Google struggled to sell Pixel 3 smartphones last quarter

Google struggled to sell Pixel 3 smartphones last quarter
Apple, Samsung, LG, Sony, HTC… The list of smartphone manufacturers that have experienced a decline in sales at some point throughout the past year is already pretty long but today it grew by one.

Google struggled to sell Pixel 3 smartphones in Q1


During Alphabet’s earnings call (via 9To5Google) earlier today, the company's Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat revealed that Google experienced a year-on-year decline in Pixel smartphones sales during the first quarter of 2019. Specific numbers weren’t provided, but the negative results do appear to have dragged down the company’s hardware business as a whole.

Regarding the cause of this drop, Google didn’t mention any concrete details but it did highlight the general “pressures in the premium smartphone industry” at the moment. Moreover, it noted the “heavy promotional activity” by competitors which have been struggling to keep sales up recently. 

Another factor that wasn’t mentioned but one that may have negatively affected Pixel 3 smartphone sales is design. Although Google’s smartphone cameras have once again received almost universal praise, the larger Pixel 3 XL has been heavily criticized since before it even launched due to the large notch and huge chin that it features.

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL were also plagued with memory management issues, something that affected day-to-day use by prematurely closing apps running in the background. 

New Pixel hardware is coming May 7th


Despite the lack of Pixel sales, Google pointed out that it was pleased with the “momentum for Assistant-enabled home devices, particularly the Home Hub and Mini devices.” It also mentioned plans for hardware announcements on May 7th at Google I/O, essentially confirming the Pixel 3a’s debut at the event.

The Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL, for those of you that don’t already know, are expected to represent Google’s first entries in the mid-range smartphone segment. Building upon the reputation of flagship Pixels, both Pixel 3a smartphones are expected to carry the same rear camera as the Pixel 3 and support software features such as Night Sight. But in order to keep costs down, a number of modifications have been made internally.

Rather than utilizing Qualcomm’s flagship-level Snapdragon 845, the Pixel 3a duo is expected to include the Snapdragon 670 which will be paired with 4GB of RAM and either 32GB or 64GB of internal storage. This will then be accompanied by stock Android 9 Pie, eSIM support, Google’s dedicated Titan M security chip, and the Active Edge squeezable frame. The smartphones also look set to support 18W fast charging. Speaking of which, the 5.6-inch Pixel 3a will carry a 3,000mAh battery while the 6-inch Pixel 3a XL should feature a larger cell, although its capacity is yet to be specified. 

What will the Pixel 3a series cost? And can it save the day?


Pre-orders for the Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL are expected to commence immediately after their announcement at Google I/O next week. Regarding official pricing, US market details are yet to leak. However, previous information has pointed towards price points of $400/€450 for the Pixel 3a and $500/€550 for the Pixel 3a XL.

In terms of availability, the devices were previously rumored to be Verizon exclusives. However, more recent reports suggest T-Mobile will also carry them. And for those of you out there that aren’t fans of carriers, the smartphones should be sold unlocked via the Google Store too. 

At the price points mentioned above, the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL probably won’t become runaway successes. But with Google’s smartphone business currently struggling, a boost from the mid-range segment could be all it needs to get back on track.

Related phones

Pixel 3 XL
  • Display 6.3" 1440 x 2960 pixels
  • Camera 12.2 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, Octa-core, 2500 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB
  • Battery 3430 mAh
Pixel 3
  • Display 5.5" 1080 x 2160 pixels
  • Camera 12.2 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, Octa-core, 2500 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB
  • Battery 2915 mAh

FEATURED VIDEO

34 Comments

1. User123456789

Posts: 912; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

Notcheless XL would have sold more.

30. Loveneesh

Posts: 432; Member since: Jul 14, 2015

They are not listening to the consumers, they listen with first generation but after the success of original pixels they actually started to act like Apple by giving what they want give not what consumers need, A 4gb ram in pixel 3 series, ugliest notch even when may be whole market knows that consumers hate big notches, No major camera improvement(pixel 1and2 are top of DxOMark's list at their time) or creativity in camera department., are some of the reasons of there problems in selling them because customers don't want it.

2. fakenewzz

Posts: 133; Member since: Nov 15, 2018

I thought eye phone arena reported that pixel phones were the fastest growing brand?https://www.phonearena.com/news/Report-says-Pixels-are-the-fastest-growing-smartphone-brand-in-the-states_id113550 Which is it eye phone arena? U confuse me!

13. IT-Engineer

Posts: 543; Member since: Feb 26, 2015

It's only natural for you personally to get confused.

25. fakenewzz

Posts: 133; Member since: Nov 15, 2018

I guess only an “engineer “ could figure it out. Lol. Dumbarse alert.

3. bikrame

Posts: 43; Member since: Aug 13, 2015

I pre-ordered my Pixel 3XL and after few month there was 200 dollars discount on store. That's most disappointing phone buy for me till date. Pixel's camera is only thing where i can rest my heart. Shame on you google.

5. User123456789

Posts: 912; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

That is why it is good to wait at least 2 months after sales start.

10. libra89

Posts: 2280; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

So much easier said than done though.

26. applesnapple93

Posts: 304; Member since: Jan 06, 2016

bought a Nexus 5x at launch for $429. 5 weeks later it was $199 on black friday. I feel your pain.

4. libra89

Posts: 2280; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

It kind of explains all of the sales in the past few months.

6. OneLove123

Posts: 1062; Member since: Aug 28, 2018

I got mine half off last week.

7. cncrim

Posts: 1588; Member since: Aug 15, 2011

I keep going back samsung phone. Beside the camera i don't miss google phone and that crazy notch deeper than pacific ocean make it ugly, specially s10 come out.

8. Bobbii

Posts: 43; Member since: Jan 18, 2017

4GB RAM is a joke.

9. ullokey

Posts: 178; Member since: Jul 28, 2015

For most users 4 gb RAM is enough. It is the battery on this phone that is a joke

27. applesnapple93

Posts: 304; Member since: Jan 06, 2016

I wouldn't call 4GB enough. but a minimum. Phone still stutters a lot. Battery life on the phone (XL) is great.

11. redmd

Posts: 1935; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

The price is a difficult pill to swallow.

12. Joosty

Posts: 473; Member since: Mar 14, 2013

I just got one. Can't wait to try it.

23. Gadgetex

Posts: 197; Member since: Nov 10, 2013

Be sure to upload all your contacts and info to their servers. Pretty much everything has to be saved to their cloud servers

14. Knownhost

Posts: 106; Member since: Nov 13, 2017

Pixel XL, ugly. Pixel 2 Xl, slightly less ugly. Pixel 3, ugliest phone on the market anywhere. Their solution to ugly, underperforming phone line? Sell an equally ugly and underpowered mid-range phone. Brilliant!

15. meanestgenius

Posts: 22035; Member since: May 28, 2014

I prefer Stock Android to heavily skinned Android, but the Pixel line has been plaughed with too many issues since the OG Pixel was launched. The design of the Pixel 3XL was fugly, also. Get the design and software right, make sure you add the proper amount of RAM, and Google may actually have a winner, besides the camera.

16. Cheezwiz

Posts: 500; Member since: Dec 29, 2014

They're overpriced. That's why. The 3a/XL needs to be (at MOST) $350/450 given the specs. Personally, I think they're DOA because of the 64GB of storage. Midrange now means a minimum of 128GB. No negotiations.

18. josephnero

Posts: 780; Member since: Nov 16, 2011

Beside camera pixel is bulls**t

19. iloveapps

Posts: 855; Member since: Mar 21, 2019

The problem with pixel is that they market the product as apple. They should compete with chinese iphone clones and provide high spec and better features.

22. Gadgetex

Posts: 197; Member since: Nov 10, 2013

Apple does not force you to save everything to their cloud server.You have option to save to iPhone and backup to MacBook unlike Pixel 3 which does not give you options. It forces you to save all contacts to their server.

20. japkoslav

Posts: 1505; Member since: Feb 19, 2017

A poorly build phone with last year specs, giant notch, no jack, garbage mics has a problem with low sales? Other than pure camera performance, because you don't have wide or zoom or anything extra, this phone is not worth it ... well, unless you get it with 50-65% discount.

21. Gadgetex

Posts: 197; Member since: Nov 10, 2013

No Dual sim and lack of privacy by forcing users to save all contacts to Gmail. One can not save info only to smartphone. Not a phone to buy if you care about your privacy

24. shnibz

Posts: 510; Member since: Sep 18, 2011

Because $800-900 for ugly hardware, missing features and 4gb of RAM nowadays is ridiculous to even bring to the table for that price.

28. tokuzumi

Posts: 1900; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

The Chinese manufacturers are disrupting the flagship game to a large degree. OnePlus has been making really good devices, and Huawei has been coming on the scene as well. It's hard to find the value in a $1000 Pixel, vs a $600-700 OnePlus/Huawei with the same processor, more RAM, and a camera that is almost as good. While the Pixel owns the photography game right now, is the camera worth $300?

29. andrewc31394

Posts: 295; Member since: Jun 23, 2012

maybe if the 3XL, like its predecessors, didn't launch with singificantly more issues than other OEM's phones (speaker distortion, call quality issues, the list goes on), lackluster battery life, and cheap out on the RAM they'd be selling more lol

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.