The State of Google Pixel and My Own Very Brief Review of the Pixel 4

Joe Maring, writing for Android Central:

I don’t expect Google to make phones that are flawless, but what I do wish is that its phones had a clear identity and purpose. This strategy of constantly changing plans and going back to the drawing board is hurting and turning users away, and given the limited scope of the Pixel brand in the first place, that’s not really something Google can afford.

Growing pains in the beginning were to be expected, as they would be for any company trying to make its own smartphone hardware for the first time. It’s now been four years, however, and Google seems to be even more lost with the Pixel than it was in 2016.

My basic theory is that Google, institutionally, is bored with Android — and if Google has lost interest in Android generally it’s going to lose interest in Pixels specifically.

I bought a Pixel 2 in 2017 and a Pixel 4 last fall. There’s a lot that’s nice about the hardware but the software is sloppy. My nutshell review of the experience of using a Pixel 4 can be summed up just by looking at this screenshot of my home screen (or this one with an alternate system font). “Instagr…”, “Podcas…”, “Play St…” — that’s how the home screen displays the names for Google’s own apps and Instagram, one of the most-used apps in the world.

Now imagine that the same lack of attention to detail that would lead to a home screen like this, where even Google’s own essential apps like Play Store have their names truncated hamfistedly, is applied to every aspect of the entire system. That’s what using Android on a Pixel 4 is like.

Monday, 20 July 2020