Pixel 7 and Watch: Made by Google Showcases Android Greatness, Attempts to Check Shift to iOS

  • Made by Google 2022 showcased new Pixel 7 and 7 Pro, Pixel Watch, and a new Pixel Tablet coming in 2023
  • Latest G2 Tensor chip promises 60% improvement in machine learning and 20% improved efficiency with Google’s custom TPU
  • Sustainability a core focus for Google, every product made partially with recycled materials
  • Pixel seeks to promote Androids best features and innovations to help against the slow but steady Android to iOS migration

Google’s Pixel series has long been a favorite of Android enthusiasts looking for a pure Android experience without the bloatware that some other OEMs have with their own skins, apps and features. The Pixel series was created to showcase cutting-edge Android capabilities, many of which are deemed “Android firsts” before being implemented by other OEMs. The latest Pixel 7 series builds on this legacy by including Google’s latest G2 Tensor chip, improved camera hardware and software enhancements, and new security features that Google promises will become available to other OEMs in the future. During the Made by Google event, aside from the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro, a new Pixel Watch and Pixel Tablet were also announced, with more news about the tablet coming in 2023.

Pixel sales – a balancing act to promote Android

Google is walking a fine line with its Pixel series. It wants to promote Android as much as possible, but it doesn’t want to take away share from other Android OEMs. The US accounts for almost 50% of all Pixel sales and current target countries are very limited – namely Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia and Japan. Google could increase its reach to more countries, but this also has its costs by potentially displacing smaller OEMs in these countries. With the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro, Google has added a few key markets, keeping this balance in mind. Devices are now available in USA, Canada, Singapore, Japan, Denmark, Italy, Taiwan, Germany, Australia, Sweden, India, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Ireland, and France.

This is also why throughout the years, Pixel has gained in mind share but not necessarily in market share. While in Q4 2021 Google acknowledged that it had an “all-time quarterly sales record for Pixel”, the last years have been difficult for the OEM due to COVID-19 shutdowns, supply chain issues and demand drops. The OEM’s market share remains below 5% in the US and global sales are even lower. This has been a puzzle for many enthusiasts and media given the continuous R&D Google is investing in its Pixel series.

What Google wants to do is stop or at least stem the slow but steady stream of Android to iOS migration. But, even as it attracts some iOS users to try out the device, more shift to Apple as shown in our USA Activations Tracker below. This pattern has many Android OEMs concerned.

Pixel USA Switch Data Q2 2022


Pixel 7 and 7 Pro – the main event but Pixel Xa models drive growth

From the Pixel 3a to the Pixel 6a, Google’s mid-tier device offerings sustained sales performance. For flagships, the latest Pixel 7 and 7 Pro models will demonstrate the latest and greatest out of Google’s R&D labs. The second-generation Tensor chip doubles down on Google’s AI and machine learning prowess, while also helping Google continue its strong camera performance. Specifically, the G2 Tensor chip promises 60% improvement in machine learning and 20% improved efficiency with Google’s custom TPU. Security was also strongly marketed through features like Face Unlock and Fingerprint Unlock as well as  built in VPN by GoogleOne and five years of security updates. The new devices will also come with parts made out of recycled aluminum as part of Googles drive to use recycled or renewable materials for at least 50% of the plastic used across hardware products by 2025. At price points of $599 and $899, they again represent an affordable alternative to other more expensive flagships. Both devices will be available at Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile at launch. However, Google’s success in the premium tier is largely driven by device launch momentum and holiday sales, as historically launches for flagship devices have happened in October. The momentum slows in the first quarter. In the US, Google has a particularly hard time gaining share in premium sales due to Apple and Samsung’s dominance. The Pixel 6a and its predecessors, however, have had more sustained success in selling as the mid-tier market is less brand loyal and opts for more “bang for your buck” choices.

Google Watch – an ecosystem approach within the Android ecosystem

Google wants to demonstrate what an Android ecosystem can look like, not just for between a watch and a smartphone, but also the smart home and beyond. Google’s foray into wearables with the Pixel Watch has been hotly anticipated, but many are asking now if it is too little, too late. It is not. Strategically priced at $349.99 for Wi-Fi and $399.99 for LTE, the Watch will sit among competitors from Samsung, Garmin and others. However, the Watch should not be seen as a direct competitor to other Android OEMs. Instead, Google is likely trying to take a page out of the Pixel book, by showcasing what a Wear OS watch can be capable of, with a special focus on sports and fitness to begin with, as seen with the new Fitbit heart rate monitoring integration efforts and 6 months of Fitbit premium for free.

Google Pixel Watch

Google’s success is defined by Android’s success

Google’s growth ambitions are not just for itself but for Android as a whole. Of course, it wants to make (and sell) a strong and competitive product, but it does so in the name of overall Android growth and not just its own. Google is invested in the success of all Android OEMs and will continue to walk this path with the latest Pixel 7, Pixel 7 Pro and Watch, showcasing Android’s strengths and innovations to the best of its ability.

Maurice Klaehne is a Senior Analyst with Counterpoint Technology Market Research, based out of Boston, USA. He has spent more than five years working as a market researcher and strategy consultant heavily focused on emerging markets and uncovering new growth opportunities for his clients which include business service, CPG, healthcare, and life science companies. Maurice holds a Master’s in International Development and Management from Sweden’s Lund University, and an undergraduate degree in Political Science and International Development from Canada’s McGill University. He is a native German speaker and also speaks fluent French.

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