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With the Pixel 6, Google is trying to emulate Apple’s business plan and success

It’s great on paper, but will it actually work?

google pixel 6 colors
Image: Google

It’s no secret that Apple’s iPhone is king in the US smartphone market, with iOS-powered devices taking over 50 percent of the market. That level of success tends to overshadow any other smartphone announcement in the US, like the recent Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro release.

That hasn’t stopped Google’s smartphone ambitions though, and this release is more Apple-like than any other.

Why? Because this year Google has done a few things very differently. For a start, this is the first time a Pixel device has been powered by Google’s own chips, the Tensor. Apple using its own A-series chips for the iPhone has helped it optimize iOS for everyday use, so the chances of Google doing something similar for Android is high.

pixel device on table
Image: Google

Google is also using Apple’s marketing tricks, with the Tensor claiming to be 80-percent faster CPU performance and 370-percent faster graphics power than the Pixel 5. Note that they are only comparing these states in relation to their previous device and not the competition. Yeah, iPhone does that too, every year.

This year Google also copied Apple’s pricing tiers. There’s the mid-range Pixel 6 at $599, then there’s the premium Pixel 6 Pro at $899.

Usual Pixel releases only differentiated between the normal and XL models with the screen and battery size, but this year the Pro model gets an extra telephoto camera, a better screen with higher resolution, higher refresh rate, and smaller bezels, a 512GB storage option, and more RAM at 12GB vs 8GB on the base model.

Sounds pretty familiar for anyone who pays attention to iPhone differences between the normal and Pro models.

google pixel pass
Image: Google

Then there’s the sales model. Sure, you could buy your Pixel 6 through your carrier as normal, but Google also has a subscription model, called Pixel Pass, that gives you the phone and a selection of Google services for one low monthly fee.

Apple has a similar plan for its services, Apple One, but the handset isn’t part of the deal, so Google could score some big points here. Pixel Pass also gives you free Preferred Care for two years, a $7-per-month device protection plan.

It’s the most Apple-like smartphone launch we’ve seen from Google. Heck, it’s the most Apple-like smartphone launch we’ve seen from any Android manufacturer. Still, launch day marketing is one thing, after-sales customer service is something else.

Google hasn’t had a good track record of actually caring about their customers once they become customers, with offshore customer service centers and scripted responses. If Google is really serious about being an Apple contender, it needs to fix the after-sales portion of its business.

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