The Google Pixel does not exist

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.

The Google Pixel, the best Android phone if you ask the majority of tech gurus, does not exist.

It is a delusion, an Android fan's mirage.

It is vaporware.


The phone that Google launched in early October 2016, some six months ago, and was widely seen as a rival to the Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy is simply not available on the one place, where it should be in plentiful supply: the Google Store. To be perfectly exact, the Google Pixel and Pixel XL technically are available, it is just that you have to wait more than a month to actually get one. Six months after the launch of the phone it is abundantly clear that such depressingly long shipping times cannot be blamed on shortage of inventory or any other technicality, but the only logical conclusion left to make is that it is Google itself that is not willing to make the Pixel.

And it has been like this for months. Here are the shipping times shown on the Google Store for various Pixel models today, at the end of March 2017:

  • Google Pixel Very Silver - out of stock
  • Google Pixel Quite Black - ships in 5 to 6 weeks
  • Google Pixel Really Blue - out of stock
*(All 128 GB Pixel models unavailable or out of stock)

  • Google Pixel XL Very Silver - 32 GB ships in 4 to 5 weeks / 128 GB ships in 5 to 6 weeks
  • Google Pixel Quite Black - 32 GB no shipping estimate / 128 GB ships in 5 to 6 weeks 
  • Google Pixel Really Blue - out of stock

The Really Blue model is admittedly the only 'limited' edition among all of these models.

Thanks, Google, for making the best Android phone... but not actually selling it


But who would wait an average of 5 weeks for a phone? We can imagine a handful of enthusiasts, but not many more. All of this leaves us with one conclusion: the Google Pixel remains a mirage, the unicorn of Android phones. The Pixel is widely seen as the best performing Android phone, with smoothness that other Android devices simply cannot reach, and with an excellent camera that is widely considered the best on a phone (it's arguable, but it's certainly among the very best out there).

So... thanks, Google, for making the best Android phone, but not actually selling it. Smooth move!

Meanwhile, feel free to let us know your thoughts on why you think this is happening: is it Google realizing that it does not want to scare its darling vendors like Samsung and LG with some solid competition? Is it low demand? Or some completely different reason?

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93 Comments

1. LebronJamesFanboy

Posts: 671; Member since: Mar 23, 2013

Google has always struggled with stable inventory levels. It's unacceptable for a Company its size. There was a time where you saw nothing but Google Pixel commercials, yet couldn't buy the configuration you wanted because it was out of stock. Great article, Phonearena.

2. Victor.H

Posts: 1056; Member since: May 27, 2011

Do you really buy that story? One of the biggest tech companies in the world suffering from inventory issues on a phone that does not even use the latest system chip or any other technology that one could think is in tight supply. I am just wondering myself.

4. LebronJamesFanboy

Posts: 671; Member since: Mar 23, 2013

Victor - Great question. The truth - ***Google doesn't care about its smartphone hardware business*** Over 90% of Google's revenues come from advertising. Google is so damn successful that it literally throws whatever projects it wants to hold accountable in the remaining 10% of revenue.

14. Awalker

Posts: 1973; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

I think they're doing purposely to not upset their OEM partners.

27. SuperMaoriBro

Posts: 533; Member since: Jun 23, 2012

easy solution to this. buy it from somewhere that have stock, don't order it from the play store. I live in a small country and even we have stores that have them in stock, walk in, pay money, walk out with brand new pixel - no long delivery times.

84. CanBoy

Posts: 2; Member since: Mar 29, 2017

@SMB "I live in a small country and even we have stores that have them in stock, walk in, pay money, walk out with brand new pixel - no long delivery times." Your "small country" might have them in stock but that doesn't solve the issue raised here, that someone going to the official web site, from all the other countries, still can't get one. Yes I'm sure I could go buy one today here in London, England, but that doesn't necessarily help someone in Portland or Seattle get one, although they too might be able to walk into a store and pick one up. It spears, and if you go back and look at HTC's financials, like they received a large chunk of money back in September / October last year. Enough to produce a million or so units, possibly 2 million, it's been a while since I looked into this. I've not gone back to look at the finances since, but nobody has raised a flag that HTC had similarly large boost in profits since or indeed even a steady, external revenue stream since that period. Unfortunately with Alphabet It appears to be endemic, a lot of what they do is to announce something with great fanfare, a fantastic feature set while generally pricing something way below the market value - thus undercutting the competition, except in this case it was at the Premium Price band because they've tried to undercut the market leaders many times before in this space so perhaps they decided to go for the supporters who had the money and because it's a great Android phone. They get a shed load of publicity, the press love what they do and the hype propels the stock to new highs, it's fantastic. Of course when they do undercut they tend to undercut heavily, destroying companies business models that have taken years to develop and they tend again to do this in small markets, using their monopoly in search, and large income from online advertising to sponsor it, garner yet more publicity and the stock climbs to new highs. Of course using a monopoly in one domain to cover predatory pricing in another is completely legal and above board in America, so no actual issues there. Then, if they haven't driven out the competition, or brought the competition down to their prices, they pull out of the market, or just quietly give up. Actually in most cases they do give up. Look at the current state of Google Fibre, they sharply stepped back last December when the actual cost of rolling out the service was deemed to be prohibitively high. Mind you that news of course was somewhat masked by the Pixel press coverage and blanket advertising so few noticed but there are plenty of articles about it if you search the news tab on Google, tech republic's is pretty interesting and informative. This has been Google's playbook for years now. Anybody remember the Nexus Q? The spherical entertainment system the gave away to I/O attendees, garnering huge publicity and then canned? Lot's of noise and move on.

85. CanBoy

Posts: 2; Member since: Mar 29, 2017

@SMB (Cont...) But I suspect in this case their struggling manufacturers started to complain and complain heavily. A Google phone which a much heralded "open" OS but with an exclusive feature not available on any other Android phone going into the holiday sales? The first holiday sales where the other manufactures had something over Samsung, a High End Android phone that didn't catch fire? Yet Google stepped in and did this? You can imagine the cross company boardroom discussions! Of course Google has now opened the feature to all handset manufacturers but the holiday buying period has gone. Samsung are about to launch their next generation phone and they've started advertising how much testing and stuff they do. Worse than that though it was a holiday season where the others could have stepped in and gained some growth and much needed revenue with the main Android incumbent out the way, and Google took it from them...

43. sgodsell

Posts: 7209; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

The thing is Google doesn't make the Pixel smartphones themselves. It's HTC that actually makes them. So maybe Google shouldn't​ have made a partnership with HTC to manufacture these Pixel smartphones. I hope Google get Sony next time, or make it themselves. It's not like they don't have the money

48. 77martians

Posts: 1; Member since: Mar 28, 2017

I do not quite follow your logic here. Google contracted HTC to assemble the phones very much like Foxconn assemble all iPhones for Apple. Do you mean that HTC lack the capacity to manufacture in sufficient numbers and Sony would be able to produce in greater volumes? I just want to understand what you mean :-)

51. jacksmith21006

Posts: 68; Member since: Nov 03, 2015

"Over 90% of Google's revenues come from advertising " Actually not true and what grew the fastest with over 60% YoY was not advertising. Their non ad revenue increased $1.3B last reported quarter. Cloud and hardware are what is growing by far the fastest and Advertising keeps dropping and about 80% now but would expect that to continue to drop pretty quickly. Link below but need to cut and paste as can not share URLs on this site. abc.xyz/investor/news/earnings/2016/Q4_alphabet_ea​rnings/

5. cheetah2k

Posts: 2221; Member since: Jan 16, 2011

Biggest tech company? I thought their primary income stream was Search Engines, advertising and Android OS? :D And HTC supply the hardware for the Pixel, so are you not calling into question the point of supply? I'm guessing Google play 2nd fiddle to HTC's own handsets like the recently released U... Maybe you should ask HTC whats going on before blaming the big G? - rookie writer mistake right there

6. LebronJamesFanboy

Posts: 671; Member since: Mar 23, 2013

Google is indeed a tech company, and one of the largest in the world. Rookie mistake right there for you, cheetah2k. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_largest_information_technology_companies

22. ayylmao

Posts: 34; Member since: Mar 10, 2017

git gud

56. Modest_Moze

Posts: 184; Member since: Mar 23, 2015

LEBRON JAMES!!!

67. krystian

Posts: 423; Member since: Mar 16, 2016

Seriously a wiki article? With references going as far back as 2012? Why not use the defacto? http://beta.fortune.com/global500/list

31. TheVarnimal

Posts: 45; Member since: Oct 22, 2015

Victor, your article is rife with speculation. You cannot just make up conclusions that you have no evidence of, unless of course, you're Donald Trump. Then obviously, you can say whatever you want regardless of it being true. That being said, a better conclusion would be that Google produces a set number of handsets so that they don't lose money on their hardware if sales are underwhelming.

44. phonearenarocks

Posts: 606; Member since: Mar 26, 2015

Just out of curiosity, Victor H., How does it feel when you have put in the efforts to publish this article but then post that there have been few couple of comments #1, #4 that have outscored the likes count of your comment #2?

47. Victor.H

Posts: 1056; Member since: May 27, 2011

I lose a lot of sleep! Just kidding, I am glad we can have a great, civilized discussion here in the comments. That's a great thing.

46. Stranger

Posts: 73; Member since: Jan 19, 2017

its a marketing strategy imo

49. jacksmith21006

Posts: 68; Member since: Nov 03, 2015

So it is a conspiracy?

53. cocoy

Posts: 455; Member since: Oct 30, 2015

They purposely do so because they don't want to ruin their relationship with OEM's, the revenue from royalties on every handset sold with Android OS is more favorable than the revenue they get from every pixel sold if they want to maintain a hardware facility. Not to mention the possibility that more OEMs make their own OS flatform and compete with Google if they no longer earn profit from selling Android phones because of pixel.

54. cocoy

Posts: 455; Member since: Oct 30, 2015

They purposely do so because they don't want to ruin their relationship with OEM's, the revenue from royalties on every handset sold with Android OS is more favorable than the revenue they get from every pixel sold if they want to maintain a hardware facility. Not to mention the possibility that more OEMs make their own OS flatform and compete with Google if they no longer earn profit from selling Android phones because of pixel.

63. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Good luck making another OS lol The core of the OS is the numbers of apps available. So unless you work for years and years and even then good luck to make it work. Many tried and failed including very rich and powerful company like Microsoft.

73. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

The first and main problem has always been that Google does not actually make the hardware. Never has. This is an HTC device. So they have to contract to so many devices... which seems nice until you run into the constant out of supply issue. Maybe HTC, who still makes their own phones, does not want to lose sales to a phone it makes a much much smaller profit off of than say a "U". Personally I think that is yet another short sighted decision by HTC. They should put more production lines towards the pixel and milk the guaranteed money over using supply lines for another over priced and disappointing HTC product. It's time for HTC to return to their unnamed supplier routes until they can make more competent decisions regarding their once stellar product lines. Then you add in the hardware issues it has had. Every time they have to stop and retool the line to fix a hardware issue, that further constrains supplies. You could also throw in conspiracy that Google doesnt really care if it is in stock as it makes the demand higher and keeps people writing articles about it. If google FINALLY wanted to fix supply issues for the next device (every nexus also had supply issues), then they need to become their own manufacturer by buying up someone or making a contract that includes a higher quantity of phones delivered. But as long as they are at the mercy of another manufacturer this issue that has plagued them since the beginning will always plague them. No manufacturer, be it HTC, samsung or LG is going to risk cannibalizing their higher profit sales of their own products to make a google branded product at a much lower profit margin.

92. ervman1

Posts: 15; Member since: Dec 01, 2011

Their strategy actually makes great sense. They do not have much interest in dominating the mobile phone HW scene for multiple reasons. Their bread and butter is in search and Android when coupled with GApps. They merely created the Google Pixel to force other HW manufacturers to innovate and show people what is possible with Android if manufacturers stepped up. Google does not want to risk alienating these HW companies by undercutting them and selling better phones, e.g. the Pixel in mass quantities. This is more a push to improve the Android phone experience.

60. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Funny beside some colors of 128 gb model we have no backorder since 2-3 months where i work. Maybe Google decided to supply the carrier first?

89. cnpthe3rd

Posts: 103; Member since: Feb 01, 2009

It exists, they have plenty of them they are just employing the Eric Cartman "its the greatest theme park ever and you cant come" sales approach

3. cheetah2k

Posts: 2221; Member since: Jan 16, 2011

Why bash Google, when they have thousands of other retailers they sell the phones from. For example, in Australia, Telstra, JBHifi, and many others. All in stock. TBH I'd rather buy from a local retailer than the Google store because there is a point of sale, and an easy way to return for repairs. I bought my 128gb Pixel from JBHifi, and had the ear speaker cut out issue, and was replaced in under 2 weeks. Try getting that turn around from Google.. It's around 4 weeks. At the end of the day if you want a device, you'll find a way to get one. Much like iFan numpties lining up out the front of apple stores days in advance.. TBH, the context and tone of this article makes the writer sound butt hurt.

7. Victor.H

Posts: 1056; Member since: May 27, 2011

Well, everyone is entitled to an opinion and a personal thanks to you for caring about my health :) It certainly is worth mentioning that the Pixel is available in some places, Australia being among the privileged few. However, let me also point out that in many (most) countries outside the US the Google Store is the only place, where the phone is available. And stateside, the phone is still not available for purchase directly from carriers like AT&T, T-Mobile or Sprint in the United States. For a phone that many expected will be a direct rival to iPhones and Galaxies, this is definitely unexpected and a bit disappointing. And this is what this article is dedicated to.

41. darkoman4

Posts: 183; Member since: May 30, 2014

I am with Victor on this one. Google simply doesn't want to make Pixel.

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