Yesterday, Samsung was one of the largest and most recognised brands in the world. Today that brand is tarnished!
The announcement of Samsung's worldwide recall of the Galaxy Note 7 closes the chapter on how NOT to make a smartphone. After months of contending with customers complaining of phones spontaneously combusting, Samsung has had little choice but to pull the plug on the production line. A far cry from when the Note 7's release in August to highly positive reviews and the battle cry of this being the product that changes the smartphone game!
The fallout from this will be debated internally for years to come and the short term damage to the brand will impact on their share price ($20bn has already been wiped off its market value). However, the main theory is simple... they rushed it! Samsung were so keen to launch the Note 7 ahead of rival Apple's iPhone 7 that they ended up releasing a product that simply wasn't ready.
So how damaged will Samsung feel now its woes have sent Apple's share price to a 10-month high?
So what will fill the void left by the absence of the Note 7? That's where Pixel comes in.
The campaign by Droga5 which teased the new phone was cool in the way it used its search bar to morph into the shape of a smartphone while covering up the detail of what you wanted to see in the background before revealing the phone with the tagline: 'Life by you. Phone by Google'. all in all, a solid ad.
The next part of the campaign is the 'new, new' ad. "Need a new phone?" it asks. "Like new new? Like doesn't have a version number new?" Among the "new new" features include a 7-hour capacity battery that charges in 15 minutes, what Google bills as the "highest rated smartphone camera ever," and they even joke that it has a headphone jack as a little dig at Apple.
The design of the phone itself, nothing too revolutionary. It has all the touch sensitivity you would expect of a smartphone, it has an Aerospace-grade aluminum unibody on the back with Gorilla Glass on the front which makes it fairly light, it has 4GB RAM and unlimited storage (via cloud backup). Will any of this win the Android crowd over... not really.
What will make this phone sell ultimately is the software. Just as iPhone has it's iOS, Google has it's Android OS which has been around for a while. However, the phone will come with the upgraded Android 7.1 Nougat which will have a Google built-in assistant which more than rival Apple's Siri. This assistant is exclusive to Pixel and won't be available with the 7.1 update on other rival devices. Also transferring your data from an old Android or Apple device is a doddle.
The smartphone software also comes ready for Google's new VR headset which will be launched next month. We will cover this in the next couple of weeks. Watch this space.
This is Google's first foray into hardware (OK HTC made the phone but we'll breeze past that). The question is, with Samsung against the ropes, the discontinuation of the Nexus line and the exclusivity of the Google Assistant, will this be the phone to rival Apple's supremacy?