Google's Pixel is gaining in the U.S. but is it good enough to make you switch?
"Google Pixel is Fastest-Growing US Smartphone Brand," Strategy Analytics said this week in a report.
Though the iPhone still outsells Pixel phones globally by a wide margin (Google doesn't register in IDC's global top-5 rankings), it's a sign that the Pixel brand may finally be breaking through in America.
Catching up to the iPhone and iOS
The report asks, "Is Pixel the new iPhone?"
Hyperbole? Maybe not. The Pixel 3's camera, Google Assistant, and the fact that Pixel phones are the first with the newest versions of Android are three big reasons why the phones garner good reviews and stack up well against the iPhone.
One of the best cameras: unique features like Google Night Sight -- which has remarkable low-light performance -- and the overall excellence of the camera give Google an edge.
Google Assistant: Google's AI is better than Apple's Siri. I use both* and can testify to this. Features like Google's intelligent call screening are scary good.
Display: some past Pixel phones had display quirks (the Pixel 2 XL's display was marred initially with quality issues). But both the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL have OLED displays that measure up to the best on the market.
Price: Here, the Pixel is very competitive. Since the announcement of the Pixel 3 ($799) and Pixel 3 XL ($899) in October, Google has had three sales. The first time the phones were discounted $200 and the last two times $150 (the most recent sale ended earlier this month on the Google Store). So, if you're patient there's a good chance you can get the phones at a decent discount to the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max.
Android 9 "Pie": The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL have had roughly a six month head start over Samsung with Android 9. While not an advantage over the iPhone per se, it's another reason Pixel leads in key areas in the Android space.
I've also found that the "pure" Android experience of Pie on the Pixel 3 XL comes pretty close to Apple's iOS 12 in tightness of execution. Apple still has an edge here but Google is closing the gap.
*I use both the Pixel 3 XL and iPhone XS Max. One area where the Pixel still has to catch up is integration and syncing with other Pixel devices like the Pixel Slate (which I also use). My iPad, MacBook Air, and Apple Watch are essentially extensions to the iPhone.