an (included) optional 3.5mm cable which, with an adaptor, sound great through my hifi amp.

      "Made the screen bezel look like its from the 90's"

      That's the Pixel 2. The 2XL has the 2017 "full-screen" display which is (apparently) de rigeur for 2017.

      "How many people were more worried about a phone being waterproof than they were about being able to use it to listen to music? Fucking no one"

      Well, this person gives a fcuk about both, so I bought a Sony XZ1. It works for me.

      .

      "What is it about phone design that forces you to remove the expandable SD card slot? Fucking nothing. Other than an Apple-style price gouge for more capacious models."

      On that we can agree 100% The SD835 supports microSD expansion, as demonstrated by other OEMs. The GoogleCloud is okay for backup purposes, but until 3/4G coverage is ubiquitous I'll insist on the dependable microSD card. I venture off-grid regularly in the NW of Scotland, and being stuck in a tent for 48hrs without entertainment other than the same map to read is hell on earth! :)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Pixel was impressive - Pixel 2 is an abortion

        I would never buy a phone with a SD card slot. It means the manufacturer has skimped on internal storage and left you to buy it, and left you to deal with forever juggling stuff around on you phone forever more.

        Once you own and pixel or nexus, you get it. Everything works, none of the nonsense of other phone, and storage is lighting fast and not slowed to the security interface speed.

        1. Kernel

          Re: Pixel was impressive - Pixel 2 is an abortion

          "I would never buy a phone with a SD card slot. It means the manufacturer has skimped on internal storage and left you to buy it, and left you to deal with forever juggling stuff around on you phone forever more."

          My Nokia 8 came with 16G of RAM, 64G internal storage and I can add up to another 256G with a microSD card - 64G is a new definition of skimping on phone memory by my standards.

          Yes, I did go out and buy a memory card myself, but at the moment I'm struggling to think of a realistic use case where I would need to be "forever juggling stuff around" on the phone even with the 128G card I installed, much less if I got a 256G one - even recording video in 4000HD that's more than a couple of minutes of filming

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: Pixel was impressive - Pixel 2 is an abortion

            I've had phones with an SD slot, and I wish I'd never bothered. The cards can get lost. Using a card between devices can upset apps on Android can result in data becoming inaccessible. The bandwidth of the bus that SD cards sit on is very small compared to that the built in NAND on good handsets sits on.

            For sure, back in the day an SD card might be a good way of bumping up a budget device with only a few GB, storage so small as to be genuinely limiting. However, these days with phones typically being 16, 32, 64 etc GB - and the size of my music files remaining much the same size - the need for SD is drastically reduced.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Pixel was impressive - Pixel 2 is an abortion

              "I've had phones with an SD slot, and I wish I'd never bothered. The cards can get lost. Using a card between devices can upset apps on Android can result in data becoming inaccessible. "

              Here's a #1 super secret tip: You can't lose your SD card when you leave it in the SD card slot.

              Here's a #2 super secret tip: If you removed the SD card, you data become inaccessible from that device.

              1. Dave 126 Silver badge

                Re: Pixel was impressive - Pixel 2 is an abortion

                Screw your top tips:

                In some apps, data stored on an SD card is inaccessible even after it has been reinserted in the phone. This is because the software has had to store the data elsewhere in the meantime and it doesn't want to amalgamate the two storage areas.

                If I never remove the SD card, I can't use it to transfer data between devices (phones, car stereo, cameras etc), losing some of the flexibility the set up might initially promise.

                It's just far less hassle to have a great big chunk of (very fast) NAND built into the phone. Job done.

                If you really need weeks of music available offline, grand, no problem - keep a huge SD card in permanently. However, most people will be fine with the mere days of music that a dozen or two GB provide.

            2. Greg D

              Re: Pixel was impressive - Pixel 2 is an abortion

              Of course they can get lost. The phone itself can get lost. Tip is, don't lose it.

              Not sure where you are getting this info from about the bus speed. They are on the same bus, the difference comes in quality of SD card used. There's no reason not to have the slot at all.

              It's not just about bumping up the storage. It's the removable nature of it, and ability to do things you can't do with on board only storage. Just cos Joe Blogs doesn't need am extra 128gb of storage doesn't mean the handset should be sold without the capability of expanding it.

        2. tiggity Silver badge

          Re: Pixel was impressive - Pixel 2 is an abortion

          Use case of SD card - to hold some of my music (I have lots of mp3 music, too much for single SD card), so I can use phone as MP3 player.

          No use having my music in cloud when in area with no reception so cannot play cloud content.

          When I do have signal, playing cloud content uses my data allowance

          Yes, I could use separate MP3 player, but why bother when I have phone with me anyway, more convenient to just have one item.

      2. Anguilla
        Unhappy

        Re: Pixel was impressive - Pixel 2 is an abortion

        ""I venture off-grid regularly in the NW of Scotland, and being stuck in a tent for 48hrs without entertainment other than the same map to read is hell on earth! :)""

        From loooong distant memories - It was the Midges that created "hell on earth"

      3. Captain Queeg

        Re: Pixel was impressive - Pixel 2 is an abortion

        > Top tip... don't buy crappy BT 'phones. I use Sony MDR-1ABTs and the sound

        > (and comfort) is superb. They can also use an (included) optional 3.5mm cable

        > which, with an adaptor, sound great through my hifi amp.

        Have to agree. I dabbled with a number of “cheap” BT ‘phones. I’m a bit of a headphone fetishist with set after set of (sadly) expensive sennheiser, AKG and even some Bose cans at home. But bored during an 8 hour layover at O’Hare, I sampled a pair of Beats X BT buds

        I hate Beats phones, hate them! But these are like silk, no hint even of the Beats at all.. Expensive, but then compare something like £15 Apple earbuds to cheap BT buds and they’re all shit.

        But this isn’t a critique of the Beats.I guess the my point is cheap is cheap, wired or BT.

  11. chivo243 Silver badge
    Pint

    Nice Homage to Mr. Young

    A phone from Google? Sorry, I'll stick to iPhone hand-me-downs. They're pretty plentiful from what I hear?

    Pint for free beer and such...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nice Homage to Mr. Young

      Your loss....

    2. PhilipN Silver badge

      Re: Nice Homage to Mr. Young

      Yup a (mangled) line from an NY song.

      Thanks for that but I am wondering about this sub-editor. The other day it was Shirley Bassey.

      Would (s)he prefer a job at the NME?

      1. 's water music Silver badge

        Re: Nice Homage to Mr. Young

        Wait what? NME still have jobs?

  12. OffBeatMammal

    the guy who maintained the list is being a bit disingenuous by conflating the problems with two different models (form two different manufacturers) into one list and lumping it under "Pixel" as opposed to splitting between Pixel2 (NFC producing a clicking noise) and Pixel2XL (Screen burn-in). I guess it makes for better headlines.

    that said, I loved my Nexus 4. My Nexus 5X has been great, but recently started to misbehave (and I'd really recommend not updating to Android 8 on it, that was the end). The Pixel 2 seems like an okay compromise (no headphone jack, way too expensive, but the iPhone is still to crippled for me to jump ship - https://medium.com/@offbeatmammal/apple-are-a-design-company-so-why-is-ios-so-annoying-d40530dce8d9 ) ... just hoping they do fix the NFC issue and sound quality via software quickly, and that it manages to last at least as long as my Nexus 5X has... (that said, less than impressed so far as it's due to be delivered today along with the trade-in package for my Nexus 5X to go back in... but according to the courier it's still in Ontario!)

  13. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Screen burn-in, poor colors, and distorted audio?

    I wish my ZTE Axon 7 or the preceding Moto X Pure 2015 had so few problems.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    various Pixel 2 models cost from £629 up to £899

    I fart in the general direction of suckers, be it apple or google-inclined, there is NO phone, regardless of service worth 600 quid up.

    ...

    ok, MAYBE, IF the price tag includes yearly handset replacement for say, 20 years. Then, MAYBE. But would I trust ANY company to be there for 20 years? Well, suckers :)

  15. hellwig Silver badge

    Everything Google does is in Beta

    Google's problem is they haven't grown out of the quirky young startup phase trying to find their place in the world. Start-ups do one thing, they develop an idea most of the way until they can produce it, then hope it gets picked up by either consumers or VCs to the point of establishing a "real" company.

    Google doesn't need VC money anymore, but they don't have a concept of good and bad ideas. They just have ideas, so they throw them out into the world and see if anything catches on. Then they TINKER endlessly until the resulting product is no longer recognizable, resign to the fact that the public just doesn't like what the product is anymore, and cancel it.

    Google is an advertising company, they just can't admit that to themselves.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Everything Google does is in Beta

      As an anonymous former employee: Google's promotions structure is based on being able to say "I solved this non-negligible problem" and it prides itself on permitting internal employee mobility. Problem solving of a sufficiently glamorous degree is hard to achieve on an established, well-maintained product. So employees tend to prefer to try to do something 'new', where new is defined to be anything Google doesn't currently do as far as they can see.

      So as a product matures team members migrate to anything adjacent that is immature, slowly destaffing the mature product until it has failed to keep up with sufficiently many internal infrastructure an external branding changes that it becomes legacy. Sometimes somebody else will then take the opportunity to implement a completely distinct version of the same thing, because there's obviously an audience and they get to tick the "solved a problem" box.

      So as a rule, a Google product will survive only if it is able to become sufficiently large as to allow team, feature and implementation churn without affecting branding. That's Search, Docs, etc. If a product has a relatively straightforward purpose and can one day be said reasonably to be complete then it'll probably die. That's Hangouts, Reader, etc.

      That all being said, I was purely a software engineer. I can't speak directly as to what causes the various hardware missteps.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unfortunately, the high-end smartphone market is Apple's to lose.

    What is really needed is a mobile OS other than Android and IOS. Nokia and Blackberry both had excellent shots, but both were too arrogant to pull the trigger until it was way too late. Nokia was probably the only company who could truly compete with Apple's industrial design (loved my 8810), but Symbian was an archaic, bug-ridden pile of garbage built by a world-wide hodgepodge of development teams that all hated each other. Blackberry had a great idea in building a smartphone platform around the excellent QNX, but didn't even start that process until three years after the iPhone launched. In the meantime, Microsoft's mobile division couldn't decide which appendage to shoot itself in, so it compromised by shooting itself in all of them and ruining the desktop (and server!) experience while it was at it. Palm never seemed to figure out that they were on a clock and vanished without a ripple. Google doesn't know how to do anything in mobile hardware other than write a check and hope, which only gets good results when combined with good luck.

    Personally, I like Apple products but I'm under no delusions about what happens to them without solid competition. Right now, that only really comes from Samsung (in terms of impact on profitability), and just barely. Very little of what Apple has done since releasing the iPhone could be described as brilliant - for the most part they simply didn't fuck up as often or as spectacularly, and that's been more than good enough. At this point, though, their A-series SoCs since the A7 are simply embarrassing everyone else (meaning they can do more stuff faster with less battery drain) and that's going to be nearly impossible to overcome. There's a ten-figure price tag and five year timeline on even taking a shot at that. History has taught us that every tech titan eventually gets too big for its britches and will take a major stumble. At this point, even if Apple did so I don't think there's a company positioned to take advantage (like AMD did with Athlon and Opteron when Intel tried to launch the Itanic).

    Personally, I think the best bet would be to have Samsung start up a new software team on the ashes of Blackberry's efforts, which included the ability to run Android apps as well. Their problem up to now is that being based on Android, they're always competing on price to some degree and that kills the upside on their margins. A rock-solid core OS designed to specific, well-designed and built hardware is what is needed to take on Cupertino, and Samsung is probably the only company capable of bringing that out - they already have a semi-decent CPU (that still needs some serious work to catch up with Apple, but at least they're not starting from scratch), they've produced some great devices, and they have the marketing presence necessary to have a prayer at making a new OS stick. They just need that OS, and Tizen ain't it.

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      Re: Unfortunately, the high-end smartphone market is Apple's to lose.

      In all fairness, Palm did a really good job at responding to the iPhone quickly by launching the Pre in 2009, a better device in a whole bunch of ways that showed a forward-looking awareness of the direction of the market. They just didn't really have the resources or the clout to get it off the ground, so were severely region and carrier-limited, and shortly out of money.

      But I definitely wouldn't charge them with being asleep at the wheel. For my money, shoddiest attempt at survival has to go to Symbian and its absurd degree of modality, especially re: the hacking back on of a soft keyboard after the UI had long ago lost support for it. That was an entire extra context-free screen every time you wanted to type text anywhere. If Symbian had decided to proceed with UIQ (as per Sony's P900) regardless of most manufacturers' indifference, I think they would have been in a much healthier position, but once Nokia became the near-exclusive paymasters I guess that would have been politically difficult.

  17. viscount

    Whilst I agree with much of the article, Google support has been good to me. I bought a Pixel 1, it went wrong and Google had a new phone to me in about two days. The operation seemed very slick, and it's a very good phone with frequent updates.

    No view on the Pixel 2 though.

  18. EJ

    I was tempted to pick up a Pixel 2 to replace the wife's Samsung GS5 that has gone on the fritz. Luckily I started looking at reviews and noticed the litany of complaints: blue hue screens, burn-in of icons, poor sound quality. Google should right the wrongs fast - at least Samsung owns up to their mistakes. How is a patch going to fix burn-in and other physical display issues?

  19. ecofeco Silver badge

    I said it before

    And I'll say it again.

    $1000. For. A. Phone.

    Hell fucking no.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But its Pixel 2 problems are now so varied

    The biggest problem of course is clickbait tripe on the internet. This obviously being one. For starters, it littered with errors (I am assuming unintended, but you really can't tell these days).

    None of these problems actually affect the Pixel 2, but the Pixel 2 XL, a different model, made by a different company...

    And then we move onto how widespread these "problems" are. The oled issue all leads back to a single on an android blogger site. Apparently they got upset as they weren't allowed to keep it unlike the apple review units...

    Oh dear.... Looking a bit foolish by paragraph 2.

    I actually have a pixel2 XL and it's a fine handset and it's very clear there is a media smear campaign going on right now... The only question, who is funding it....

  21. Jim Preis

    Hey, at least you can actually get this Google product. I'm looking at you Google Fiber and yes I live in a theoretically available area. I'm disappointed with Alphabet on multiple fronts. But as long as the advertising business is breathing, they've no incentive to improve. Even poorly run McDonald's profit.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Are you serious?

    You do realize their primary rival in phones, Samsung, had a little glitch where they were burning peoples' houses down and lighting them on fire, right?

    Having to wait a few weeks for an audio software patch is pretty bad too though I guess.

    I have a Pixel 1. Best phone ever.

    1. Tim Seventh

      Re: Are you serious?

      "You do realize their primary rival in phones, Samsung, had a little glitch great feature where they were burning peoples' houses down and lighting them on fire, right?"

      FTFY

  23. Andy 97

    I don’t wish to sew the seeds of conspiracy, but as Google also has the keys to the drinks cabinet of search, how long before all of this bad press will simply vanish?

  24. SniperPenguin

    They forgot the reason for the Nexus' success.

    You were not paying a brand tax.

    The Nexus line was the purest Android experience you could get. No naff overlay, regular updates and a phone at a reasonable price. Profit margins were tight and as a result it suffered in other areas (little marketing, less support etc) but the concept was a good one.

    Very little third party support as well (Otterbox refused to build a case for it, for example).

    They need to return to what they were good at.

  25. imanidiot Silver badge

    Why stick to the big brands

    If all you wan't is a decent phone with limited bloat, there's plenty of other (direct from China) brands available for much lower prices.

    Recently bought a Doogee Mix (which is a blatant rip-off of the Xioami Mix), which at €150,- was cheaper than most "entry level" crap available in stores here from the usual suspects. If it goes TITSUP getting any sort of warranty will probably be difficult, but we'll see when we get to that. I've factored the lack of support into the gamble of just trying it out. So far it's a fast responsive phone, with a good quality screen, decent battery life (2 days of light use), and MUCH better camera than my 3 year old Samsung gt-i8730.

  26. Aseries

    Smartphones over $200 not worth it

    I have been a Virgin Mobile user for about 10 years. I have progressed through a succession of cheap smartphones. The one I have for the last two years does everything I need for not much over $100. When something better comes along at that price point I'll give it a try. No smartphone can possibly have a real value much more than that.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google doing a good impression of a company ...

    that doesn't listen.

    The bankruptcy courts have seen plenty of companies who thought that they *too* could somehow lead the market, rather than respond and adapt to customers requirements.

    Google needs to realise it's 2017. Not 2007.

    (See also, Microsoft)

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Manufacturing in China isn't as cheap as it was about a decade ago

    Some of the factories have moved to SE Asia due to rising costs in China.

    Therefore, expect corners to be cut if you insist on the same low costs of production.

    P.S: Bragging about the 'highest DxOmark score' doesn't really matter when you can't get the basics right, does it?

  29. VulcanV5
    Unhappy

    Google tablet all over again

    Supposedly a 'premium' tablet, Google's very own Pixel C likewise provided many of its users with a less than premium experience -- though tech reviewers in receipt of Google patronage prefer not to mention it, in the same way that tech reviewers in receipt of Apple patronage all too clearly prefer not to dwell on the face recognition issue. As ever though, Google is your friend, as a search engine at least, and it's perfectly possible to see the umpteen posts on different forums about wifi connectivity difficulties with the Pixel C. It's also possible to read Google's response to the many complainants: nothing at all.

  30. This post has been deleted by its author

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