Who will buy a Pixel phone?
Given that it's absurdly overpriced for its hardware, and in truth just offers a bunch of tedious "assistance" that most people with functioning brains don't need, and that you can buy excellent phones that do everything you can reasonably expect for less than a third of the price ... *plus* you get no SD slot ... why would anyone choose a Pixel phone? I just cannot understand why you'd waste the money.
I already have a secure rugged phone running a hardened Android and never had to put up with the versions offered by mainstream hardware manufacturers.
But, given a decent mid-range Samsung recently, I thought I'd take a look and was horrified by the sludge of useless bloatware and overblown "features". Nothing to lose, so I poked about and installed CyanogenMod, a few customisations and extra security enhancements, so now it's faster, cleaner, more flexible, more responsive and I wonder—why wasn't Android like this in the first place?
As others have hinted, perhaps the problem is that while a phone is indeed a small computer, it is small and limited by its input methods and display size, meaning its development and evolution are limited. Maybe, as every manufacturer finds itself desperately trying to add basically pointless super-duper features—what next? four cameras?—and hyping largely unnecessary incremental "improvements", the truth is we don't need phones costing $800 and especially don't need to replace them every year. A decent $200 phone with a secure bloat-free OS, removable battery, SD slot and a dozen apps will last for ages and does everything you need.
Of course, that means manufactuers can't screw even more money out of you, and Google and Apple can't lock you into their ecosystem ... cue, howls of outrage.