I was creeping around on Twitter the other day (as I am wont to do when I’m procrastinating from doing the kind of work that pays the bills), and I came across a conversation among some folks outside of my usual beat talking about the Pixel 3.
I figured this had to do with the fact that Google had shown off a super cool commercial during the Grammy’s, featuring Donald Glover/Childish Gambino depicted as an augmented reality mannequin moving along to what was later crowned “Record of the Year.” (He wasn’t even there to accept it—why does anyone watch the Grammys anymore?) But as I expanded the convo, I noticed some chat about a semi-noted comedienne thinking the Pixel 3 was so great because of it’s “awesome camera.” Something like that.
From this minor online interaction, I inferred that Google’s Pixel phones are finally making some traction within mainstream America—maybe soon, loyal iPhone users will start to flirt with the idea of dancing with the devil. Witness the power of extreme marketing and years of steadfast advertising laced between and into TV shows written for teens and their bored mothers. I’m ready for the rest of the world to come into this fold; to be liberated by the idea that their mobile operating system can do just about anything you put your mind to.
Not that it’s been a walk in the park with my Pixel 3. Whereas the first two Pixel phones were a dream to live with, this third one has tested my patience a bit. The battery life isn’t so great if you leave the screen on. After nearly four months of use, it’s slow to transition between Google Maps and Android Auto, enough that a person looking over my shoulder last weekend noticed the lag. And don’t even get me started on the wireless charging—I haven’t been able to use it because of the $80 Pixel Stand I bought, which broke well after the refund period.
There are plenty other things to love about the Pixel 3, though, and they outnumber any of the annoyances I’m currently experiencing. The camera is the best around—that Night Sight!—and the overall design of the phone is seriously chic. I’m also positively enamored by all the integrated Digital Wellbeing features and little things like the rear fingerprint scanner. It’s the most comfortable I’ve ever felt with Android, and it’s made even better by Lawnchair Launcher, which let me transform the UI into a dreamy pink aesthetic motif to match the exterior of the Pixel 3’s “not pink”-colored chassis.
The thing I want to leave with you here is that this is a phone made for marketing. It’s attractive and approachable, which is nothing the previous Nexus devices ever were (sorry). There’s a cohesiveness about it, too, honed-in through years of steady marketing. The billboards in the big cities, the commercials during the Super Bowl—those were all strategic seeds planted to seep into the minds of everyday Americans, outside of the confines of the Silicon Valley bubble. Watching the system at work is fascinating. Though it remains to be seen whether the Pixel line’s “friendly presence” will have any impact on what people say about Android.
A couple of other things to pay mind to this week:
- Amazon wants more market share in the smart home, so it bought the fan favorite mesh WiFi company, Eero
- How do we feel about sideloading Android apps on Chrome OS? Do we feel a tinge of uneasiness because of possible security woes? Yes we do, which is why we’re talking in the third person
- One in six American adults wear a computer on their wrist, but I bet only a tiny sliver of them are Android smartwatches
Comments are open. Share something interesting you read this week. And be kind.