Google is reportedly taking a new approach to phone design following the Pixel 3 XL ‘flop.’
Twitter leaker Max J. (@Samsung_News_) tweeted that he was told Google has three design teams working on new phone designs. According to Max, the teams work independently of each other.
Google will reportedly choose the best design, which will then become the company’s next smartphone.
I was told that Google has 3 design teams working independent on new smartphones and Co. The best design will then be chosen. That's how Google will (wants to) prevent the design to flop again like on the Pixel 3XL with its huuuuge notch! pic.twitter.com/dHfrOdAqEL
— Max J. (@Samsung_News_) May 1, 2019
Additionally, Max suggested this was the approach the company took when designing the upcoming Pixel 4 and 4 XL. Considering Google revealed in its earnings call this week that the Pixel 3 sold worse than its predecessor, it’s not a big surprise the company is doing more with the design of its next phone.
During the earnings call, Google CFO Ruth Porat blamed the Pixel line’s worse year-over-year sales on heavy promotional activity across the industry and on recent “pressures in the premium smartphone market.”
As Ars Technica notes, the Pixel devices must contend with titans like Apple’s iPhone XS and Samsung’s Galaxy S10. Unfortunately, the Pixel 3 devices only matched on price, sporting worse hardware — 4GB of RAM, the lowest of any 2018 Android flagship — and arguably poor designs. The Pixel 3’s large bezels look dated, and the 3 XL’s massive notch is an unsightly blemish when compared to other notched devices.
To make matters worse, Google’s distribution network is quite bad in comparison to other companies. Pixels are available in 12 countries, and there are no permanent retail stores. Apple, however, sells the iPhone in 70 countries and has over 500 stores, and Samsung’s S10 is available in 130 countries.
Plus, when you factor in enthusiast brands like OnePlus — its 6 and 6T offered value alternatives to the Pixel 3 — it’s easy to see why the Pixel struggled.
Hopefully lower-cost phones like the upcoming Pixel 3a and 3a XL, and a refreshed Pixel 4 design can help stabilize Google’s smartphone business.