Just like every year, this year’s Super Bowl also saw some really high-profile tech ads. One of these ads came from Google featuring the Pixel. It is a good ad that highlights the biggest USP of the phone – its cameras. The ad talked about how the phone’s cameras handle different skin tones correctly, something people of colour have often struggled with, especially with some mainstream smartphone cameras. While not amongst some of the crazy creative ads that we have seen, the ad was good. But it also made us realise that Google perhaps needs to stop talking so much about Pixel’s cameras.
Before you go ballistic, just hear us out.
Great cameras, not so great sales
Ever since the inception of the Pixel phone, all everyone has been raving about are the phone’s cameras. The cameras on Pixel were hailed as not only the best cameras to have come on an Android device but on smartphones in general, even beating Apple in the camera game. Techies worldwide unanimously agreed on this, which is quite rare, but the cameras on the Pixel phone did it.
So there really has been no debate when it comes to the abilities of the Pixel cameras. But despite having such great cameras, the Pixel has failed to make a solid mark in the smartphone market, especially in India. So much so that the last few Pixel flagships were not even launched in the country.
Too much camera talk?
We think there is one simple reason for the Pixel not succeeding as a phone – Google has been so focused on highlighting the Pixel’s cameras as the greatest that it hardly talks about any other feature or USP of the phone. This strategy would have perhaps worked if used for one or at most two Pixels, but unfortunately, Google has been singing the same tune to market all the Pixels that it has launched over the years. And while we think that the cameras deserve attention, Google should probably also focus on other elements that make the Pixel a good smartphone.
As a result, when people think of the Pixel phone, nothing but good cameras come to mind.
Premium phones need more than just good cameras
Good cameras in phones have now become quite hygiene, even in the upper mid segment and while Google has been delivering ‘great’ cameras on the Pixel, it is time it moved beyond cameras.
Let’s face it, the Pixel is a premium priced smartphone and it has been so barring a few ‘a’ series exceptions in the middle, which were quite upper mid-segment to say the least. In an environment where even a mid segment smartphone can deliver good camera performance (if not Pixel level great performance), a phone as expensive as the Pixel would need more than just camera legs to stand on.
Years after hyping its cameras, we were actually hoping that Google would take a slightly different route and talk about all the other things that make the Pixel a great phone to buy. A phone to jump ships for. An ad highlighting how premium, sturdy Pixel 6’s design is or may be an ad highlighting just how powerful the phone is when it comes to handling high-end games and other power hungry tasks, would perhaps have been a better move. The brand could also have talked about the beautiful display or even the software that Google is the overlord of. Unfortunately, it did not happen. And what’s worse is that the Pixel 6 seems to have all of these functions and features and is actually a great phone otherwise too.
Time to move beyond cameras, Google
But the brand instead goes in and talks about how great the phone’s cameras are and highlights how it handles skin tones correctly, something iPhones have been doing for quite some time now. The Pixel phone was supposed to be the ‘Apple of Android,’ and a phone to turn Apple loyalists into Android fans. But in the ad Google has highlighted a feature of the camera that people are not REALLY missing while using the iPhone, so, why would one move to the Google Pixel? Incidentally, in spite of its high-profile “shot on iPhone” campaign, Apple does make it a point to highlight other features of the phone.
If Google wants the Pixel to be seen as a serious premium flagship level smartphone, we think it needs to highlight all that makes a flagship smartphone, well, a flagship. And may be for once, move beyond the cameras. There’s plenty of other things to focus on. Pun intended.