They’ll probably cost the same as the Pixel 3 and will get OS updates for two years and security updates for three. The software will be the same as every other Pixel phone, including the first one released in 2016.
For all the newness of the Pixel 4’s internals to make it run quicker than the Pixels before it, the outstanding camera will have to do something phenomenal to truly improve upon the Pixel 3, which itself was not aeons better than the Pixel 2. We believe it’s getting a telephoto lens, but with Apple betting on ultra-wide angle, this could be bad timing. Google’s timing is off.
With the iPhone 11 leapfrogging the Pixel 3 to provide better value, battery life and even outdoing its cameras, Google is rather stuck for a differentiator for its Pixel 4. Launching it late in the year doesn’t help either, a full eight months after Samsung’s Galaxy S10 – a phone that has the same Snapdragon 855 processor.
The Pixel 4 is unexciting because its best feature will be its cameras, and realistically they won’t be all that much better than the one found on the Pixel 3a, its own phone that will likely be half the price. Sure, the Pixel 4 will technically be better, but the Pixel 3a takes everything great about the Pixel line in its overall camera quality and software updates and cuts the price in two.
The Pixel 3a and its all-important camera
Only those with a need to have the latest cutting-edge hardware will want to invest in the Pixel 4. It will remain a niche device only found in the hands of tech journalists and tech enthusiasts.
Why? It comes down to timing. Apple controls the hardware and the software of the iPhone and was first to create the image of the desirable smartphone slab. Of course, Google cannot have this much control seeing as it licenses Android to other manufacturers, but it bet too late on premium phone hardware. Its Nexus line was affordable but sacrificed the lustre of the iPhone for experimentation and petered out.
The Pixel debuted in 2016, the same year as the iPhone 7. Apple had a nine-year head start on creating a premium brand. Despite the Pixel having a much better camera, this and the headphone jack was practically the only differentiators over Apple.
Jump to today and the Pixel 4 will be launched with an outstanding set of cameras and, well, features you can find on a plethora of other Android phones for the same or less money. Great displays, cameras and battery life can be found on Samsung and Huawei phones with the marketing clout behind them to back up the brand.
I hope I am wrong, of course. Perhaps the Pixel 4 will sell by the bucket load and its Motion Sense tech where you wave your hand to skip tracks and turn book pages won’t be a gimmick. It will certainly have cameras that would astonish a phone buyer just two or three years ago, but in 2019, most of the phone buying public has auto-updated to an iPhone or Android handset that will be for all intents and purposes just as good for them.
Image: Rabbit TV
We in the tech press love to granularly break down phones and rank them one to ten.The Pixel 4 will likely be soon sitting near the top of the ranks with a glowing comment about its cameras, the feature that seems to save Pixels from mediocre reviews.
When the Pixel 2 came out I forgave its boring design and poor battery life because the cameras were amazing. But two years later I’m more sceptical of the Pixel line and I’m just not that excited by the Pixel 4 - and neither is the rest of the world outside of the tech sphere.
But Google can't blame the leaks. Despite the Pixel mirroring other company’s smartphone features and often bettering them, Google got the timing wrong and will forever be playing catch up.