Google remains a niche smartphone manufacturer

Google Pixel 8 pro

Google unveiled its latest flagship smartphones at its annual Made by Google event on Wednesday. And while most of the specs and features of the new Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro were revealed before the event, there was one announcement that genuinely excited fans.

After all, Google promised that the new phones will receive seven years of Android OS support, security, and Feature Drop updates, which solve one of the biggest problems in the Android environment and outpace even the latest iPhones, which usually receive new versions of iOS within five to six years.

As expected, the prices for the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro went up by $100 compared to last year’s models. Starting at $699 and $999, respectively, they are now firmly in the territory of flagship smartphones, albeit at the lower end of the spectrum.

Google has worked with various hardware manufacturers in the past. In 2016, Google debuted the Pixel smartphones, which were created by Google. However, despite good reviews and attractive prices, the company has not broken into the smartphone market, selling only a small portion of devices, where Samsung, Apple, and Xiaomi remain the leaders.

Google remains a niche smartphone maker

According to Statista Consumer Insights, Google continues to be a niche player in the smartphone market. After all, less than five percent of smartphone users call a Google device their primary phone in most major markets.

For example, Google phones are most popular in Canada and the United States, where they are used by 5.3 percent and 4.6 percent of smartphone users, respectively. And yet, Canalys estimates that Google shipped only 2.6 million smartphones in North America in the first half of 2023, while market leader Apple shipped 35 million iPhones.

Fortunately for Google, or more specifically, Alphabet, it does not rely on smartphone sales as much as Apple. Last year, the operating segment, which includes all of Google’s hardware products as well as Google Play, YouTube subscriptions, and other products and services, accounted for only 10 percent of Alphabet’s total revenue, while advertising accounted for roughly 80 percent.

At the same time, Apple’s iPhone alone accounted for more than 50 percent of total sales in fiscal year 2022, which clearly demonstrates the priorities of each company.


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