Google Pixel 3 is Actually on Sale, While Most Other Phones Only Have The Honor of Information Leaks
As we head into what is a critical event for Google, as it goes into renewed competition within the Android smartphone space and also with the new iPhones, the fact that the new Pixel phones are already selling in the black market isn’t good news.
The Google Pixel 3 XL has ended up in the Ukrainian black market and also selling for a premium in Hong Kong. (Photo: Unwire.hk)
The Pixel 3 and the Pixel 3 XL, assuming the naming theme remains the same as last year, are the two most important pieces of hardware that Google will launch in 2018. One would expect them, keeping in mind the high stakes, to be a bit more careful with these devices. Right from the time they were first sketched out on a blank piece of paper till the time they are unveiled in all their glory at the keynote tomorrow night. But no.
In August this year, the Pixel 3 XL shipment was stolen and in September, someone accidentally left one in a Lyft in the US. Now, the phone has ended up in the Ukrainian black market and also selling for a premium in Hong Kong. Oh, what would Google give right now to just have the usual leaks and rumors float around, and not have had a whole shipment diverted somewhere else, by someone else?
The stakes are high for the Google Pixel 3 and the Google Pixel 3 XL. It has to reset the performance and experience benchmarks in the Android ecosystem and put some of the recent Android flagships in their place. And then there is the competition with the iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max, particularly the debate around camera performance. Keeping that in mind, outrageous leaks revealing the phone would have been one thing. But the fact that actual units that have been mysteriously sourced and are currently on sale in certain markets around the world, is no joke. And this is even before Google has actually officially unveiled the Pixel 3 and the Pixel 3 XL.
Don’t get us wrong. Phone details leak all the time on social platforms and the world wide web, even before those devices are launched. Be it a high-profile phone, or a more middling affair. The iPhones are leaked till death every year. So are OnePlus phones. So are Xiaomi phones. And we are already getting not-so-subtle hints from online sources about what the successor to the Samsung Galaxy S9 would look like. Someone somewhere always gets a whiff of what’s happening, and what is on the menu.
One of the reasons why the leaks happen is because of the complex chain, the sequence of events, that all come together for a phone to be made. Right on from the stage of the designing to the next stage that involves getting components in place to the step where everything is put together on the factory floor, these complex stages provide enough opportunities for information to be revealed before it was meant to.
It is believed that Foxconn is producing the newest Pixel phones for Google. For Foxconn, Pixel phones aren’t as lucrative a business as perhaps the Apple iPhone—in terms of the volume and potentially even the value of the contract. We are not saying that the phones slipped through the cracks at some Foxconn facility manufacturing the Pixel phones, but if it did, the entire fault is certainly not Foxconn’s. Yes, we see multiple leaks of the Apple iPhone variants every year, but never have actual devices gone on sale weeks or days before the actual launch. That could have something to do with the amount and level of safeguards that Apple demanded be put in place. Maybe Google did, in which case they were plainly unlucky in the face of something sinister. Or perhaps Google didn’t. It is Foxconn’s fault to a large extent, but they can also come back and say that no other phone they make for Apple or LG or anyone else goes on sale even before launch. And there starts a new battle altogether, which we will not want to get sidetracked by.
The long-term drawback of such leaks, which go beyond just the immediate legal hassles, is that it has a negative impact on the interest around the product at the time of launch. The initial excitement is what a lot of companies bank on for a first spurt of sales, and any reduction in that directly has an impact on sales and in turn, money earned. Secondly, it portrays Google in a bad light, in a consumer’s mind. Most consumers will not bother about the finer details as to why or how a phone shipment went awry. They will immediately make up an opinion about Google, which could hurt the brand in the long run.
The saving grace for Google is that the Pixel phones have always focused so much on the software and the artificial intelligence side of things. The leaks and the mysteriously sources units selling in Hong Kong most likely don’t tell us the whole tale of the new phones, and that is the positive Google can draw from this dark cloud. Some things are still to be revealed.
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