Ronn Torossian, CEO, 5WPR
Google touts its phones as the best on the market. Better interface, easier browsing, and nicer photos. But, so far, customers aren’t buying it. And many of those who did actually buy, are warning their friends, family and total strangers not to make the same mistake.
But why is Google having such a tough time connecting with customers eager for a viable option outside of Apple or Samsung? That’s a hard question to answer. When the Pixel 2 first dropped back in October, the phone received rave reviews for both camera and design. But then the user comments started coming in.
Customers complained about a bluish tint on images, images being “burned in” as afterimages on their screen, intermittent loss of touch controls, and strange clicking sounds. That was only the beginning. Google’s Home Mini “smart speaker” was found to be a bit “too smart,” as it was always listening in on private conversations. Then the Pixel Buds headset was nearly universally lampooned by reviewers who found the headphones to “look cheap” and offer “mediocre sound quality.”
“Mediocre” is not the typical description of Google products. The search engine is nearly universal, and the email product and other online tools have been extremely popular. When the first Google Pixel phone came out, it was greeted with great fanfare, with some dubbing it a giant killer for daring to go up against the entrenched iPhone and Galaxy handsets.
When the company gained a smidgen of market share, but not as much as expected, some began to question the move. Then Google announced the Pixel 2, and the market got all excited again. But that excitement proved short-lived.
Now, Google is trying to take action to counter some of the negative press and caustic reviews. The company is offering an extended warranty on the handset, and it has, reportedly, updated the software on the handset and the Home to “fix” the reported issues.
While much of the criticism has been pointed, others are saying to cut Google some slack. The company is very new to consumer electronics, and it is going up against three companies – Apple, Samsung, and Microsoft – that have been doing it for decades. These folks are calling what Google is going through little more than growing pains. They caution consumers to lay off being overly critical and give the company time to work out the kinks.
Patience, though, is not something modern consumers have in large supply. While satisfaction with a product may go unnoticed, the least dissatisfaction is immediately reported and magnified by social media. This is the reality of the market in which Google hopes to find purchase. That means their margin for error and timetable to grow are both very small.