The original Google Pixel was met with praise from both reviewers and consumers when it hit shelves in late 2016.
The Pixel 2 built upon that initial success the following year and helped grow the lineup’s market share in the US.
Things took a turn for the worse in 2018 when the Pixel 3 failed to capture the attention like its predecessor, which inevitably led to a sales drop. Now, new data suggests the flagship Pixel 4 series has performed even worse.
Google only sold 2 million Pixel 4 units in six months
In an extensive reported published by The Information today, recent market data by IDC corresponding to Q4 2019 and Q1 2020 was cited. It reveals that Google only shipped around 2 million combined Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL units by the end of March after almost six months of sales.
Google shipped almost 3 million Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL smartphones during the first six months of availability following their release in May 2019. It also sold an impressive 3.5 million Pixel 3 flagships in the first two quarters despite the lukewarm response from customers.
The market share of the Google Pixel series in the US right now remains unclear, but IDC believes the lineup accounted for only 3% of sales in the market last year. Even LG, which has been struggling for many years now, accounts for around 8% of the market.
The Google Pixel 4 seriesBack in 2017, Head of Hardware Rick Osterloh revealed his hope that the Pixel line would transition from a nice product to a mainstream smartphone series by 2020. But following the recent following the recent 43% sales decrease, achieving that goal now seems extremely unlikely.
For that to happen within the next two years, the upcoming Pixel 4a and Pixel 5 would likely have to become surprise smash hits. Unfortunately, the potential success has recently been complicated.
Google has lost two key Pixel executives in recent months
Aside from poor sales, the Pixel 4 series has also led to internal rifts within Google. Before the flagships had even made their debut, Rick Osterloh voiced his disappointment with some of the decisions during a meeting.
In particular, the head of hardware was dissatisfied with the battery life. Since then, two key senior executives involved with the Pixel series from the beginning have chosen to leave Google.
Mario Queiroz left Hewlett-Packard to join Google in 2005. He has worked on several hardware products, including the first-ever Android smartphone in 2010, and held the title of Pixel General Manager.
Queiroz reportedly transitioned into a more discrete role advising Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, in August before departing the company entirely in January.
The Google Pixel 4 seriesMarc Levoy, the mastermind behind the Pixel camera, followed Queiroz in March 2020. The latter joined the company in 2014 and helped develop the computational photography technologies that led to HDR+, Portrait Mode, and Night Sight.
Levoy also consulted with the Google Glass team on the camera for the headset and led a project at Stanford that eventually turned into Street View for Google Maps.
Queiroz has since joined cybersecurity firm Palo Alto Networks and Levoy has yet to announce his next endeavor. But losing both employees within the space of two months is surely a big blow to Google.